Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meggie Royer: Depression, Self Image and the Power of Poetry

Art and writing have long been a way for humans to cope with the mysteries of life. Opening a book and reading the detailed, painful, embarrassing, loving or heart-breaking experience of another person helps us to remember that we're not alone and we never truly walk in uncharted territory, only in territory new to us.

It's a real honor to welcome poet Meggie Royer (author of Survival Songs and Healing Old Wounds with New Stitches) to the blog. In the spirit of this blog's themes (fashion and body positivity), Meggie is perhaps one of the best-suited guests to speak about the latter in terms of the power of art, healing and self-image. Read on for my interview with her...

You’ve written a lot of poetry with themes of depression, heartbreak and self-image, things that countless among us struggle with. Do these themes come from a personal place, or an outside observation?

Some of these themes definitely do come from a personal place, especially the depression and self-image issues. Those are issues I struggle with a lot myself, so they manifest themselves as common motifs in my poetry. I write about them with the intent of self-healing, but more so with the intent of hopefully providing some sort of comfort and healing for others experiencing the same difficulties. I also like to mix my own personal experiences with outside observations of others’ experiences to create a blend of personal and observational, because I think it makes my poetry more relatable.

Your response through social media like Tumblr and Twitter has been overwhelming, with people contacting you to say how much you inspired them. Some even say your work saved them from suicide. Did you ever imagine this kind of response?

I never, ever in a million years imagined this kind of response. Sometimes it honestly still just feels surreal- like it’s another writer people are responding to and contacting. Overall, I am incredibly grateful and overwhelmed for the huge volume of support I’ve received throughout my writing career, and also so relieved and glad to know that my writing has actually saved some lives. I could not imagine a better result stemming from my writing. I’m just happy it has such a positive impact on so many people.

I know with my own poetry, it’s often hard to extract myself from the work and speak on the subject because it’s a deeper form of communication in so many ways. But what is your advice to people who struggle with self-image?

To people who struggle with self-image, I would say this: You are more than a mirror. You are the face looking into the mirror, no matter how difficult it is to see the beauty of that face. You are more powerful than you know, and you may feel hopeless and crumbling and damaged at times, but just remember that the Big Bang grew from dust and rock and exploded into an incredible universe. And you’re just like that, built from flaws yet so beautiful and humbling.

That's so beautiful. What do you listen to or read for encouragement and inspiration?

For inspiration and encouragement I read the poetry of Bob Hicok, Sierra DeMulder, Shinji Moon, Clementine von Radics, Sharon Olds, Gregory Sherl, Andrea Gibson, and more, as well as messages from my own readers. I love listening to Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, Cloud Cult, Radiohead, The National, and Phoenix.

Amazing taste in music! Not surprising- and many of those bands write with similar themes of struggling to understand life, even the darker sides (Radiohead and Arcade Fire especially) What’s the best way for your fans to keep up with what you’re doing?

Probably reading my blog! I’ve been trying to keep it more updated and since summer is on the horizon I’ll be trying to post a new piece every day like I did last summer! J

What are your plans for 2014?

This summer I’ll be holding two jobs: a manual labor job and the second job of writing a third poetry book! This time it will be combined with photography. I love making mixed-media collage self-portraits, which are a blend of poetry and photography, so I will include a lot of those in my new book. It’ll be a busy summer for sure, but I’m looking forward to it! Then back to college in the fall.

Exciting! One of your fans, username Mysteriouswritergirl from tumblr, wants to know if you’d be interested in taking part in a poetry reading if she put one together, or in poetry readings/collaboration in general.

I’d love to do a poetry reading, but unfortunately my schedule/financial situation would likely prevent me from traveling much during college. I’ve done several collabs before though and they’ve been pretty fun, so I’d be glad to try a few during the summer.

Thank you so much, Meggie, for stopping by!

You can follow Meggie's Tumblr here:

(Neighborhood #1 by Arcade Fire)

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