Maranda Russell is a multi-award-winning artist, author, poet, and blogger who also happens to have high-functioning autism. She suffers from a few mental and chronic pain conditions which greatly affects her life and makes her want to advocate for others going through similar things. Maranda lives in Dayton, Ohio with her husband and three cats. For more information, please visit marandarussell.com.
What does poetry mean to you?
To me, poetry is the equivalent to expressionism in visual art. It is made best by combining strong feelings/emotions with creative, unusual images and other sensory expressions (sound, taste, touch, etc.) The poems that speak to me personally are the ones that make me think of something ordinary in a completely new way. Ideas that strike you immediately as "yeah, that's the way it really is!" I especially enjoy short, minimalist poetry that still hits hard. I like the challenge of expressing something amazing in very few words.
What inspires your poetry?
What inspires me most is personal experience and my somewhat odd way of looking at the world (thanks to high-functioning autism I believe). Other inspirations include music, books/novels/other poetry, observing people (a favorite hobby of mine), and just random flashes of inspiration that often come to me in the bathtub or shower lol. Too many times I've had to jump out soaking wet to grab a pen and paper to write down the first few lines (or even the entirety) of a new poem.
Which are most important to you: (1) joy, (2) peace, (3) patience, (4) kindness, (5) self-control, (6) faithfulness, (7) gentleness, (8) love, or (9) goodness? If you can, explain why.
Probably kindness is most important to me out of that list. I think so many of the world's problems could be solved by kindness towards all living beings (not just humans). Many of the other qualities go along with kindness anyhow. I would even argue that some of the others (love, goodness, gentleness, patience, peace) pretty much require kindness to some extent.
What sort of things are you looking forward to improving this year?
I feel like the best thing I could do to improve my poetry is actually to work on creating better book covers for my poetry books and chapbooks available on Amazon. I am no graphic designer, but I have always tried to create my own book covers. I'm seriously considering hiring someone else to do it to see if they might be better, or at least look into studying some graphic design/cover design tricks and tips to help me improve my cover game. They always tell you to "not judge a book by its cover", but I feel that isn't actually human nature. We tend to judge quickly whatever our eyes perceive, even if we aren't aware of it.
I am always trying to work on more effective marketing for my poetry and books too, whether it be running targeted ads on Amazon, or using social media. Trying to navigate the ever-changing landscape of social media is kind of exhausting though.
What is one big dream you have?
Sometimes I dream about being "discovered" by a big publishing house, giving me more access to readers. I would love for my work to be more widely read, however, I also fear losing control over my books lol. I can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to my work. I've worked with a few smaller traditional publishers in the past and it is a rough situation when you disagree with the editors about what would make the book work best. I'm sure with communication and respect we could work it out though, so I still would love to have the chance to be represented at a higher level in the book world.
I collect memories, or perhaps, more accurately, they collect me. They've taken over the bed and the bedroom. They've wandered down the hall to congregate in the guest room. Still too crowded, some migrate to the couch, the stove, and the fridge. A few have even taken up swimming in the bathtub or driving my old Saturn. Like Tribbles, or Gremlins, they multiply fast - and require constant supervision.
Find Maranda here:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005NWQN9W