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

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Lilith & the Incubus

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Photographer: Ange Harper
Photo used with permission

Here we go again
for those of you sick
of this shit – Karma

Happiness, eludes me
over-analyzing everything
searching for that choice to make

Looking to purpose choose life
simplicity a complex solution
blind, numb, lost & forgotten

My brain hard-wired my eyes shut
Persistent Depressive Disorder
convincingly sees only what was

Nothing gets any better
I’ve never known anything different
happiness is Far Far Away, folklore

Farther apart I age, no wiser
life flashes before my eyes, wasted
it’s a miracle I have survived thus far

I may as well be dead
it’s like I’m dead
I feel dead

Burdons not just my own; contagion
leaching into every soul I touch,
Incubus fornicate in my sleeplessness

Pervasive nightmares & thoughts
leave little light – my aura
hedonism postulating pleasure

Shit shows on at 4am

Doom & disaster, spiritituality
leper colonies shun; shamed
beyond toxicity

I am cursed
so is everyone in it
locked up for my own safety

Unlike Lilith

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
I wrote this recently because I feel like crap. Another bout of reactive depression has made its presence felt. I am doing everything I can to work it through. It’s hard but achievable, as I have proven to myself over and over. The last time, ten years ago. So, I am writing to heal again. This too shall pass. Jx

PDD

More Dysthymia.

they
are going
to start
calling
it

Persistent Depressive Disorder.

Copyright © 2010 Jodine Derena Butler

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
Jodine Derena Butler grew up on various farms all over the North Island of New Zealand.  She now lives in Cairns, Queensland, Australia with her husband.  She has two adult daughters and three grandsons.  Her poems have been published in Side Stream, Blackmail Press, Live Lines Anthology, Tracks Magazine and others. She has a background in social work and mental health and loves to dabble in the Arts.

Dysthymia

D         don’t mind the melancholic meanderings
of my psyche,  festooned with fervent ranting’s;
water-coloured lines distilled over time.
Y         you see what you want to see.  I
have no control of yours.  my only comfort is
the willingness to breathe life into otherwise
contrived lives.
S          see (ing) through opaque, leaded glass
cathedrals of coloured splendor, give
rise to the muse in me.  the sun in words
rises in the east with the future
and time.
T          the yew – an ancient tree.  synonymous
with dead wood and revered branches
of old. wisdom once gained, long lost
on mass hysteria.  I digress.
H         hunger pains
perverted by the cruelness of lust
rage and longing;  layering
serves to cushion psychic blows.
Y         yearning only serves to belittle
normality; a figment of the imagination.
feeling isolated from the masses is probably
a blessing in disguise.
M         madness,  invites
a semblance of restored faith to jaded
emotional jigsaw puzzles.  sequestered
identities, like my idiosyncrasies.  mundane
existence is tangible evidence that
conflict earns respect and honour
akin to martyrdom.  subjugation.
I           intelligence? Is nothing more than that of
the Descartes and Hippocrates of yester-world,  doomed.
archangel’s like Michael are
condemned by their own father;  there are no
mother’s in sight.
A         a deliberate oversight in my book.
It doesn’t matter at the end of the day;
mental illness is like God,  everywhere,
but it’s only called dysthymia on a bad day.

Copyright  © 2009, Jodine Derena Butler.

Poem inspired by Like Minds Like Mine, ReTHiNK the Meaning of Madness, and the Respond-Response Community Art Project, ‘What’s On You’re Plate’.

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:
Jodine Derena Butler grew up on various farms all over the North Island of New Zealand.  She now lives in Cairns, Queensland, Australia with her husband.  She has two adult daughters and three grandsons.  Her poems have been published in Side Stream, Blackmail Press, Live Lines Anthology, Tracks Magazine and others. She has a background in social work and mental health and loves to dabble in the Arts.