Write to Heal – Interview by Drem

Writing To Heal Featuring:
Jodine Derena Butler

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Art of Drem

POSTED ON DECEMBER 21, 2015 BY DREM

Jodine is a fantastic poet and writer from New Zealand. We connected on WordPress early on in my endeavors. We find inspiration in each other’s work. We give each other strength. We both…

Write To Heal

Here’s a Q & A I did with Jodine recently that highlights her life’s journey and her Writing To Heal process.

Jodine, to start, where are you from? What’s your life like?                                           
                                                                                                       
     I was born in New Zealand and moved to Cairns, Queensland, Australia in 2011 where I currently reside. I have two dogs, two cats, two adult daughters, three grandsons (and counting), four stepchildren and one awesome husband!
I have been a counsellor, social worker, supervisor, group facilitator, sex worker and more recently a cosmetic tattoo artist at Cosmech Ink, our tattoo business, but I’m too blind, my anxiety goes through the roof and I start to shake. Not good with a tattoo machine in my hand! At the moment I am a stay at home wife and stepmother to two beautiful girls.
                                                                                                       
And of course, you’re a writer. When did you start writing?
                                                                                                       
     I was introduced to poetry at primary school, like everyone was as part of the curriculum, learning Haiku and Rhyme. I knew I loved writing then. I won a story competition in high school for English at age 13, at Te Awamutu College, in the King Country of New Zealand. I always got top marks for English. I did three undergraduate papers in creative writing, thinking I would apply for the Master of Creative Writing degree at Auckland University. I passed well but I had a meltdown. I wasn’t ready then.
                                                                                                       
Well, I can see you’re ready to keep writing now! When do you write and how? Is there a specific time of day you set aside to work?
                                                                                                       
     I write whenever I feel words and thoughts are ‘coming to me’. Usually if I am processing a problem or feeling. Age has changed how I write as I have more experience to draw from. In my 20’s, I tended to write more during the day and always in rhyme. The content was more about relationships, trying to understand them and myself in them. My 30’s was more during the night, all night often, and I would experiment with different styles and ways ie: randomly point to a list of words from the dictionary and then work with my unconscious to see what came about. In my 40’s, I did some creative writing classes and learned other tecniques, the names of different styles ie: stream of consciousness, appropriation, list poems etc and began to read more about other poets work ie: Sylvia Plath, Alan Curnow, Wystan Curnow, Sam Hunt, Murray Haddow and Miriam Barr. I wrote less, but better executed.

     I used to physically write on paper, then into journals, then on computer and now I write ‘live’ to my blogs via my Android and edit often. I need to print my work out as I have no physical copy but I am always editing.
                                                                                                        
You have so many different venues to put your work out. You must be writing more often now.
                                                                                                       
     Whenever I feel the words coming. It depends. If I am going through a traumatic time, I write more. As I learn to see and appreciate happiness, I try to write about that rather than problems, but it’s much harder for me however I’m improving all the time.
                                                                                                     In a traumatic time, it’s hard to see the light. Why do you continue? What keeps you going and gives you the strength?
                                                                                                       
     I write to heal and it’s good for me and others… To make sense of my childhood, depression (I may have Persistent Depressive Disorder) and trauma (I may also have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I sought the aid of therapy for years to address these issues which reared its ugly head in my earlier relationships. I needed to find a way of articulating my thoughts, feelings and actions in order to heal. I started Head Lines NZ, to encourage others to do the same by promoting mental health awareness in New Zealand.

     …Life, love, pain, death. I like to include mythology a lot. Maori, Greek, Irish, Welsh and others. I have written one poem for an American friend Chip Allan of The Pine Ridge Philosopher , where I researched the meaning of a phrase I wanted to include in Comanche in my poem ‘Mother Nature’s Siren Song’ for Poetry Out West. He emailed me a little about where he lived in West Virginia which inspired me.
                                                                                                       
What dreams do you have for your writing now?
                                                                                                       
     I am reconsidering doing a Masters in Creative Writing at James Cook University.  I want to publish a book of poetry, a memoir in poetry of sorts. I also want to publish an Anthology of my New Zealand national poetry E-zine Head Lines NZ. It is open to Kiwis all over the world and I have a wonderful eclectic range of contributors who I would love to see in print.

Her poetry is published on Poetry Out West.

Her Promoting Mental Health Project in New Zealand is at Headlines NZ.

Her fiction is found on Far North Fiction

Her tattoo business and husband’s tattoo art is seen at Cosmech Ink

• Photo creditor is Jason Majewski as seen on Cosmech Ink

I’m Glad You Are Still Here

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Thoughts of suicidal ideation can creep in to our minds at any time, unexpectedly or repeatedly.  For those of us who have listened and let those thoughts amplify, know that “this too shall pass”, and seek help personally and professionally before it’s too late.

My rule of thumb is to seek help before these thoughts start to lead you astray. It’s never a wise decision to make any decision in business, love or life when we are feeling emotional, distressed, angry or hopeless.

Here is my list of things to think about, to distract you long enough to figure out how you can move forward and heal whatever is hurting you and seek help. Don’t let suicidal ideation become another suicide statistic.

●Talk to a friend,
●ring an anonymous help line,
●talk to your preferred doctor
●join a community group,
●go to church,
●write a poem,
●write a story,
●write a blog,
●write affirmations to yourself
●see a therapist,
●draw a picture,
●paint,
●go for a walk,
●make a garden,
●join a community garden,
●cry,
●sob,
●move your furniture around,
●bake a cake,
●play the drums or guitar,
●write a song,
●listen to music
●ring a friend you haven’t spoken to for ages
●visit a friend or relative

The list is endless really. Feel free to add what helps you move through difficult times in the comments below and I will add them here.

The important thing to remember is that you are not alone, even when your thoughts are trying to convince you otherwise. You are loved, liked, wanted and needed.

I’m glad you are still here. I’m sad for those we know and love who are not here with us today. I’m sad for their friends, families and professionals who will remember them always, still loving them.

I prefer to ‘write to heal’ as do many of my friends who struggle with mental health at times. You don’t have to be a ‘writer’ or an ‘artist’, the important thing is to express what it is you are feeling and heal, bit by bit, piece by piece and live.

Love,

Jodine Derena Butler
Editor
Head Lines NZ

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved