Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Inspiration

By Julie Rowan-Zoch
I is for inspiration. What is about poetry that inspires us, enlightens us, and speaks to our very soul? Perhaps poetry as writer, poet and editor Gary Geddes puts it, "has the power to cut through all the crap we accumulate in our lives and touch us to the quick, to make us not only recall our childhood, but also re-experience the less complicated joys and sensations of that not always guileless time."  Today we are joined by writer and poet Vanessa K. Eccles, who is going to talk a little bit about what inspired her collection "Psalms of Me." We are joined once again by the talented Julie Rowan-Zoch. Thanks Vanessa and Julie! 

Why do you write poetry? 
Writing poetry has always been a way for me to express my deepest feelings and thoughts.

Who is your favourite poet? Why? 
This is a hard one. What if I pick three? I very much enjoy Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. I love Frost’s unique perspective on nature, Emily’s distinctive style, and Tennyson’s passion for God and relationships.
You published an e-book called “Psalms of Me” can you tell us a little bit about it? ‘Psalms of Me’ is a record of my emotions during the most beautiful and the most difficult time in my life. I was newly married and moved a thousand miles away from everything I had ever known. I didn’t know anyone, and I began to feel isolated, apart from my husband which worked fifty to sixty hours a week. My isolation encouraged me to grow closer to God and find my solace in Him. The poems are my feelings, frustrations, questions, and praises to God which guided me through this phase in my life.
What inspired you to put this collection together? 
For years, I had this file on my computer called “Inspirational.” I had no idea what I was going to do with all these emotionally-charged pieces, but then I realized that maybe someone else may be going through the same thing I went through and maybe he/she may find encouragement through the words I had written.
What do you hope your readers will take away from your book? 
I hope that after reading ‘Psalms of Me’ readers will look at the world a little bit deeper, take a glance outside of the box, and embrace the love of God.
Tell me about the process of putting the book together. 
The book was already put together, for the most part. I added a few pieces that I had written more recently, and compiled them into what would become the book.
Can you tell me what your favourite poem is from the collection? Why? 
My favorite poem would probably be “War” because it represents all of our journeys, and I feel that everyone can relate. I know that there have been times in my life where I’ve spent a lot of time hanging on for dear life.
Any advice you would like to offer your fellow writers and poets? 
Read everything you can get your hands on, study everything you wish you wrote, and believe in yourself. Write because you love it, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Vulnerability is the only way to success. But remember, success is defined in many different ways.

Thank you Vanessa for sharing with us. Now here is a poem from Vanessa's book. 

Climbing up this rope, I'm tired.
My feet burn from the raging fire.

The blisters on my hands, so hurt,
That tears fill my eyes and drip down my shirt.

I can see the light above but so far away,
I wonder how my body can last another day.

I scream from exhaustion from the depths of my soul.
For this journey on this rope from hell is longer than you know.

My heart is broken, disappointed of my sin,
But in this war for my soul, the devil will not win.

Often the he grabs my ankles, and I slide down the rope.
But the light in the sky rejuvenates me with hope.

My eyes are full of endless tears that steadily stream down my face.
My mouth thirsts for the purity of water that it cannot taste.

My cotton robe is torn and smeared with ashes from before.
Before my soul was free and Jesus gave me a chance for more.

He picked me up from the raging fire and helped me to this rope.
He told me to climb up out of my sin; He would give me strength to cope.

Since that day I've been climbing closer to that light.
The light that is everlasting, that will totally be worth the fight.

You see, the devil wants our souls to be for the army of the dark.
But blessed is me who has God on my side and happily wears His mark.

There is a war between good and evil for my eternal resting place.
That's why even though I have the Lord, these challenges I still must face.

No matter how hard it is to keep pulling myself away from the fire,
My Lord is with me, so I shall never tire.

He that is in me, gives me strength so deep within.
That I could battle the furious fire of the devil and refuse to walk in sin.

Praise God for His grace on me.
I once was blinded by the fire, but now I see.
 --By Vanessa K. Eccles © Copyright 2009-2012

--Mark Twain once said, "don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live."  Using today's word "illusion" and Julie's wonderful illustration write a poem about illusions. 
--Inspiration can come from many different places. Pick something that inspires you and write a poem about it.  Or
--Write a poem about a difficult time in your life. 
Feel free to post your poem below, on your blog, or share it with the poetry Facebook group. 
--You can download a free copy of ‘Psalms of Me’ by clicking here.  

If you liked this post please let others know. Join me tomorrow to learn about jingles. 
Vanessa K. Eccles has had a writer’s spirit since before she could write. She won her first short story contest and the age of six. She has spent a lifetime developing her skill and love for writing. She completed her first novel Georgia in 2009 and is currently working on her second novel Realm of DesireShe is an English major at Troy University-Dothan. She lives in Alabama with her husband and their three dogs: Frank, Coco, and Honey. She has a deep love for literature, dogs, travel, and lots of coffee. She enjoys reading historical fiction, Christian fiction/non-fiction, and literary fiction. She writes southern inspired women’s fiction, including historical and paranormal. To learn more about her check out her blog The Writer's Block by clicking here

Julie Rowan-Zoch is a graphic designer morphed by motherhood into a super-volunteer, spun into a pre-pubbie cocoon, soon to emerge writer and illustrator of children’s books! To learn more about Julie check out her fabulous blog by clicking here, or find her on Facebook by clicking here. Stay tuned to see more illustrations from Julie. 


  1. Vanessa, Your poem is beautiful. Thank you for being a guest on Rena's blog. I loved your story of how Psalms of Me came to be.

    1. I second Penny, beautiful poem.

    2. We're all agreed, these are beautiful words. This was a great interview, ladies. Your words are inspiring Vanessa. Taking darker moments and shedding light by writing and then sharing...I'd say that is quite inspiring. Thank you!

    3. Thanks so much, Penny. I appreciate your kind words of encouragement. :)

  2. My Day 9 is up on my blog.

  3. Wonderful poem Vanessa. The analogy you used to describe good vs evil is perfect.

    Julie, love your illustration!

    1. Here's mine-

      Teacher's Inspire

      Fitting in first grade
      Was a bit of a ride.
      I went with the flow.
      I swam with the tide.

      In my teen years
      Teachers came and they went.
      One stopped time in its tracks
      And I learned my intent.

      I’m not an outsider.
      The inside’s not in.
      We are all different.
      I learned to hold up my chin.

      I look back now
      Without a regret.
      The past makes me, me
      And my future's not set.

    2. Jennifer, Really nice poem. The meter is easy on the tongue. I love the sentiment in your last stanza.

    3. Sweet. Teachers are important. This poem has universal appeal because sooner or later we all feel like an outsider. This poem inspired me to write a poem about my parents (they are teachers).

    4. Jennifer, WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL!

    5. I love your poem, Jennifer - and not just because I'm a teacher!!

    6. Penny, thanks for the very kind words.
      Thank you Rena! That's great it helped inspire you with yours.
      *smiling* at Pam, thank you!
      I didn't know that Lori! Thanks for the compliment :)

    7. Jennifer, I loved your poem. Thanks for the kind comment. I really tried to focus on bringing out the good and the evil.

  4. Vanessa and Jennifer they are both beautiful poems!

    I think I'll make mine up on the spot while all this wonderful poetry talk is fresh in my head.

    Reminds Me

    Nobody cares and nobody knows
    Others have stopped thinking about that day long ago,
    the day no one was there to protect you.
    Only a handful of people rub a leaf from that tree now,
    Feeling the crispness and wanting to chop you down with an axe. Pretend that the tree never existed in the first place. family not allowing me to talk when I so desperately need to tell.
    But that tree has grown and with it your entire existence.
    It may be an invisible tree that only shows itself to family,
    but its roots are embedded forever, its branches always catching our attention just when we've begun to forget.
    Every poem reminds me, every thing you are able to do now that you couldn't before, reminds me.
    Every day every mention of drinking, of pubs, of family, of police, of hurt, of injustice, of fighting, of loss, freedom, of confinement, of hope, of heartbreak
    reminds me.

    1. Wow!Catherine! I'm like Jennifer, I felt the heartbreak. Your poem is very powerful. You should send it to Alanon for their publication. I think it would touch people. It touched me.

    2. I second Penny and Jennifer. I know I have kept this challenge mostly on the light side, but there was time before I wrote poetry for kids that I turned to poetry because it was the only way I could express myself. Those poems helped me work through a lot of pain. Thanks Catherine for sharing.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Wow, thank you, Catherine. Heart-breaking and powerful.

    5. Very emotional poem, Catherine. I agree with Joanna that it is also very powerful. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Beautifully written Catherine. I feel the heartbreak in each line here.

  6. Thanks Jennifer, I burst into tears after writing it. Thanks for the therapy Rena! ;)

  7. Thanks but I've already had one published that my parents were so upset about, I can't keep doing it. I'll have to keep a secret folder or something.

    1. I understand that. I have a secret folder at home. Perhaps one day I will publish some of the stuff in that folder, but right now I think the harm it would cause outweighs the benefit of publication.

    2. Exactly, we'll said.

  8. A beautiful interview, thank you for sharing! A lot of what she said seems to resonate with me at my current state of writing, so I appreciate it very much. =) Thank you for this series!

  9. Traveling Grace

    We've traveled down this road before,
    Down this red, dirt road
    Hickory stands his vigil in the bend of
    this red, dirt road.

    The family gate (usually locked) is open today.
    There is family there already.
    Daddy and Grams have been there for some time,
    Down this red dirt road

    Now the two younger ones are newly arrived,
    "Too soon, too soon, too soon."
    Hickory's branches cover them.
    They'll stay with family that traveled before__
    Down this red dirt road.

    The family gate is locked, now.
    Yet this is our meeting place.
    So we'll see one another as each of us travels,
    Down this red dirt road.

    1. When I read this I was picturing the cemetery where my own family is buried. Lovely poem. Being someone who has lost family members it's comforting to know they are not alone as I'm not alone here.

    2. I can clearly picture the details of this red dirt road with the family waiting to be together again. Like Rena, I too thought of a where my grandmother's is buried.

    3. What a catchy line red dirt road is. The tone is perfect for the subject too. Very poetic.

    4. I very much enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thank you Rena, Jennifer, and Catherine! It was inspired by the sentiments in Catherine's poem. Thank you, Catherine and thank you Rena for creating a place for us to share.

  11. Thank you so much, Rena, for having me on your wonderful blog. It has truly been a pleasure. :)

    1. Thanks for sharing. I hope you keep writing poetry!

  12. This is a wonderful post! I absolutely love this poem. Great inspirational piece. :)

    1. Thanks for all your support, Emily. :)

  13. ....
    I can see the light above but so far away,
    I wonder how my body can last another day.

    Its wonderful, wonderful and wonderful :)
    Very well written Venessa. Cheers.


Thanks for your comments. Remember to keep them kid friendly.