Features Week Day 1: Alison Beattie

Alison is a dear friend of mine and was a huge inspiration to me as a writer. She’s been a poet for as long as I’ve known her and never ceases to amaze me with her emotional writing.

She even has a live poetry event coming up! It’s on April 6th (this Friday) at Sinofilia Tea Stop (Boonton, New Jersey).

Click here to RSVP to the Facebook event. 

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing creatively since 2004 (the 7th grade), which gives me 14 years of writing experience. Honestly, I had to count that out on my fingers.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I became a writer because through writing I can give a voice to something that wouldn’t have one otherwise. It started with myself. In 2008, I was deep into an addition to self-injury and diagnosed with Bipolar NOS. Writing became the only way I could figure out how to describe my chaos in any justifiable way. Poetry gave me a voice; I could have people understand me because I could make them feel what I was feeling. That was a powerful sword wielded against the darkness in my life and it still is. But I also believe give a voice to others. I see people differently than most. I see people, and I see their struggles; their hopes; their discouragement; their dreams; their loves & hates…I see their multi-fascetedness. I can figure them out to their most hidden gem of a secret. And then I always come to the realization that we as people always feel like we are the only one. I hate that because I know exactly what that is like. So I try to write in a way that anyone who comes across my work can say, “Wow, that is exactly how this is,” and relate on a deep and maybe even intrusive level. Poetry is an experience, not just words.
Are you published anywhere?
I actually self-print and publish my own poetry chapbooks. I currently have 6. My most recent one from 2017, “we are only once”, is currently submitted in some competitions and is therefore not published online, but the chapbook right before that one, “contain me”, along with two others, are available on Amazon. Here is the link to download “contain me”: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BJ9P38K/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_sLOVAbCK56X1X
In what genre do you write? 
I actually started out by writing fan fiction for the book series “Warriors” by Erin Hunter and posting it on fanfiction.com, but I haven’t written anything besides free-verse poetry in a very long time. I love poetry…there is just something so special about words being more than just words. I take the power poetry wields very seriously because poetry can touch people in ways nothing else can & that is an honor as a poet. My niche tends to fall into writing about tragedies and what it is like to rise from them, as I can relate to that deeply in my life. I also write frequently about what I observe in the people closest to me, to almost be their pseudo-voice in unsure silence. As of recently, I have writing more and more about my faith and God’s character, which is an exciting turn for me because for a very long time my poetry lingered on the darker side.
What is the most challenging part about being a writer in the genre you’ve chosen?
The most challenging part is definitely being seen. I have a fairly large following of friends and family, but it has been hard to “get myself out there” if you will. It is frustrating and discouraging when I see poems that aren’t all that fantastic have 1,000 likes on Instagram, and a poem I am really proud of have 30 max. Even with some published poems, sometimes I read them and I am like, “…really?” It’s kinda like how I would imagine an undiscovered fiction writer would think about the fame “Twilight” has.
What writer(s) do you look up to?
I know this is awful, but I really don’t read all that much. I work full-time and am in school learning American Sign Language so I don’t have a lot of free time. This may be a cop out but I love reading Paul’s letters in the ESV version of the Bible. Paul has such a powerful and simple way of stating ideas that are hard to even comprehend & I try to emulate that in my poetry.
Do you have any funny stories about your writing adventures?
I don’t have any funny stories, but I do have a few profound stories. I will share two of them.
(1) I had a 7th grade English teacher named Mrs. Auster who saw my skills in writing before I did and encouraged me. Because of her, I began to write, and writing became a light in my life during a very dark time. She was the guest of honor at my high school graduation, and I wanted to be an English teacher just like her. After graduation, we lost contact but I always remembered her. After I printed “we are only once”, I wanted to reconnect with her and send her all of my chapbooks. I knew she had retired, so I called my middle school explaining what I wanted to do and asking if they had her mailing address. The secretary paused and told me she had passed away a few months prior. I found her obituary online, and it seems like she died of breast cancer. I was absolutely heartbroken that I had waited too long and learned a powerful lesson that sometimes our timelines don’t always match up.
(2) I do youth ministry and there was a 12-year-old girl who I will call E, who was and still is an absolutely stunning poet. I encouraged her to write and we critiqued each other’s work. She has an incredible testimony, and she wanted to write a chapbook documenting it in poetry for a school project, similar to one of my chapbooks. I happily helped her do so, walking her through the process of construction while helping her with the poems. When she printed the book for her project, she gave me a copy. I opened it and found she has dedicated the book to me. I was so touched. I read through the final product and cried many tears.
Where can we find you on social media?
For content, my poetry Instagram is @alisonthewriter. You can follow my personal Instagram at @catpets_yes where I post art and pictures of my adorable cats. I also have a writer page on Facebook https://facebook.com/alisonsarahbeattie. If you want to reach out to me, send me an email at alisonsbeattie@gmail.com.

Thank you to Alison for answering my questions. She truly writes powerful poetry and I highly recommend attending her live reading if you’re in the Boonton NJ area!

2 thoughts on “Features Week Day 1: Alison Beattie

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