#AuthorDiaries – Kristin Seborg, Author of THE SACRED DISEASE

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#AUTHOR DIARIES IS PLEASED TO WELCOME Kristin Seborg, GRAVITY IMPRINT AUTHOR of  The Sacred Disease.

Kristin

What is your book’s genre/category?

My book is a memoir. More specifically, a medical memoir.

Please describe what the story/book is about.

The Sacred Disease is about my journey learning to live with seizures and epilepsy at the same time that I studied to become a physician and during my early years as a mother.

 

NOW FOR THE JUICY, FUN PART ~ DISCOVERING MORE ABOUT WHAT MAKES YOU, THE AUTHOR TICK.

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What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Living in the moment with nothing to worry about and no tasks to complete. In my “perfect” happiness world, I would be surrounded by nature and my children.

What is your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is that my epilepsy and recurrent small seizures will lead to early onset cognitive changes and/or memory loss.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I like to call it “realism,” but I tend to see the negative side of things. My husband is an eternal optimist so he nicely balances this tendency of mine

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

I have limited patience for laziness or an attitude of victimization. The best way to change things and change your life is to rouse and do something about it!

Which living person do you most admire?

I most admire people who succeed and excel despite adversity. Specifically Helen Keller (OK, she’s dead!) professional surfer Bethany Hamilton and all of the Gravity Imprint authors!

What is your current state of mind?

I am grateful, excited, and nervous. Grateful to Gravity and Booktrope for giving me the opportunity to share my store and raise awareness about epilepsy, excited that I no longer have to pretend that I am silently struggling and nervous because I have “spilled my guts” on paper in my book! I am more vulnerable than ever but hope that my words and story will help others with chronic illness.

On what occasion do you lie?

Friend/coworker: “How are you?”

Me: “Great!”

It’s often easiest to tell a half truth instead of the whole story.

Which living person do you most despise?

Currently? Donald Trump and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. They are politicizing fear and exclusionism and motivating voters to follow them by creating a culture of anxiety and unease

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“That’s a good question”

“Absolutely”

“I get it”

“like. . . “

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My husband, Andrew, and our three fantastic children, Alex, Will, and Kalli

When and where were you happiest?

College at the University of Wisconsin. Endless promise and anticipation for the future, great friends, and no pressure beyond the need to study for exams. Adulthood with a mortgage, jobs, and children is a little more stressful!

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be a little more artistic. I admire art and admire people that can draw and paint but I have no innate artistic ability. I do my best “painting” with words.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Can I say three things?

My medical degree (lots of blood, sweat, and tears!)

My children

My book

Where would you most like to live?

Someplace warm with natural beauty and not overcrowded. Oahu, Hawaii would be wonderful.

What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty and selflessness. My closest friends will both tell me if my hair looks terrible and take time out of their day to help me fix it!

Where can we find your book?

The Sacred Disease is available on Amazon.


Kristin is a practicing pediatrician in Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and three children. An advocate for epilepsy awareness, Kristin hopes that writing about her disease will help decrease the stigma associated with seizures.

You can find Kristin at www.kristinseaborg.com, at www.oneintwentysix.com, on Facebook at Kristin Seaborg MD, Author, and on Twitter @KristinSeaborg. 100% of author royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to CURE. Learn more about CURE’s mission at www.cureepilepsy.org


Thank you, Kristin for sharing your courageous journey, spreading Epilepsy Awareness, and Advocacy. I hope that your love of nature, family, serenity and a seizure-free life always find you.

Wishing you continued success with life, your writerly pursuits and poignant memoir, THE SACRED DISEASE.


ABOUT JACQUELINE CIOFFA

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Jacqueline Cioffa was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector and Stone Crab enthusiast. Her work has been featured in the anthologies, Brainstorms, Feminine Collective’s Raw & Unfiltered Vol. 1, and numerous literary magazines. Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness. Her poignant, literary fiction debut, The Vast Landscape, gives new meaning to intense, raw and heartfelt. Fans of the emotional, soul stirring first novel will not be able to put the exciting sequel, Georgia Pine, down.

“The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life.” ~ Georgia Pine by Jacqueline Cioffa

Look for her column, “Bleeding Ink” with Feminine Collective.

The Infamous Proust Questionnaire

In the 1880s, long before he claimed his status as one of the greatest authors of all time, teenage Marcel Proust (July 10, 1871–November 18, 1922) filled out an English-language questionnaire given to him by his friend Antoinette, the daughter of France’s then-president, as part of her “confession album” — a Victorian version of today’s popular personality tests, designed to reveal the answerer’s tastes, aspirations, and sensibility in a series of simple questions. Proust’s original manuscript, titled “by Marcel Proust himself,” wasn’t discovered until 1924, two years after his death. Decades later, the French television host Bernard Pivot, whose work inspired James Lipton’s Inside the Actor’s Studio, saw in the questionnaire an excellent lubricant for his interviews and began administering it to his guests in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1993, Vanity Fair resurrected the tradition and started publishing various public figures’ answers to the Proust Questionnaire on the last page of each issue.

 

 

#Author Diaries ~ Wendy Garfinkle, author of SERPENT ON A CROSS

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#Author Diaries is pleased to welcome Wendy Garfinkle, Booktrope author of SERPENT ON A CROSS.

 

Wendy_Author_HeadshotWendy is a writer who holds degrees from three different universities, including MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. Her debut novel, SERPENT ON A CROSS, which was published October 30, 2012, by Northampton House Press as an eBook, was re-released digitally and in print – with new content – by Booktrope, in August 2014.

She has authored numerous poems, and is currently working on her second novel, the sequel to SOAC, which will be published by Booktrope in Spring 2016, and a new contemporary thriller series. She has served as a copy editor and panel reader for Hippocampus Magazine, and a reader for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. She works as an Editor and Proofreader for Booktrope, and its Gravity Imprint.

In her day job, Wendy is a crime analyst. Her hobbies include reading, photography, writing and editing, and traveling. She lives in South Florida with her teenage son.

 

soac_front_cover_11.24.15 copyWhat is your book’s genre/category?

Jewish Medieval Fantasy/Jewish Historical

Please describe what the story/book is about.

Dennah Dubrovnika is a formidable hunter and talented healer. However, she cannot control her own powers, which have suddenly reawakened in the aftermath of her mother’s violent capture by a powerful warlord who destroyed their village in his wake. As she races to free her mother, Dennah is accompanied by Jeth, the man she loves. But she’s increasingly, inexorably drawn to the mysterious Skallan who is allied with her greatest enemy.

Will Dennah be able to gain a measure of control over her magic or will she lose everything and everyone she loves to its raging inferno?

 

NOW FOR THE JUICY, FUN PART ~ DISCOVERING MORE ABOUT WHAT MAKES YOU, THE AUTHOR TICK.

 

Please pick 15 random questions from Proust’s Questionnaire and answer.

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What is your greatest fear?

That I’ll allow fear of the unknown and low self-confidence to keep me from realizing my potential – as a professional, as a mother, as a friend, as a writer, etcetera.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Procrastination. I’m a big procrastinator. I don’t MEAN to be, it just happens. I usually have the best of intentions with regards to writing and editing. But something ALWAYS happens. Whether I get caught up in reading the newest book by a favorite author, or trying to catch up on all the DVR-D episodes of my favorite shows – and there are a lot of them – or my warm bedcovers refuse to release me… time manages to slip away, and then I’m rushed.

Ironically though, procrastination seems to suit me. I’ve tried completing projects ahead of time; for some reason, it just doesn’t happen. If I’m editing, I end up having trouble with the layout or headers, or some such, which puts me behind schedule anyway. So I usually just throw in the towel and let procrastination have her way. They don’t call me Turtle Editor for nothing, you know.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Disloyalty. If I have a problem with someone, I try to remember that that person – and not the rest of social media – is the FIRST one who needs to hear that I have a problem with him or her, and hope that we can work through it in a manner acceptable to both parties.

I faced this issue recently. Someone I thought was a “friend” pretty much threw me under the bus because he was having trouble facing his own fears and limitations. Apparently, I was one of the major players in this stressful situation, so I guess he decided instead of working through the problem, he needed to make me “pay.” Once I got over being hurt by his blitz attack (a day or two later), I got pissed. Needless to say, we’re not “friends” anymore and I can’t say that I miss the toxicity he brought to my life.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Books. I have loads of them. They’ve all but taken over my bedroom and my half of the office I share with my brother. Even if I don’t have money for groceries or gas, I WILL find a way to buy a book if I want it bad enough. See? I’m obsessed. But it’s an obsession I won’t be seeking a cure for anytime soon. I think it’s the healthiest extravagance to have.

What is your current state of mind?

While I’m writing this, my state of mind is a bit frantic. I’m trying to finish answering 15 questions so I can get this interview back to Jackie so she won’t think I’m a TOTAL slacker.

Other than that, I’m less-stressed than I was a few weeks ago. Further along with my 2nd novel – might actually finish it before Christmas…this year! – have a few more editing and proofreading projects under my belt, and resolved a few personal/family issues. Life is good at the moment.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Patience. I missed the patience train as a developing fetus. My childhood motto was “But I WANT it (NOW)!” That hasn’t changed much. I try to be more mature these days about my impatience, usually attempting to distract myself with something else – reading, sleeping, playing crossword puzzles – while I wait for other parties involved to catch up. This works really well with my deplorable procrastination trait. I like to think that impatience and procrastination will someday find an easy middle.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

Two things. My weight and rosacea. I never had a problem with my weight before I got pregnant. I blame the OB/GYN (a MAN, by the way) who told me to put on more weight. He apparently forgot to tell me HOW to safely do this (time frame, meal plan, etc.) so that it wouldn’t take the rest of my life to lose it again. Just, “you need to gain more weight.” I took that directive and ran with it. I’ve lost some of that weight, and then put it back on. So more than 15 years later, I’ve never been any closer than 25 lbs over to my pre-pregnancy weight. Fortunately, I’m almost 6 feet tall bare-foot, so it’s easier to camouflage most of that extra weight than it would be if I was, say 6 inches shorter.

Rosacea. I’ve had this all of my adult life. When I’m stressed or anxious or depressed (which is about half the time), it shows on my face. I’m almost 42 and I feel like a teenager most days because of my blotchy complexion – NOT good for the self-confidence, which I already struggle with. I’ve tried many different products, and no products at all – both store-bought and homeopathic – to little avail. The thing that works best is little to no makeup; except for special occasions – date night or some such –washing my face at least twice a day with cold water and a mild salicylic face wash, and a monthly or bi-monthly facial/face peel. That’s it. Anything else and I have break-outs of epic proportions – well, epic to me, because, hey, almost 42 here.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

I can only pick ONE quality? Choices, choices. Well, if we’re talking about a platonic relationship with a man, then I’d have to say a great sense of humor. If we’re talking about a romantic relationship, I have a whole page of qualities. One of the most important qualities for a romantic relationship is that he be taller than me – at least 6 feet tall. I’ve tried dating guys who are shorter than me. Makes me feel awkward, and there’s the whole self-confidence issue. For some reason, tall men like itty-bitty women and short men like taller women. I take issue with this – we tall women like to feel “itty-bitty” too (at least, I do)! But a sense of humor coupled with a spirit of adventure rank almost at the top. Must love to have sex. It’s great if he likes to cook, also, because I don’t. Like to cook, that is. I CAN cook, but I prefer not to. He also needs to be a reader. I’m suspicious of men who don’t like to read.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be able to pound out a full-length manuscript in 2-3 months, and write 2 blog posts a week. Even if that full-length manuscript needs a lot of editing, the meat of it – the work that’s the most challenging for me – would be finished and I wouldn’t be so stressed over the novel I’ve been working on for the past 2 years and NEVER seem to finish. Even though said novel has been completely outlined for the past 2 years, and I know EXACTLY where the story is going. And I wouldn’t agonize so much over whether I’m going to have a fresh post for #MondayBlogs, or if so-and-so is going to “yell” at me because I STILL haven’t finished that blog post I promised her 6 months ago! In addition to Turtle Editor, I’m also Turtle Writer.

Where would you most like to live?

The UK. Specifically, London. I’ve been there 4 times over a 15-year period and every time I go back, I fall in love a little bit more. The first 3 times I was there were for summer study programs through my university. Through that program and those trips, I was able to visit other parts of England, such as Winchester and Salisbury, as well as travel to France (Paris) and Scotland (Edinburgh and Glasgow).

I like to call London my hometown. It would be wonderful if it someday actually DOES become my hometown. Then I could travel all around the UK and other parts of Europe. It would be a dream come true to live and work there.

What is your favorite occupation?

Something that combines my love of writing, editing, history, travel and photography – freelancing for National Geographic comes to mind. Don’t get me wrong, I love my day job as a crime analyst and working in law enforcement, and getting paid by Booktrope to read and edit, help guide authors to polish their stories into something even more fantastic and memorable. But if I could have my dream job? It would be something that combines these loves. Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to do that.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My green eyes. I think they’re my best feature; my European heritage coming through. And green is the rarest eye color, which makes them that much more special in my opinion.

Who are your favorite writers?

Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Laurell K. Hamilton, J.R. Ward, Christine Feehan, Karen Rose, John Gwynne, Robin Owens, Robyn Carr, Alison Weir, Anne Bishop, Richard Montanari, Karin Slaughter, Michelle Sagara, Maggie Anton, Patrick Rothfuss.

In most cases, I’ve read everything or almost everything the above authors have written. In a few cases (Patrick Rothfuss and John Gwynne), I’m counting the days until their newest releases – the series are THAT excellent. I’m not waiting breathlessly, because while I’m fairly certain that John Gwynne’s final book in his The Faithful and The Fallen series will be available within the next 9 months or so, holding my breath while waiting on the release date for the next book in Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles would most likely end in my own demise.

Who are your heroes in real life?

One of my heroes is my mother. She’s ALWAYS there for me, even when we’re miles apart. I’m fortunate to currently live just a few miles from her. She’s been my back-up caregiver since my son’s father and I separated, he moved away, and then we divorced more than 9 years ago. My mom is my sounding board and my role model of a godly, compassionate woman. I’ll never be as good as she is, but it’s nice to have someone to emulate.

Other heroes include my fellow Gravity Imprint peeps. We have some awesome authors who’ve shared some heart-wrenching stories. Their bravery, determination, compassion, and dedication to community humble me daily.

What is your greatest regret?

Letting anxiety and fear of the unknown stop me from taking chances when I was younger, had more energy and no child. Hindsight truly IS 20/20. At my “mature age” of almost 42 years, I make conscious effort not to let this fear continue to rule my life and decisions.

How would you like to die?

I’m not going to die; I am immortal!!

Ahem. Sorry. That’s a different interview. Now what did I do with that answer? Oh, yes…

I would like to die as a very elderly lady, say about age 90 or so, peacefully, in my sleep, after accomplishing everything on my rather lengthy bucket list.

What is your motto?

I have the will and I will find a way.


What motivated you to write the book and what have you learned about yourself from the process?

SERPENT ON A CROSS began life in response to a writing prompt while working toward my MA in Creative Writing degree.

The prompt was: Write a scene from the point of view of a young character in a setting that is uncomfortable, threatening, dangerous, or fearful. Create the sense of conflict with the surroundings through at least three senses. Use elements of weather, time of day, and time of year as well as place.

And Dennah was born. The original 4-page scene that resulted from this prompt was amateurish. The revised and re-revised scene expanded into a 10-page writing sample that made it into my final portfolio for the semester, and while it was a little more advanced than the original, still wasn’t my best work. It began with a “waking up” scene – the kind of beginning my mentor detests, and was quick to tell me so. Since acting auditions in my 20s helped me grow a thick skin, I was able to accept, with humor and humility, his comments; constructive criticism from an experienced author intended to help me grow as a writer and to mold my story into a publishable novel, which eventually became SERPENT ON A CROSS.

Transitioning into my Project/Thesis Semester, I wanted to revise this 10-page piece of fantastic juvenile fluff into a fantasy novel, and so asked my mentor, Dave Poyer, his thoughts. This began a discussion of my ancestral background, and how it could be woven into Dennah’s story. My heritage on my father’s side is Ashkenazi Jewish, my great-grandparents having emigrated from Russian territories (Ukraine and Belarus) during late 19th century pogroms. Thus, the background for Dennah’s story – a young Jewish healer with unknown Elemental powers living in Medieval Eastern Europe on the eve of a pogrom.

Since I planned to set my novel in the real world, during an historical time period, but with fantasy themes of magic, mythology and mysticism, I had to research the historical and realistic pieces of Dennah’s story, language and geography, as well as the mysticism and magic that has been part of Jewish heritage for thousands of years. I also spent a whirlwind 8 days in 2010 traveling through Poland, Ukraine and Russia, in an attempt to get a “feel” for the countries and people that make up the landscape and characters of my books.

Though I’ve had to stumble through most of my discovery, as my father’s family wasn’t very observant, didn’t keep very good family records, and most of them have passed on, I’ve fallen more deeply in love with my rich Jewish heritage and continue my research into this part of my ancestry. I’ve also learned a great deal about herbalism and medieval medicinal practices.

I probably have enough knowledge and references to someday open an apothecary, which will, naturally, be adjoined to my cafe-bookstore full of new, used and rare volumes of the printed word, which I travel the world to procure.

Author Website?

http://wendycgarfinkle.com/

Where can we find your book?

 Amazon

Barnes & Noble

You can follow Wendy Garfinkle around the web:

Facebook Author Page

Twitter

Pinterest

Facebook Personal Page

Goodreads

Google+

LinkedIn

Tumblr

Thank you, Wendy for chatting and taking the Proust challenge. I wish you continued success with your writing, and immortal life pursuits. You have already completed quite the extensive, and impressive ‘bucket list’ check. Slacker? I hardly think so. Maybe writing a suspense drama for the BBC is in your future, staring a beguiling and bewitching heroine with stricking green eyes…


ABOUT JACQUELINE CIOFFA

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Jacqueline Cioffa was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector and Stone Crab enthusiast. Her work has been featured in the anthologies, Brainstorms, Feminine Collective’s Raw & Unfiltered Vol. 1, and numerous literary magazines. Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness. She’s a storyteller, observer, essayist, potty mouth and film lover who’s traveled the world.

Her poignant, literary fiction debut, The Vast Landscape, gives new meaning to intense, raw and heartfelt.
Fans of the emotional, soul stirring first novel will not be able to put the exciting sequel, Georgia Pine, down.

“The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life.” ~ Georgia Pine by Jacqueline Cioffa

Look for her new column, “Bleeding Ink” with Feminine Collective.

The Infamous Proust Questionnaire

In the 1880s, long before he claimed his status as one of the greatest authors of all time, teenage Marcel Proust (July 10, 1871–November 18, 1922) filled out an English-language questionnaire given to him by his friend Antoinette, the daughter of France’s then-president, as part of her “confession album” — a Victorian version of today’s popular personality tests, designed to reveal the answerer’s tastes, aspirations, and sensibility in a series of simple questions. Proust’s original manuscript, titled “by Marcel Proust himself,” wasn’t discovered until 1924, two years after his death. Decades later, the French television host Bernard Pivot, whose work inspired James Lipton’s Inside the Actor’s Studio, saw in the questionnaire an excellent lubricant for his interviews and began administering it to his guests in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1993, Vanity Fair resurrected the tradition and started publishing various public figures’ answers to the Proust Questionnaire on the last page of each issue.

#Author Diaries ~ C. Streetlights, author of Tea and Madness

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Author Diaries is pleased to welcome C. Streetlights, Gravity Imprint author of Tea and Madness.

 

C. Streetlights

After writing and illustrating her first bestseller in second grade, “The Lovely Unicorn”, C. Streetlights took twenty years to decide if she wanted to continue writing. In the time known as growing up she became a teacher, a wife, and mother. Retired from teaching, C. Streetlights now lives with her family in the mountains along with their dog that eats Kleenex. Her new memoir, Tea and Madness is now available.

 

 

 

12314696_10153493777754457_7757826515323767730_oWhat is your book’s genre/category? 

Memoir

Please describe what the story/book is about.

Tea and Madness is a collection of poetry and prose written during a time when I experienced a great deal of emotional pain, loss, as well as growth. In approximately 3-5 years I experienced the loss of a baby, sexual assault, debilitating depression, betrayal from friends and coworkers, memories of a rape from college, and severe anxiety. This collection is my way of showing how I survived.

 

 

 Now for the juicy, fun part ~ discovering more about what makes you, the author tick.

Please pick 15 random questions from Proust’s Questionnaire and answer.

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 What is your greatest fear?

Losing one of my kids. It is the worst panicky feeling when you turn around for a second and can’t find one of your kids. It’s the kind of panic that makes you want to vomit. I am absolutely terrified that I will lose them. My son was always very timid in public places, always stayed close to me. My daughter, on the other hand, is 100% free spirit and gives me the slip constantly. I feel like I need a sedative by the time we come home from wherever it is we went. It is a very hard balance to teach your children the proper dose of caution while out in public and not instill in them total paranoia – even if you yourself are feeling it. If I could strap my little girl to my leg when we go out, I’d do it more than likely.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I have the inability to celebrate myself and my accomplishments. While this might seem like a small trait to deplore in myself, I have seen how it has affected my life and so many of my choices. It is because of this that I never studied abroad when I was younger and why I never attempted to submit any writing to contests or scholarship opportunities. It is because of my silence that I never spoke up in my defense when nobody else would defend me either. It is because I thought so little of myself that I relied on the wrong people to fill up my spirit’s empty places with even emptier words to make me feel whole. What’s worse is that I still struggle with accepting well-deserved praised; I still feel itchy with compliments as if I’m wearing wool sweaters. I am working hard to be gracious and say “thank you” without qualifiers. It is harder than some might think.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Entitlement. I grew up in a home that many would consider this hypocritical of me. My father worked very hard so that my mother could stay home with the kids. We lived in an upper middle class neighborhood with equally nice homes. I went to schools that were predominantly white with classmates that were just as fortunate as I was socioeconomically. Most kids were given new cars when they turned 16. I didn’t know of anyone who went without when I was growing up. When I talk about how and where I grew up people want to shame me – that’s the stylish thing today, shame – because I while we weren’t affluent, we were part of the Orange County beach community. However, none of my friends grew up feeling entitled to anything. I certainly didn’t. All of my friends had jobs from the time they were 15 and saved money to pay for college, car insurance and gas money. If we wanted to do something we had to work for it. And while my parents worked hard so that I wouldn’t have to work for college, they still made sure I knew how to work. I had a work ethic that meant doing a job well, not taking money unless I earned it and not until I had earned it. I was taking care of my grandma (who had Alzheimer’s from the time I was 8 years old) every Saturday once I turned 12 years old, from noon until 5. The kids in my graduating class went to top tier universities because they earned scholarships their, not because of how much their parents donated. And so when people look down their noses at communities like where I grew up and assume we had it all given to us while at the same time complaining they aren’t given enough to compensate, I have to bite my tongue. None of us expected things to be given to us. That’s the difference. The expectation that benefits of some kind will just be handed over really bugs the hell outta me.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

This was very challenging so of course I had to answer it. I would have to say honesty is most overrated. Everyone claims they want honesty in a person but in reality they don’t. What they are really asking for is to not be hurt. Nobody really wants honesty, if they did then politicians would be much more likable, teenagers wouldn’t be afraid of those in authority, and there’d be no need for most of our laws. In all actuality, what people want is to be seen for who they are and for others to honor the truth that is inside them.

On what occasion do you lie?

I lie to protect others.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My “baby weight” turned into “toddler weight” and is now “preschooler weight”.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

I really enjoy men. What I mean is, I enjoy talking with men and being their friend. I tend to have more male friends than female friends. I don’t know why this is, and maybe it has to do with communication style more than anything, but I like men who are straightforward and to the point. And I like men who can handle that same trait in a woman. I find that when I make a new male friend who is incapable of understanding my straightforward nature, we are not good friends for long. Even when I tell men from the start that this is my nature it’s as if they don’t know how to respond to it. So I really appreciate it when I find a guy to talk with who is not a game player and is capable of accepting the same from me.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

I like women who respect other women and their choices. Not all women will be the working mom, or the stay home moms, or even become moms – and all of that is okay. I despise “The Mommy Wars” and wonder how on earth we will ever close the wage gap when all we do is tear each other down? I love women who support each other, congratulate each other, and are willing to jump in and help when and where it is needed. We are not each other’s enemy, why are we criticizing each other constantly? Why are we so catty with one another? I am astonished by what women say about other women – whether it’s about looks, clothes, their children, their housework, their partners, everything! The best advice I was given was to surround myself with other women “who get it” and I have found that as I build my tribe of women who get it, I am feeling more empowered, more self-confident, and more encouraged than ever before. These are the kind of women I like.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

My Southern California comes out strong here, I overuse “like” for sure. Are you kidding me? Rad and stoked.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

By far the greatest love of my life is my children. Everything changed for me the moment I held my son. He had a way of pursing his lips as a newborn and he looked up at me with his enormous eyes, his sweet lips pursed, and I just knew that my heart belonged to him forever. And it has been that way ever since. He and I both nearly died when he was born. He had fallen asleep in the birth canal and just decided that birth was not exciting anymore. The c-section had to be rushed because I had to be put under and so I didn’t get to hold him for several hours until after I had woken up from the anesthesia. Even now I can imagine the warmth of my baby boy lying next to me. Motherhood is terrific wonder. My baby girl was rushed to NICU soon after she was born. I thought my heart would erupt into pieces when I heard the Code Blue being called for her and there was nothing I could do. I didn’t get to hold her until three days afterwards when she was taken off the ventilator. My heart has been complete ever since. My kids are everything to me and they truly are my greatest loves.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I enjoyed exercise and had the motivation to do it. Because I sure as hell don’t now!

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

When I was on suicide watch this was, by far, the worst misery I have ever experienced. It was several days of terrible darkness and emptiness inside me, something I have never experienced before. I had no noise in my head, no thoughts or words, just a void. Nothingness. Days passed, one to the next, and I had no concept of time. Sometimes I slept but mostly I stared at my wall. All I wanted, more than anything, was to no longer exist. I truly believed that there was no purpose in my living any longer and my family would be better they didn’t have to deal with me anymore. I have never felt such numbing lack of emotion.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I have freckles on my nose that never go away and get darker in the summer. When people spend time with me or get to know me, they seem to always point out my freckles as if I don’t know they’re there.

What do you most value in your friends?

Love. I’ve been betrayed and hurt so deeply I need friends who will love me. With love comes loyalty, faith, and all the rest.

What is your motto?

You can’t dance with the devil and expect to lead.

 


What motivated you to write the book and what have you learned about yourself from the process?

Tea and Madness came about because I had no faith in myself, to be honest. I knew I wanted to have a collection of poetry and prose reflecting a time period when I when experienced enormous pain and struggle. I wanted to be real to the reader and that life is authentically messy. Everything is extraordinarily packaged for perfection out in the media and women in particular are sent toxic messages that their lives need to be perfect. Even their struggles need to be conducted in a socially acceptable way. I felt driven by the truth I learned for myself, that we are all incredibly messy with living messy lives and that chaos is what makes us human. I didn’t want my book to be one more voice adding to the “perfection programming”. I wanted it to be safe. I wanted Tea and Madness to tell people, “My house is a wreck and my laundry never gets done either, but I’m still a good person doing good things.”

Where can we find your book?

Tea and Madness by Gravity Imprint author C. Streetlights is available in both print and eBook on Amazon.

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You can follow C. Streetlights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Thank you, C. Streetlights for chatting and taking the Proust challenge. I wish you continued success with your writing and Zen life! 


ABOUT JACQUELINE CIOFFA

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Jacqueline Cioffa was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector and Stone Crab enthusiast. Her work has been featured in the anthologies, Brainstorms, Feminine Collective’s Raw & Unfiltered Vol. 1, and numerous literary magazines. Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness, and author of the poignant literary debut, The Vast Landscape, and soul-stirring sequel, Georgia Pine.

The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life. ~ Georgia Pine by Jacqueline Cioffa

Look for her new column, “Bleeding Ink” with Feminine Collective.

 The Infamous Proust Questionnaire

In the 1880s, long before he claimed his status as one of the greatest authors of all time, teenage Marcel Proust (July 10, 1871–November 18, 1922) filled out an English-language questionnaire given to him by his friend Antoinette, the daughter of France’s then-president, as part of her “confession album” — a Victorian version of today’s popular personality tests, designed to reveal the answerer’s tastes, aspirations, and sensibility in a series of simple questions. Proust’s original manuscript, titled “by Marcel Proust himself,” wasn’t discovered until 1924, two years after his death. Decades later, the French television host Bernard Pivot, whose work inspired James Lipton’s Inside the Actor’s Studio, saw in the questionnaire an excellent lubricant for his interviews and began administering it to his guests in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1993, Vanity Fair resurrected the tradition and started publishing various public figures’ answers to the Proust Questionnaire on the last page of each issue.