Introducing Brenda-Lee Ranta
Brenda-Lee Ranta resides in a small mining town, in Timmins, Ontario, Canada. She has been employed with her local Police Service for 19 years. She shares her journey with her life partner, who is a musician, poet and lyricist; their rescue dog, Jake and rascal cat Fritz. She is the mother of three children, two step-children and three grandchildren. They are her greatest pride and joy.
Always moved by poetry and prose, she has been most inspired by the works of Leonard Cohen, an amazing Canadian word-smith. This is her first book containing a cross section of her works.
Interview – Book: Myriad of Perceptions
Creative Talents Unleashed: Hi Brenda-Lee Ranta, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Brenda-Lee: It is my honored to share with you.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Brenda-Lee: I was born in Timmins, Ontario, Canada; however I lost my father at the age of three, so when my mother later remarried, we had a family construction company, so I moved frequently with my family; where ever the projects were. I didn’t truly have a sense of my roots until I returned here, to my home town as an adult. I had studied Business Administration in College, which ultimately led to a 19 year career with my local police force. I am a mother of three children, two step children and three beautiful grandchildren. The nicest surprise in life was finding my soul mate at this late stage of my life. It is an amazing gift!
Creative Talents Unleashed: So when did you fall in love with poetry or writing in general, when did you decide this life was for you? Tell us a bit about that discovery process.
Brenda-Lee: As I said, I lost my Dad to cancer at the age of three and my mother re-married. I think I was a soulful child, a little broody and lonely for the most part. I began writing at the age of seven (according to Mom), however I always had notebooks that I wrote in throughout my life; writing on anything at hand. It was a means of expressing my emotions, loneliness, although later it became my art. There was a period in my life when I was a singer but I considered myself a writer/poet first. The big tip off for me, is that I was never interested in singing anything, unless I was crazy about the lyrics. I heard the lyrics first, then the music. It is still that way now. My favorite artists are amazing lyricists: Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, the Beatles later works and I adore Stevie Nicks.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Why do you write, what is it that you’re trying to communicate through your work?
Brenda-Lee: I have had a difficult life (no whah whah whah intended), having moved so much as a child and never forming lifelong friends as other people did, having some very bad relationships, some abuse in my past and raising a large family while working very hard to make it all gel. Throughout that time, there was never time enough for myself, so writing was the outlet. I am an extremely inward person and a studier of human nature, albeit a wee bit too sensitive for my own good, but it has been the imputus for many pieces I have written. I can see the details in other people’s experiences, as well as my own. I want readers to relate to one of my poems/prose and say, “I get it, I feel that too.”
Creative Talents Unleashed: Where does your inspiration come from, what might inspire you at any moment to write a story or poem?
Brenda-Lee: For the most part, when I see someone going through something, the words are already forming in my head, their facial expressions, their attempts to hide it, their elation about something and of course my own personal experiences and perceptions regarding them. I do have an inexplicable thing that does happen frequently enough. I will awaken through the night and words, sometimes in Old English, or related to time periods I consciously know little about, will be in my head and I am compelled to get up and write it down. My Shakespearean gifts, as I refer to them. However, this is not my own style of writing, so these experiences are still an enigma to me.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What was the hardest thing about writing your book?
Brenda-Lee: Having written for so long and having so many poems in files, the difficult part was selecting pieces I hoped people could relate to. I wanted to appeal to a cross section of interest.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What was the easiest thing about writing your book?
Brenda-Lee: That is good question. The excitement of sharing my works created a desire to please the readers by giving them a little bit of everything. However editing, removing pieces that didn’t work, was the challenge. The easiest part is doing what I do, which is write poetry and prose.
Creative Talents Unleashed: There are many authors who say that in the process of writing a book you learn things about yourself. Did you learn anything in your book writing process about yourself, if so what?
Brenda-Lee: Yes, Yes, Yes. There is a huge educational value in compiling a book, the technical end of things taught me so much and my publisher would draw attention to things I had never thought about before. As for learning about myself, I think having the courage to lay myself bare before the world with my personal experiences, was quite freeing because I have an anxiety disorder. It made me infinitely braver about sharing who I really am.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What in your view is the role or responsibility of a writer or poet, if there is any?
Brenda-Lee: I was overcome with a desire for my words to mean ‘something’ to someone. My writing style can be a little ‘in your face’ at times, but I don’t really want my work to be ambiguous to the reader. I endeavour to tell a story in my writing, to make the reader take pause and perhaps feel the emotion of what I am trying to convey. The more ethereal pieces would appeal to readers that love the lilt and flow of a poetic write.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What are your ambitions as a writer, where do you hope to see yourself in say 5 years?
Brenda-Lee: My ambition is to begin writing conceptual works with a theme, deeper meaning to the book. I want to share a message that everyone can relate to. My bucket list is to be retired in a few years and dedicate my days to writing full time. I have already written my first autobiographical book, 57,000 words, which was my personal challenge. I would like to continue to edit and edit some more, until it is all I longed for it to be. That would be my long term plan. I look forward to creating more poetry books in the meantime.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Who is your favorite writer or poet? Perhaps you have a favorite quote from them that you would like to share.
Brenda-Lee: I love the classics, John Steinbeck, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Robert Browning and Charles Dickens. As I eluded to earlier, I have always thought Leonard Cohen to be a poetic genius. My favorite quote is: ‘there is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in’ Leonard Cohen. I was saddened by his recent passing, there will be no more new words given by his hand.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What advice would you give to aspiring writers who have dreams of publishing or making writing a career choice?
Brenda-Lee: I think essentially, everyone has the capacity to write. I think we all have a story waiting inside of us. The best pieces are honest pieces, however you have to be committed to your craft or it will remain stagnant and predictable. Read other poets works to get yourself out of a continual loop. Be willing to take chances, put yourself out there and when you feel ready, make submissions to writing competitions, however you should only compete with yourself by improving and opening up you inner self with every new project. Writing is a craft that has to be honed. Words are a miracle, they can alter the vision of even the most mundane of things.
Excerpt from the book: Myriad of Perceptions
She stands before the bathroom mirror,
pushes up her sleeves to see the fingerprints still there
he has left grape coloured marks as though coloured with crayons
She looks at her image;
she really is ugly, he told her she was
she can see it now, the face that has broadened with time
He told her she was stupid; she has to believe it
Lately she can barely keep a single thought in her head
her mind swims, panic sets in, confusion
She forgot how to dream
dreams are for fools; he laughed at every idea she had
she really does see that she is so frivolous
She is the bad mother
She couldn’t make her children feel better
they look at her as though she is a fool and she knows it to be so
She marks her years as a well-deserved punishment
you chose this, some may say
but she doesn’t remember choosing it, but wonders “did I?”
She has forgotten that once, she was young and ardent
that she said things worth hearing
but that was someone else; she can’t even recall her name.
She switches off the bathroom light
she sinks to the floor
and only the darkness can hear her
© Brenda-Lee Ranta
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