Wednesday, May 21, 2014

PJ Ryan's Bitey, Metaphorical, Ambiguous Little Writes

I'm honored to present my first interview with a very soulful writer by the name of 
PJ Ryan. 

I find interviewing a writer is slightly different than interviewing a visual artist, nevertheless the creative drive behind a writer's work carries the equal thread of creativity and dynamism as any other artist, thus all art mediums finding a common thread or meeting point; and it's this common link or meeting point in which I found myself forming the questions for PJ's interview. I've admired the work of PJ Ryan for some years now: there is a raw, in-the-gut force to her words that is undeniable and makes you look within even if you don't want to, forcing you to see realities you've turned a blind eye to. It is an admirable thing to do - to write of truths one is too afraid to read or to admit to oneself. And she does so gracefully, with both compassion and force. 



But not only does she write of these truths, she also graces the beauty of life and love creating a metaphorical bridge from the depths to the heights where these truths become palpable and relatable to the reader, thus making the reader feel worthy and special enough to believe in themselves as they pry deep within their dark corners.

Such a journey of introspection she takes us on while her voice remains ambiguous and indirect and yet you feel as if she is speaking directly to you, allowing you to fill in the spaces she leaves open in her written pieces for you to relate in your own way as she delivers powerful messages.


I leave you with these words of hers that reflect much of the inspiration she often writes of and which has become her signature way of reaching out to others:


Everyone matters.
We’re all human.
We will always walk by someone who is worse or better off than us.
This won’t stop us complaining or wishing for something different.
It probably won’t stop us from screaming at our kids too loudly on the bad days either.
But on certain days, when we are fortunate enough to be given a glimpse into the lives of others, we should thank them for allowing that.  We should tell them how beautiful they are.
We should let them know we love them.
So, to old friends and new, to parents and children and strangers on park benches (who will probably never read this), I send you love.
And I thank you for being you and for allowing me to share my own stories with you whilst you share yours with me, in whichever way you do.
I am so thankful that we’re able to inspire and support each other, on varying levels.
Sometimes, we crawl into our own selves and hide away from the world and all of its confrontational happenings, but when we’re strong enough, we always climb out and allow our wings to expand.  And then we soar.
Be the metamorphosis that you are, continue to change, learn, grow and amaze.
You are amazing.
Love. 

x







Tell us about your writing journey. What inspired you to write?
Being imaginative and creative has always been who I am. I’m very spiritual and an intensely deep thinker. I began writing at aged 13 after suffering trauma/difficult experiences in life and also after my father was killed in a road accident. Initially, I used my writing as a coping method to empty my head. I soon discovered the gift I had. I didn’t need to ‘work’ too hard at writing, I was able to transport readers very quickly and shape emotion into words. I chose PJ Ryan as my pen name because it’s an homage to the three men in my life who were all instrumental in causing me the most pain/and or showing me the most love. My fathers first initials were PJ. The father of my first born son also had the same two initials. Coincidentally, he also died in a road accident. And the surname is of the man I married (though am now separated from). I will always treasure their passing presence in my life and my pen name is testimony to that.



Are there any pieces of writing that are dear to you, or capture something for you which you felt formed or further aided your conviction as a writer?
I do have many pieces which are very special to me, though they all are within their own right. I could never choose one as the optimum piece.

Your writing is full of honesty. I’m interested in your personal quotes: “I believe the best writing derives from a place of no consequence.” “I write about life – yours, mine, theirs, his, hers, yesterdays and tomorrow.” 
Tell us about them.
Thank you. ‘I believe the best writing derives from a place of no consequence.’ – is a reflection of my intention to write directly from my heart and soul. If as creative types (whether you are a writer/photographer/musician or artist) we stop to consider how what we are producing/creating will affect someone, it stunts the creative process. If you become concerned with how someone will regard you or your craft, then you are not being true to your expression and gift. Dare to step to the edge of yourself. It’s confronting though deepest within yourself and right at the very edge are the two places where the best magic happens. I really believe that being brave is an important factor in creation. This introduces individualism and honesty, which are both key factors in standing out/above and also a key ingredient which allows people to connect to the medium of expression.
The second quote really speaks for itself. I write about life. I aim to write very ambiguously, though I also appreciate connecting with my readers in a way that resonates. I might mix 5 different people I know into one character. Or a piece might be all about me and my soul pouring out. I don’t like to explain what my pieces are about – if I have to do that for someone then they haven’t connected with that particular piece of writing and that’s more than ok. Another quote I wrote is ‘Perspective pertains to where you are standing’ – and this also relates to how other people perceive our creative craft. My pieces of writing may be perceived 5 different ways by five different readers. It’s relative to circumstance and levels.

What motivated you to write stories, not only about yourself, but of others too?
My motivation to write is a creative outlet. I am like a tap that needs to be turned on each day. 
If I don’t create, I rust. I write, mix tunes and engage in photography (I have a strong emphasis on shadow and movement. 
My most favourite photographs are the ones in which I capture ENERGY.














In regard to motivation as a writer – I am driven by emotion. 
I like the challenge of writing succinct pieces which say a lot. I respect the importance of transporting a reader quickly into a scene or emotion.

I know I’m able to do this. 



I also like to untangle the web of everything it means to be human (often the darker and more confronting attributes of being human) and spin it into something beautiful and reflective.

 I really am a believer that everything happens for a reason and every experience we endure is a gift – yes, even the most painful of happenings.





I love how you said that being brave is an important factor in creation. I agree. I think this is how creative expression and the arts could ever progress or “step out” of the known boundaries or styles of the day. It takes the rawness of the creative essence to push past convention and fear and really present something honest and beautiful. 

You definitely do that through your writing. I agree with what you said about everything happening for a reason… it would be harder to come to terms with a painful happening if it had occurred for no reason, I feel. 
I am the same in that I like figuring out the deeper purpose or reason of a happening. Things just don’t happen randomly, there is a purpose, a personal design to fulfill even, would you agree?

With regard to my belief that ‘everything happens for a reason’ (yes even the most horrific of events) I want to add that sometimes WE might not grasp exactly what the reason is. Perhaps it pertains to someone or something distant from us. Other people's lessons. I’m very interested in Quantum, time and space, energy. I think that as humans, we all are here
 evolving at different levels, based on past karma and evolutions. 


Anyway, I could ramble on about this type of thing for days. Back to creativity – my life has been intense and filled with some very dramatic experiences (both spiritually and relating to human behaviour) and I know that I would not have the depth I do, nor be the creative person I am today without every one of those experiences I've endured. They are my blessings, despite the way they masquerade in dark masks.

I like how you said you mix tunes! Is there one you’d like to share for us to listen to? :)




I have always been a passionate music lover. I started clubbing at aged 14 though attended my first disco in the 1970’s (I was underage). I was an avid watcher of SOLID GOLD in the 70’s and also SOUL TRAIN (as a six year old my ambition was to grow up and be ‘a solid gold dancer’ hahah). Both TV programs really became my first inspiration for funk, soul and groove. I was born with a natural rhythm. I named my new mixing adventure ‘RAW CARROTS’ because what I am doing is indeed raw. I have been teaching myself. There’s been some hit and misses. People respect raw though. It’s ambition. 
I never try to be anyone I’m not. I do what I love. 

Overall, my tunes have been accepted very well at soundcloud (where I like to hang out) it’s a brilliant community of musical peeps. I am astounded at the volume of AMAZINGLY talented musicians, DJ’s and performer/singers in this world. It truly blows my mind. I find it infectious and inspiring to be amongst them. Creativity is the best type of disease. It spreads quickly. I love people and I appreciate being inspired AND inspiring. I am a passionate music lover. I stopped watching TV almost a year ago. I feel so much better for it! I have always had a very good ear for music. I know what I do and don’t like. My musical taste is VERY broad. I don’t particularly respect genres, I feel like they are cages but it helps to divide and file in the big cabinet of tunes. I love to dance – it is my therapy. 
There are many tracks which are special to me in my ‘Raw Carrots’ playlist. But at the time of this interview I would like to share two with you which are perhaps my most favourite of what I've created so far.
don't stop don't go was (as the description explains) a mixture of two tracks plus i sampled a little freestyle rap my daughter did when she was 6 years old. She’s also extremely creative. She’d chosen to record herself on her ipod in the backyard, rapping with the birds and she sang she most gorgeous little tune. I didn’t know she had done it until she ran into the house and played it for me. I held onto that little nugget for a year or so and then i sampled a part of it and mixed it into this track. The edit also is dedicated to someone very special to me who has been a massive inspiration in my own growth, both personally and creatively.
 

The second track I’d like to share is if you go away and this is very special to me for personal reasons. I also am a fan of Shirley Bassey (she has a masculine intensity yet her vulnerability radiates through the original of this song) and i really dig the ‘rebeat’ remix of this so i couldn’t resist having a play with it. I am proud of what i did with the track. For me, the track also delivers the message that true love is a very powerful gift in life. It is nourishing like sunlight. True love (in whichever level it resonates in our lives) brightens the soul. I love LOVE. It renders us vulnerable because when we surrender to someone special, there is always the chance that they may be taken away from you (or leave on their own accord haha oh i know it’s not so funny but remember what is meant will be!) and often, the thought of not having them in your life feels too dark to consider. The line ‘If you go away, then you might as well take the sun away’ really is so beautifully poetic to me. I feel this way about my someone special.
There are lots of tracks amongst my raw carrots, they are eclectic, groovy, driven and thumping. I have also collaborated with musicians. My writing has been used as lyrics for a number of bands and musicians. This is a process I’m currently re-visiting. 
Enjoy munching on my 'raw carrots' and stay tuned because I hope the best is yet to come!

I’d like to go back to question #2 for a bit… would you be willing to choose 3 pieces which are special to you that you’d like for us to read?
I have been asked (twice hahaha) to choose just three pieces. I fear that I might hurt the feelings of one of my other pieces, though I will oblige for the purpose of this interview. I’m exceptionally humbled and honoured to have been asked to partake in this process and I greatly admire and adore Erika (thank you!!).
This piece was written five or six years ago and it flowed from me very easily. I think the piece speaks for itself. It was written for one person and that person still remains exceptionally important to me. I feel that people do indeed crawl into our centre and live within us. We are all a reflection of each other. I believe that SPIDER LEGS is a resonating piece and easily related to by everyone.
PASSAGE is an homage to those dear to me who have died.
I have always been very spiritually attuned, in fact my earliest memories include the ‘visions’ i was blessed with. I am not afraid of ‘ghosts’. We are all energy. When we die, that energy still exists though it changes shape. PASSAGE was inspired by my own experiences and by the exceptional photography which i have attached to the piece (in the description) by kitsmumma

I chose one of my latest writes to add because I think this piece reflects a changing style/voice in my craft. I am very child-like of soul and will eternally be. This piece reflects that quality. It is also another story of what it means to be human. To believe. To surrender. To trust.
They are all lessons I have been learning recently (we never stop learning). I would like to write children's books and of course novels and screen play, this piece is a sign post toward these directions for me. When I write, I visually see scenes in my head so I hope that my writing is able to transport those images to my readers.

Who are your favorite writers/poets, or pieces of literature, books?

As a writer, I’m not a HUGE reader. That almost feels like a sin. I’m contradictory like that. I have stages where I read more than not and the last 6 years or so have been more so about feeling and creating. I prefer to read people. I am a keen people watcher (sort of like a bird watcher though without the binoculars). I look at people and feel a gush of stories enter me. We’re very inspirational creatures. I do have a book which is very dear to me. It’s a collection of Poetry by Robert Burns. 

A dope dealer gave it to me when I was eighteen because she knew I would treasure it. The book is falling apart, it’s very ancient. There is a love inscription inside the front pages, handwritten from one love to another and it’s dated Christmas Day 1902. I imagine that book being in the hands of one love and then transferred to another. And now it’s in my hands. Those are the type of treasures of life which mean most to me. Time and space.

I do spend a lot of time online. I find the internet to be an endless resource of inspiration and collective drive. I learn many things. I read wonderful articles which help me to grow as a person. I am ALWAYS inspired by the people I know and don’t know. The networking capabilities online are endless. I’ve met and collaborated with people I may never meet face to face, I've been inspired by them and I know I've inspired others. We live in a fortunate time.

Do you have writing projects/collabs you’re working on, or books you’ve written?
I have self published three collective pieces. The first ‘Tales from the tumbleweed’ has been removed from the internet because I’m quite honestly embarrassed by how poor the formatting is. It was my first book and it’s not set out the best. Although, I guess it was my first real ‘Raw Carrot’. I endeavour to re-edit it and get it back into the ether of internet land. The other two books ‘The being of Human’ and ‘Morsel’ are both available for sale.























I have collaborated with many artists here at redbubble. The pieces are all scattered amonst my folio. One of my proudest creative moments is having a piece of writing on exhibition at Brunswick Street Gallery. It’s unusual for writing to be displayed in a gallery. I liked the challenge of finding a captivating way to present my writing. I chose a vintage wedding gown and distressed and abused it. Aglaiab then helped me to place my writing onto a piece of beautiful material and we attached it to the gown. I still have the gown packed away. It hung proudly in the entrance of the gallery for two weeks. The piece of writing was titled BAREFOOT 

barefoot


Tell us something about you we don’t know, maybe something you feel is quirky or unique about yourself :)

Oh. I don’t eat meat with bones still attached. I rarely eat much meat at all actually. 
I love clouds – I believe they are the art of our sky. 
I’ve had two near death experiences (yes white light, the whole works). I have four children and have never been in labour (I had 4 c-sections). 
Nobody ever guesses my age (I am very youthful in spirit). I am currently residing in my 29th house. 
I’ve never travelled overseas though the ache to do so is absolutely burning within me now. I’ve never had a ‘proper’ holiday. I can’t remember jokes and I’m really bad at telling them. I will however recall to you an invent in my life (if we were in that zone) that will make your skin goosebump and a shiver run along your spine. 
I’m exceptionally real despite having a wicked imagination. I am rather contradictory.
As a young girl, growing up, I had horses (my father was a cowboy and bred and trained thoroughbreds) though I chose to saddle up the fence or a forty-four gallon drum and ride that. I love to drive and consider myself a good driver. I prefer to drive a manual, I feel safer doing so. I am passionate about the sound of engines, speed and the aesthetic beauty of cars. 

Dancing, as I've mentioned previously is one of my greatest joys. Growing older saddens me in many ways because I love to be on a dance floor amongst beautiful people, driving base and all of the exquisite energy that is created by lovers of DEEP HOUSE music. Perhaps I will one day own a club so that I can still visit. I recently lost close to a million dollars in a failed business and I  am still alive and thriving. Lastly, and perhaps not so quirky yet completely sewn into the fibres of my being is a deepness so incredibly profound at times I shock even myself. I am unique. Aren’t we all?

Is there anything you’d like to say to further inspire or stimulate creativity in society?
Be YOU. Be brave. Step out on to the edge of yourself and then right into the very centre of your inner universe. The magic is at both of those locations.





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