Q: You've co-branded your book of poetry with a collection of music. Why is that?
A: "Hummingbird Wings" is both a song and a poem. The book is from one stage of my life, and the music is the next stage of my life. The common thread - Hummingbird Wings - is the continuity of my literal and artistic life. The segue from poetry to music.
Q: Which came first, the poem, or the song?
A: While I've been known to turn poems into songs, with this one, the song came first. But it also stands alone, as a poem. I tend to think that a lot of music should be able to do that.
Q: Can you tell me a little about the process of creating "Hummingbird Wings"?
A: A former lover, who is the subject of the book of poems, once gave me a cd of him playing guitar and percussion. It was a melencholy and sweet tune, but had no lyrics. It sat in the back of my closet for a few years until one day, while cleaning out the closet, I came upon it, and gave it another listen. The words just poured out. Later, while going over it with my friend Corky, we made it something of our own, with it.
Q: There's quite a gap between when your poems were written, and when you published. Why did it take so long ?
A: There've been multiple reasons. One was that I'd been a performance poet in my community for some years, and had branched out into music, leaving me little time for poetry. Another, was that I'd originally published the poem in a blog, which essentially got those raw emotions out of my system. But since I became medically retired, I thought I'd dust off the book, along with some previously recorded music, and finally get it "out there." It's been a difficult process, but was accomplished with the help of some friends and a narrow window of useable time.
Q: What do you mean by difficult process? Narrow window of time?
A: I mean literally difficult. I won't go into boring detail, but I'm a chronic pain patient, and sitting for any period of time can be excruciatingly painful. Between limited ability to sit, pain brain, and other medical issues, I needed help for some aspects of this project. Then, this year I had four lower pain days, where my mind could focus enough to get the artwork up and out there. That's the thing with chronic pain. You might get only two, three, if you're lucky, four days of lower pain, each year, and then you have to ask yourself, "what am I going to do with it?" It's a limitation I would have never imagined, before. It makes you take stock of your priorities.
Q: Is there any reason you come out as disabled in your artist bio?
A: It took a long time for me to stop focusing on all I'd lost when I became disabled, and to embrace my new reality. Although the poetry and music I created was done before I became disabled, my new reality gave me four partial days of usable time this year, and I made the most of it. Most chronic pain patients are in the same boat. On those rare lower pain days, what will I do with my time? I hope to inspire other chronic pain patients to prioritize those things that are nourishing to their soul, on those kinds of days. You might get an hour, a day, or four days, a year. Or maybe one hour a day, for a few days. But take advantage of that time for something you really want to do. I also find it important to not be ashamed of being disabled. To remove the stigma of being disabled, especially for those with invisible disabilities, such as chronic pain.
Q: Why "SnowDancer"? Why not your real name?
A: While I no longer identify as SnowDancer, she was the woman who created the music and poetry. She was the woman I was for some 10 to 12 years. She was magickal and artistic and incredibly sensual, and constantly creating poetry and music. I honor the woman I was, the life I lived, the lessons I learned, by publishing under a pen name that was also my spiritual name. Plus, I like my anonymity. Stress exacerbates pain, and can spike it from a 5, to a 9 in very short order. I live a very simple life, these days, and I want, and need, to keep it simple.
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