A Slip of the Lit – Tamara Woods (Author Interview)

If you’re anyone who’s ANYONE, ANYWHERE NEAR a writer community lately, you will have seen this wonderful lady working the social media platforms LIKE A BOSS. Or not, because sometimes bosses don’t work as well as you’d like. Especially not the ones at the end of Sonic, who bob up and down and throw things! They should write more poetry – perhaps that would keep them in line! Wait…I’m losing the thread…whatever kind of amazing angel-winged wordsmith she is, Tamara Woods is a fabulous writer, who po’s a damn good -em, hosts weekly twitter chats, and who vlogs, sharing her gorgeous insights, plans and poems in a truly delectable accent.

Try to imagine it as you read her interview…

Tamara Author pic

*waves an enthusiastic ‘hello’ to Tamara and grabs a microphone, to make it seem like more of an official interview* Good MORROW, Tamara, my friend, and welcome very much to A Slip of the Lit. I hope you’re settled comfortably and ready to answer some deeply probing questions about your work. Thank you for agreeing to be my guest this week (your tenner’s in the post!), and with no further ado (if you have everything you need…?) we shall proceed!

You write in a lot of different genres – do you have a favourite? Why?
Poetry will always be my first love. She’s always been there for me and has never strayed. That’s my obvious answer, my least obvious one is probably fiction with a touch of a psychological thriller aspect maybe a smidgen of horror to make it a true delight. This probably shows a bit into why picking genres is such an issue for me. I just enjoy playing with so many.

When did writing first become important to you?
When I realized I could do it. My first short story was written when I was in the 4th or 5th grade- so that would’ve made me around 10 or 11, It felt incredible to tell a story on a piece of paper. One that made sense and would make people laugh or cry. Mostly cry or shudder in horror. My writing occasionally inspires laughter and smiles, but joy is harder for me to evoke.

I get it, though – being able to elicit any feelings in your readers is something pretty special. You’ve had a book of poetry published already; how has the process changed you as a writer?
I am much more consistent as a writer. I write daily-it may not be on the same thing project-but daily. And I’m not afraid I can’t do it anymore. The fear always held me back the most.Not to say that it’s gone entirely, because it’s not. Not at all. I can recognize it and ignore it better.

I’m glad you’ve found a way to overcome it. So who do you look to for inspiration? Which writers have been a strong influence on you?
Maya Angelou always stayed true to her Truth. She developed such strength of character through so many trials and tribulations. She overcame it all. I wanted to write things that spoke to people like her writing speaks tome.

Stephen King is a storyteller through and through. When I sit down with one of his books, I know he’s going to spin quite the yarn. And I’m always excited-if not a bit freaked out. I may like scary books, but I startle very easily.

HA! I shall have to remember that! How would you like to be remembered as an author – what would you like to achieve with your writing?
Immortality? Freedom? Honestly-I just want to tell interesting stories, whatever genre it’s in. I want my readers to take something away from it, whether an emotion, information, a hug…whatever. And to make a living doing it .

Time for you to prove yourself then – write something to Make Us Feel!
I’ll share one of my new favorites that I’ve written recently:

Stand. Still. 

Head back.
Chin up.
Feet shoulder width apart.
Knees bent slightly.

Pull those dreadlocks back.

Tendrils of distraction.
Aren’t they dirty?

Now breathe in slowly.

Feel the air fill your diaphragm.
Your chest expands.

You have control.

Hold for ten counts.
Now release slowly.

Let out the smell of Dad’s breath last night,
Whiskey bruises and bloodied lips

In through your nose.
Quick. Fill up. Short stop.

Out through your mouth.
Concentrated. Deliberate. Mindfully.

Each smack of the belt,
slicing into your back.
You’re the slave here.
He’s finally master.

Flip to page 2.
Second bar.
You’re the star here.
The star in your own show.

Always have the inner smile,
So your song won’t ring flat.

You’re in control here.

Ambulance flashing,
Hand hanging over the side.
Blood drips from pointing finger.

Don’t attack the words.
Tease them.
Let them melt on your tongue.
They should be as sweet as she as.
As this song is.

As you should have been.

Your losing your count.
You sound flat.
Again.

You should be better at this.
Your people are good at this.
Do you play bass?

Practice your breathing.
Haven’t you been breathing?
Don’t you realize the very existence of every man
Hangs from the whoosh through your pursed lips?

You should spend less time singing
And more time cleaning this house.
Earn your keep.

Hasn’t it dawned on you,
Every flat note,
Is a tear sent up to the heavens.
We should be bringing them a joyful noise.

Again.
Breathe.
Lift your chin.
Shoulder back.
Again.
Don’t lock your knees.
Deep breath.
Fast, quick, deliberate.
Succinct.

Less time singing.
More time finding a man.

There’s no time

To keep teaching you these basics.
Do you even want to be here?
Do you want your voice to soar with the angels?
Do you want to be great?

Try harder.

Your inner smile isn’t glowing.

Again.
Again.
Again.

Because you’ll never find release.

Years later when you’re bagging grocers
At the corner store,
You’re going to wonder if that one
misspent night.

That one note that cracked against the bridge of your mouth
Scraping your tongue in its offense,
If that one was the one

That lost every thing for you.

The scholarship.
The respect.
The curve of your youthful body
As you have child number 4.

Again.
Again.
Again.

You have control here.
Release.

WOW! That was incredible. I hope you’re going to publish it in a new collection at some point! Tell us how we can best support you at the moment, as an author…

My blog PenPaperPad.com can always use new subscribers. So needy, that one.

My GoodReads is forever asking for new followers. She’s annoying that way. There’s a new giveaway of my poetry collection each week of April over there. You should enter.

In honor of National Poetry Month in the States (April, btw) I want to do an open mic night on Facebook. I’m inviting everyone who reads this (and those who don’t, of course). I would write all the details, however, I’m just finalizing them. So, you need to follow my Twitter and/or my Facebook to learn more. *barges in, uninvited, to announce that SHE will be there, and hopes that as many poets as possible will perhaps participate…*

Ultimately it boils down to just reading my work and sharing it with other people. I don’t think there’s anything else a writer can really ask for. TRUE DAT!

Tamara Woods was raised (fairly happily) in West Virginia, where she began writing poetry at the age of 12.  She published her first poetry collection, The Shaping of an “Angry” Black Woman in 2014 and is working on her next currently untitled collection. She has used her writing background to capture emotions and moments in time for anthologies such as Empirical Magazine, her blog PenPaperPad and writing articles as a full-time freelance writer. She is a hillbilly hermit in Honolulu living with her Mathemagician.

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32 thoughts on “A Slip of the Lit – Tamara Woods (Author Interview)

  1. Pingback: A Slip of the Lit - Tamara Woods (Author Interv...

  2. Pingback: Ten Things of Thankful #94 | Considerings

  3. Pingback: A Slip of the Lit – Tamara Woods (Author Interview) | lunkusebpaulls

  4. This was awesome!! I loVe LOVE LOVE me some Tamara woods. I have her poetry book, “The shaping of an “angry” black woman” and it’s u-n-b-e-l-ie-v-a-b-l-e (<< that took effort, so you know I mean it!)

    Liked by 2 people

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