My Featured Blogger this Month is author D.L. Finn.
D.L. Finn is a native of the Bay Area who now lives in Nevada.
Her work includes children’s books, poetry, fantasy for young
adults and adult paranormal romance.
Her latest work is a book of poems, ‘Just Her Poetry, Seasons of a
What was it like to grow up in the Bay Area 70’s and 80’s?
It was an awesome time and place to grow up. I was born and raised in Castro Valley, which then still had some open land with horses and farms. I was within walking distance to town and the bus. So, I could go anywhere my feet, or the bus took me. It was great to live by The City, San Francisco, and visit Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Union Square, Golden Gate Park, etc. I also was a big fan of the ocean, redwoods, and Berkeley. As a teenager, I appreciated the music and local bands that included attending many Day on the Greens. Sports were always a big part of my life, too. My grandparents took me to baseball or hockey games in Oakland; football was deemed too rowdy for me. I was never bored. Now it’s a place I visit but it will always be close to my heart.
When did you start writing?
I always enjoyed writing in English classes, but when I took a writing class in high school, I was able to explore writing more. The teacher of this writing class accused me of copying a writing assignment out of a magazine that I had spent a great deal of time working on. It was a questionnaire for teens on dating. In a very strange way, it was a compliment, but I could never convince the teacher that I had written it. She had both of my parents as a teacher, so I suppose I was pre-judged. I was a very rebellious teenager and being told I couldn’t do something, only managed to encourage me. I didn’t write much out of high school, but in my mid-twenties got back into writing again. Then, I just kept building on it and learning.
How does a poem come to you?
I usually decide I’m going to write a poem. I grab a notebook and write what comes to me. I relax and pour out what I see or what I’m feeling. It’s different than writing a story where the ideas come to me first, and then I write. Here I write and the ideas come through. At first, it may be a few odd lines, but then it begins to flow as I go on. I love sitting out front and feeling the landscape through words.
You write that you use poetry to vent your frustrations. How do you decide to share a poem?
My poetry book was twice the size when I began. I took out the ones where I mainly got off my chest how someone made me feel angry. One poem might have been all swear words…lol. The ones I removed were what I decided had no point or value. I also had several on my feelings about the current divide in our country. I felt adding those would only add to the divide that currently is frustrating me. What I wanted to do was mostly nature, but found I had other things to say. There were some I went back and forth with and decided to share how I felt dealing with illness or weather-related issues with the fires and the shootings, or death. I guess I took my darker poems out and left the ones I felt offered some hope in the darkest of situations. I did talk about abuse, which was in my books, but I always want to leave it open for hope. I’m very conscious of the words I put out.
How did you come to write the motorcycle poems?
I got the idea to write poetry in as many different places as I could when I decided to do a poetry book. I’ve always felt free sitting there with no walls around me, and that made it the perfect place to do it. The first time I took a pen and a couple of sheets of paper and gave it a try–it worked. Later, I was given a wonderful gift of a small journal by an amazing fellow writer, and that made it much easier.
When you say embrace your inner child, what do you mean?
When I think of that inner child, I think of that innocence we all come into the world before we learn what hate and judgments are. It’s that pure way of looking at the world through your soul. It’s a hard place to hang on to in this world with instant information and so much discord, but worth it when we can.
What sparked your interest in the paranormal?
I’ve always loved a good ghost story. I would watch “Creature Features” with my grandmother when I visited her. Night Gallery caught my interest as a young girl, too. I do believe there are things we don’t understand around us. I’ve seen things I can’t explain over the years. Some of that gets channeled into my writing and poetry.
While going through your books I was drawn to No Fairy Tale: The reality of a girl who wasn’t a princess and her poetry. I love the title, what inspired the book?
My main intent in writing that book was to talk about my experience at 14-years-old when I was in a coma. I had tried to kill myself, bad home life, and ended up floating over my body and being told “You’re not done yet. You have to go back.” I’ve always felt pushed to get that message out. I struggled writing that book and decided to present myself as a princess. Later, I went to my voice and finally added in poetry to finish showing who I was.
How much if your personal history goes into your writing?
There’s a lot of me in “The Button.” I’ve used what I’ve seen or experienced with others in my writing. “This Second Chance” was based on a good friend and what I watched her go through. I’m always looking for a happy ending, so my books do the same thing. My love of sports came through in my children’s books, along with looking for that magic that I experienced in the coma. I throw little things in each story for my family and friends to
What advice do you have for new writers and bloggers?
If this is your calling, then learn the craft, believe in yourself and above all never give up.
You released a new book of poems in late April, will you tell us a little about it?
After writing “No Fairy Tale” that’s a half memoir and half poetry book, I got some good feedback on my poems. So, I began thinking about doing just a poetry book. That’s where I came up with the title. I have always been drawn to nature, and that came out in my poetry. I was going to do a book of that, but other things came up in the two years when I was writing it. These poems became a part of the book and why I added in part two.
Will you share a poem?
THE JOURNEY is a favorite of mine. I was on my elliptical watching a storm rage when I spotted a small bird. The bird’s struggle got me to thinking about my journey.
The tiny brown and white bird clung to the cedar’s bark
The corn snow fell heavy and hard around it.
Then, the bird slowly began its journey by climbing upward.
A few feet up the tree, it was knocked back down to the ground
It paused for only a few seconds and tried again.
Deliberately, it made its way back to where it fell
The tiny bird carefully passed that point without stopping
It moved higher, toward the promised shelter from the pounding chaos.
Wings open, it faltered a few times, but hung on…
It kept rising until it reached the first bare branch.
Tucked underneath, the little bird found limited shelter
But it wisely did not linger there as it continued the climb…
Finally, the brave bird is immersed into the green branches
Now it is safely nestled in the cedar, as the storm rages around it.
Gone from my sight now I contemplate its journey.
When the bird was knocked down it got up and tried again
It passed the point where it had been impeded
There was no hesitation as it kept advancing.
Not looking back, it climbed higher and higher.
It didn’t accept the first offer of partial protection,
Instead it kept climbing until it reached its goal…
Until it found sanctuary from the pelting ice and winds.
And, having watched this journey—I was just a bit wiser for it
Because I knew whatever life threw at me, I needed to pick myself up
And keep climbing, no matter what the odds, until I reached the top
Exactly like the wise and brave bird did on its journey in the storm.
This is one of the first poems I ever wrote:
THE BEARDED OLD MAN (No Fairy Tale)
The bearded old man
Walks across the quiet desert,
His hooded white robe
Protecting and sheltering him
From the burning sky.
His feet are silent against the sand.
He walks day and night,
Going to a place that he knows exists.
He beckons strangers to join him
As he keeps walking toward…
That place he calls home.
Thank you, Denise.
D.L. Finn Links:
Rob Goldstein 2019
All images, videos and poetry in this post are the property of D.L. Finn.