Tea and Madness
By- C. Streetlights
Genre- Women’s Fiction/Poetry/Memoir
Publication Date- June 29th, 2015
Published By- Booktrope Publishing
“And when it falls into silence again the void it echoes fills me with wonder. Wonder only because I no longer remember if this small entity isn’t real or if it whispers the truth.”
C. Streetlight’s memoir, Tea & Madness, is a collection of prose and poetry separated into the seasons of her life. Each season is inspired by her experiences: grieving a lost baby, understanding depression, anger, betrayal, surviving rape and the acceptance that she cannot forgive. Balanced somehow within the darkness is the wonder in motherhood and empathetic relationships. As her seasons change, she continues trying to find the balance of existing between normalcy and madness.
About the Author-
She has met many fools, but admires Don Quixote most because he taught her that it didn’t matter that the dragon turned out to be a windmill. What mattered was that he chose to fight the dragon in the first place.
Streetlights now lives in the mountains with a husband, two miracle children, and a dog who eats Kleenex. She retired from teaching so she can raise her children to pick up their underwear from the bathroom floor, to write, and to slay windmills and dragons. She is happy to report that she can finally see the stars.
You can follow C. Streetlights on Twitter @cstreetlights, and on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest at C. Streetlights
Topic- Tell us about your writing process
I feel remorseful for all the years I made students go through what is considered “the traditional writing process”. Even at the time I knew I was fraudulently presenting a process that I, myself, didn’t even follow yet I taught it anyway. How do math teachers live with themselves knowing that they tell students they will use a concept all the time when they know they never will?
The guilt, my friends, it is a heavy burden.
While some writers need the outlining and drafting process, I have found that they weigh me down. Outlining and drafting only cause me great insecurity. I begin to feel as if maybe the first draft was better, or maybe I should have kept the fifth. Overthinking rarely produces something that sounds like it was thought over.
My words need to time to be hoydens, running barefooted across the page. As William Zinnser says in On Writing Well, “Writing is an intimate transaction between two people…” and just as any intimacy thrives on trust, so do my words thrive with me. I allow them to breathe first in my head and then to live on paper or screen.
What does this look like in practice? There is a lot of mulling involved. A lot of thinking. A lot of middle-of-the-night inspiration. I have many, many drafts with only first lines and blinking cursors because the thoughts are still playing around or I know the time just isn’t right yet. This tends to happen more with my narrative, poetry, and fiction pieces.
Other times it won’t be like this at all. These will be the times when I write a social response piece due to current events because something has happened that has resonated so deeply with me. I feel the tiny platform I have as a writer also has a larger social responsibility. I am a writer who also happens to be a woman, a wife, a mother but I also happen to have mental illness am a rape and sexual assault survivor and I have a responsibility to use my voice.
Editing and proofing is a weakness. I am a believer in asking others to edit my work as I don’t do it myself. I get caught up in the wordsmithing and forget to proofread. I constantly omit words as I type -- the thoughts will fly faster than punctuation. Or I am too liberal with commas, ejaculating them all over the place like a boy in puberty.
My similes and metaphors are generally inappropriate.
Always have someone edit and proofread. This is definitely not a weakness. It keeps me out of jail most of the time.
It has taken me so many years to recognize and honor my writing process as legitimate. I am no longer the 6th grade English student who was horrified when her own English teacher marked her essay down because her paragraphs were not indented a full and proper inch. “I guess the essay was good enough, C~” he said, taking out his ruler. “You followed the essay pattern. But as you can see,” he said, drawing a line at the one inch mark, “your paragraphs are not indented right so you failed.” I didn’t learn anything about writing in 6th grade but I did learn that my teacher was an asshole.
I have since learned that how I write is a mystery to another writer and how other people write could never work for me. And that’s okay. This is how we are able to have such a terrifically diverse and eclectic canon. While I do feel a certain measure of guilt for teaching “a traditional writing process” to my youngsters so many years ago, I also know that it was a good place to start for many of them. We had fun creating spider webs and word gathers in sidewalk chalk or crayon.
Most importantly I love to write. The words can make it hard but the love makes it worth it.