Welcome to a new feature on wordcraftpoetry.com, which highlights the poets in our writing community. Get to know the people behind the poetry and the books. It’s a great way to share our love for writing poetry with others.
Today’s guest is Marjorie Mallon. She’s a frequent participant in our Tanka Tuesday challenges. I’ve known Marje since we both started blogging back in 2014! Time flies when you’re having fun!
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!
On the 17th of November I was born, in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit.) My early childhood was spent in Hong Kong. During my teen years, my parents returned to my father’s birthplace, Edinburgh, where I spent many happy years. As a teenager, I travelled to many far-flung destinations. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six-foot hunk of a Rock God husband. My two enchanted daughters have almost flown the nest, but often return with a cheery smile to greet me.
During the day, I work in an international sixth form with students from around the world. I’m the meet and greet lady who welcomes them to their new college and issues them with late slips when they don’t get to their lessons on time!
I write YA fantasy, paranormal, horror/supernatural short stories, flash fiction and short form poetry. More recently, I have produced and compiled an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown. Following on from this, in February 2021 I will be releasing Lockdown Innit, poems about absurdity which will be available in kindle and shortly after release in paperback.
I’ve been blogging for many moons at my blog home Kyrosmagica, which means Crystal Magic. From time to time I write articles celebrating the spiritual realm, inspiration and my love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.
My eclectic blog shares my three loves: reading, writing, and creativity. I adore reading and have written over 150 reviews on my blog: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/
Marje has a new book out called Lockdown Innit. I had to ask her what the word “Innit” meant. Basically, its British slang for “Isn’t it?” That should give you a clue as to the humor in this poetry collection. Here’s a bit about the book:
Lockdown Innit is a poetry collection of eighteen poems about life’s absurdities and frustrations during lockdown. Wherever you live in this world, this is for you. Expect humour, a dollop of banter and ridiculous rants here and there. Amongst other delights, witness the strange antics of a swan posing by a bin and two statuesque horses appearing like arc deco pieces in a field. Check out the violin player on a tightrope, or the cheeky unmentionables wafting in the lockdown breeze!
Preorder Buying Links Lockdown Innit Releases TODAY: February 26th
Kindle Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08VW81Q53/
Kindle Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VW81Q53/
Universal link for kindle: https://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit
Marje, what got you started writing poetry?
I started writing poetry and diaries at a young age. Then, other distractions came along: boys, followed by marriage, work, and children. I know that sounds somewhat cliched, but it took me a long time to rediscover my interest and love of poetry. If I hadn’t started blogging, I might never have. My re-introduction to poetry began with Ronovan Writes poetry prompts, I wrote short form three line haiku to begin with. Thereafter, I joined your weekly Tanka Tuesday, Colleen. I’ve never looked back. Colleen has an outstanding poetry blog full of advice on all types of poetry.Through Colleen’s guidance pages, I’ve had fun trying many different forms.
What is your favorite poetry form?
Ah, Colleen, that is a difficult question! I still love the Tanka form, preferring it to Haiku as it gives me two more lines to say what I’d like to!
I also love poems that form a shape on the page, such as the Etheree and the Cinquain. In my new poetry collection Lockdown Innit there is a wide variety to choose from, including free verse poetry, a Tanka, and an Etheree.
I tried a couple of new forms— the daisy chain form which was fun and the decastich—Egg timer Poem, which I discovered via this link on your blog, Colleen:
The Poet’s Collective features an index of Syllabic Poetry Forms. Check it out!
Here’s the detail of the poems I tried:
Egg Timer – A decastich (10 line poem)
Formulaic: The last five lines are the mirror image of the first five lines.
Centered or not, at the poet’s discretion.
Daisy Chain The last word in the line becomes the first word of the next line. To end the poem, the last word is the same as the first word.
The Butterfly Cinquain: An unrhymed 9 line poem.
syllabic, 2-4-6-8-2-8-6-4-2 syllables per line.
Here is an example of the Butterfly Cinquain form from Lockdown Innit:
Horses Grazing on grass Unaware they are watched Still, like symmetrical statues Nose down Three leafy shrubs oddly aligned How bizarre this scene is My eyes observe Lockdown © M J Mallon
The image of the horses captured my attention so much that I used it as a focal point for my book cover image. The collection focuses on the strange things I have observed, felt, or experienced during lockdown.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep on writing!
I regret I didn’t return to writing for such a long time. When I became a mum, I devoted all my energies to my children and lost myself a little. I do, and I don’t regret that. I have two lovely girls who mean the world to me. It’s only now that my much-loved daughters are young adults that I’m finding more time, energy and enthusiasm to write.
Also, when I was younger, I lacked the confidence that I have now. I’ve grown so much as a person through blogging and writing. It literally has changed my life, and has introduced me to so many people, such a wonderfully supportive community. I’m blessed and obsessed!
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
That’s an interesting question. I wrote my first book, a YA Fantasy, The Curse of Time #1 Bloodstone in a whirlwind of imaginative ideas. I woke up each morning with an action reel whizzing in my mind. This still happens to me, I often awaken with an incredible burst of energy, and rush to jot down a storyline. I still get a huge buzz when this happens. In fact, it happened to me this morning!
Writing your first novel changes your writing process. I was lucky to have so much help, support and encouragement with my debut novel. I owe particular thanks to Colleen for her meticulous beta reading, which became a full-scale kindness of her heart editing, and prior to that to Graham Cumming for reading through the first draft and commenting on many suggested improvements. It is crucial to have a fresh pair of eyes, beta readers, and a trusted editor to read your work. All of which I have, I am so grateful to my beta readers and to the blogging community for all they do for me.
All writers have weaknesses, or excesses! I excel at imaginative ideas but have to work harder at dialogue and plotting. To a degree, I still resist plotting. I prefer the ideas to flow organically, but the key is to get the balance right. Balance is as important in all aspects of life as it is in the art of writing. So now, I play to my strengths, making sure that I have all the unique elements on a page, in the correct quantities! Dialogue, engaging characters, scenes, peaks and troughs, all working together to ensure that the crazy plot stands up to scrutiny. I continue to work at my craft, loving each step along the way. I am pretty stubborn! I never give up, even if the task seems almost insurmountable.
And believe me, the second in my YA series The Curse of Time #2 Golden Healer, is an immense challenge, one that I will work on completing later this year.
Lockdown Innit is my first book dedicated to poetry and nothing else.
My previous books, The Curse of Time, Mr. Sagittarius, and the anthology/compilation This Is Lockdown all include poetry.
This alone is indicative of how much I love poetry that it surreptitiously creeps in everywhere!
Thanks so much for stopping by Marje. I’ll make sure and add this book to the Tanka Tuesday Poetry Book Store where I share the Amazon Author links to the books published by the regular participants of the Tanka Tuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge. Many of these books include poetry, short stories, and essays. If you’re looking for a gift, this is the perfect place to begin your shopping journey. Books make thoughtful gifts.