Books, Bullying, Carol GoldenEagle, Custodial Parents, Faye Arcand, Faye E. Arcand, How to Make Your Writing Better, indigenous Women, My Twisted Writer Brain…, parental Alienation, parenting, poetry, self help, writing, Writing a Book

Writing Truths and The Breathtaking Poetry of Carol GoldenEagle Part 2

Carol is a writer, an artist, poet, and journalist. Read part one of Carol’s interview here.

She worked as a journalist for over 30 years, but now is centered on her art and writing.

Here today we’ll learn more about her writing and Carol has generously allowed me to share her upcoming cover for her new book, as well as one of her poems.

Carol. Thank you again for your generosity and sharing.

~~~~~~~

Q: How did you secure your first agent or publisher?

I had rejection after rejection with my first novel. 

I was inspired to continue after reading Stephen King’s book – On Writing– where he talked about encountering the same (rejection).  

I always figured, if I don’t believe in myself then why should anyone.  So I kept going.  Richard Van Camp put me in touch with Nightwood Editions

They published my first novel – Bearskin Diary.

Q: What challenges did you face during your early years of writing? Whether real or imagined.


Finding the time to write was a real challenge.  I began writing Bearskin Diary while living in Yellowknife.  I had afull time job, anchoring CBC North News at 6 pm and I was raising 3 children by myself. 

The only time I had to write was at night, after my children had gone to bed.  I rewrote that novel about a dozen times, maybe more, before it was picked up by Nightwood Editions. 

After that publication, it was easier to find the time to write as I had left the media and returned to my home province of Saskatchewan, with the aim of making a living as an artist. 

That part was tough to begin, as no one knew who I was as an artist, what I offered (storytelling in schools).  Thankfully, I had some money saved because getting started was slow. 

But I kept to the plan and now, I am happy to say, that opportunities come to me rather than me having to go out and look.  It hasn’t been an easy road but it most definitely has been satisfying. 

I am grateful that the novels and poetry that I have written has been recognized, and awarded. 

People always talk about retiring. I never will and will continue to write until my final days.

Q: Are you familiar with “Imposter Syndrome”? (“the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s efforts or skills”)  Has this doubt and/or insecurity crept into your psyche?

No, lol.  Writing is work and I apply myself with the same diligence that I would pursuing any career goal.  I feel blessed to be able to do the work that I do as a writer and an artist. 

One of the best things to come from this pursuit is meeting and interacting with other authors and artists. 

It is a joy for me to be able to sit with other writers and discuss ideas, storylines, character development and the process of writing.  Early on in my media career, I was blessed enough to have met influential mentors who instilled a great respect for how to express ourselves, through the written word.

Q: Do you compare yourself to other writers? Whether in the way of creativity, the number of books sold/written, perceived talent, etc.?

No, I don’t compare myself to others in any aspect of my life.  Although I love to read the work of others. 

Canada has so many talented writers.  I am blessed by their generosity in how they express themselves, be it poetry, fiction, non fiction or historical writing.

Q: What is your advice to writers starting out?

Advice?  NEVER tell yourself that “I am not a real writer.”  I hear this often when facilitating workshops.  Of course you are a real writer, it’s why you are writing.  Here are some other thoughts:

Truman Capote – I don’t write, I rewriteMe – Sometimes the words we write may be the very medicine that someone else needs.

Stephen King – Fear is at the root of most bad writing.  Here is one thing you are NEVER allowed to say about yourself – “I’m not really a writer – but -”

I hear this too often, so beginning right this moment, believe that you ARE a writer.  It is the reason you may be reading this now.

People always ask – what is your process?  Everyone’s is different and unique to them.

There is no wrong way.  

Great writers like Stephen King insist that you “must” have a schedule and write at least 2000 words a day. That’s not practical if you have a full time job and a young family.  

So don’t feel pressured into doing something wrong if you don’t follow what works for someone else.

Q: What was the best advice you’ve ever received?


My friend Terri Boldt, who is more like a sister, always says “tits up and just keep going”. She is rude and wonderful and that is the type of advice she gives. 

It is so easy to give up.  And sadly, I have met people who say things like, “I always wanted to be a writer but it’s too hard.” 

There is a line from the movie A League of Their Own – a movie about the first Women’s baseball league. 

“It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.  The hard is what makes it great.” 

What we do, as writers, is give a piece of our soul to the reader, or at least we should strive for this. 

We tell stories that need to be told. 

We say things that need to be said, even if it is not popular or politically correct. 

I remember once, facilitating a youth writing workshop, where I gave the young writers permission to use vulgarity in their writing, if what they were wanting to say warranted that language.  Not for effect, but for a true use of how people talk in certain situations.


 Q: Is there anything you’d like to add in regards to writers or the professional industry?

 
I remember when Bearskin Diary was released, which is story about finding our way after being a part of the 1960’s scoop.  Another writer told me she was saddened because I had written an account of how difficult it was growing up disconnected from my culture and my Indigenous People. 

She commented that she’d always wanted to write her own story about the scoop, but now that I had a book on the market, she worried that no one would be interested in what she wrote, “It’s already been done.” she said. 

I had to remind her that every perspective is unique. 

Is there anything that you’d like to add to new Indigenous writers who are struggling to find their voice?

Canada – after all this time – has finally begun to learn real history through the writings of Indigenous authors. 

The stories of struggle and triumphant are being told, and it is a great source of pride for me to be able to sound my own voice and experiences. 

There is no shame in admitting that, we as Indigenous Peoples, have been messed up by the system.

Acknowledge that pain and then let it go. 

Do so through writing and expression in the Arts.  We are alive and need to pay homage to our Ancestors, who are watching.  

~~~~~~~

Essential Ingredients

This is the cover of Carol GoldenEagle’s book of poetry entitled Essential Ingredients, set for release in spring 2021. She painted the cover.   

This is an image honouring my own children, and a promise that they will
be raised with knowledge and respect for our Cree/Dene heritage. 

The Cree syllabics in the clouds are the names of each of my children. 

The manuscript itself is a compilation of memories about how much I have loved being their Mom.

~~~~~~~

The following is the first poem of Carol’s that I ever read. I’ll now be a lifetime reader. It made me weep (be warned). This is an homage to her adopted dad. Thank you for letting me share it.

QU’APPELLE?

Racist uncle knocks at the screen door

it is made of old wood that used to be part of a barn

torn down years ago after being damaged by wicked winds

seemingly ever present on the plains

Daddy answers

Hey what’s up?  Just put on a pot

come on in

the discussion with his older brother

amicable for a bit

gas prices are up

sure could use some rain already

did you know you can make soup from rhubarb?

But small talk comes to an abrupt end when racist uncle feels entitled

to foolishly venture towards the unspoken

the off-limits

the forbidden

Not still thinking about adopting that schwartze    I hope?

Don’t call her that

No, I’m serious     you are only asking for trouble.

I am warning you drop it

Be reasonable, I know she is like a pet to you   but really.

She is my daughter    you arse

She’s an Indian.

That doesn’t matter

What the hell?  There is no need for you to take her in like this.  For Christ sake    even her own mother got rid of her.

I am warning you.  Stop talking.  Apologize for that.  This is my daughter you are saying these things about

I’m not apologizing for anything.  Shit!  What’s wrong with you?  Defending a goddam little Indian    for Christ sakes?

Eavesdropping

this exchange lasts less than one minute 

but stays with me a lifetime

and in my young life

I never saw anyone so upset they were shaking

both of them     for differing reasons

Okay that is it.     If you cannot say anything nice then get the hell out of my house   and don’t come back until you can apologize!

With a slam of fists atop a round formica table

cold coffee splashing  to mark the spot

mark the day

racist uncle wears a look of shock

defeated 

and slowly turns to walk out the old wooden door

he never visits our house again

It is the first of many times I remember 

Daddy stepping in

deflecting a hit 

sheltering me from the harm and the hatred

I never got a chance to say 

thank you

for carrying me on your shoulders

for lifting me out of those battles

the raging war where I never enlisted

but found myself living

I also thank Creator for showing me

love is colour blind

so was Daddy

ever my hero 

never remaining silent

in times of need

I miss him

Rest in peace

winged warrior

I will tell good stories about you


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6 thoughts on “Writing Truths and The Breathtaking Poetry of Carol GoldenEagle Part 2”

    1. Hi Sally. Me too! Her poetry is amazing. I think Essential Ingredients (such a great title too) is now on preorder. Thanks for reading Sally.

      Like

    1. thanks Norma. I’m glad you enjoyed the interviews. Carol has so much story to share. She was to join us this September at WCWF but hopefully next year.

      Like

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