A bit of rain this morning, and now we are face to face with a hint of Spring. Ah, just breathe in the promise of new growth as mild sunshine flickers across your face.
And what a treat to open my door this afternoon to author Anne Copeland.
Me: Oh welcome, Anne, I’ve been eager to meet you! You picked the perfect day for a visit, you know.
Anne: Well, thank you kindly for the invite, Joan.
Me: How about a cup of tea, or maybe coffee?
Anne: I love coffee, and I love tea too. Coffee in the morning and sometimes at night if I am working on a project, and Tea in the afternoon, especially with crumpets.
Me: Haha, well, no crumpets today, darn it. But I’ll give you a couple of fresh-baked cookies with your lemon ginger tea.
Mmmmm, now that we’re comfy, I’d like to ask you a few questions to get to know you as a person, not just as an author. If you could be any other living thing, what would you be?
Anne: I would be a bird that could soar for long periods of time like the Pelicans. I admire them because they seem so graceful and so ordered when they fly, and they seem to just glide across the sky.
Me: Lovely. What do you like to do on a rainy day?
Anne: I am a big fan of being warm as I have something called Reynauld’s Syndrome, that makes my hands and feet turn different colors and nearly cause me to itch them right off when they get cold. So I like to stay inside and listen to soft jazz music or relaxation music and sometimes I will get in bed and take a nap before working on my creative projects. I am an artist in fiber arts and mixed media too, so I always like working on something when it is cold.
Me: What’s your favorite part of going grocery shopping?
Anne: Our grocery shopping is an adventure. I love all the colors in the store, and I like to watch the other people too as they shop. We often go to three or four stores to get all the things we want and need. We plan this out ahead so it definitely feels like an adventure. It is a happy time for me and my significant other, Richard. He loves to cook, and is a great cook most of the time, so it is very fun for us and generally takes up most of the day as we look and discuss and plan. I think this says a lot about my love of art. I see it in everything, and so seeing all the colors and shapes and smelling the different smells definitely relates to my artistic and sensual nature. I love to use all my senses.
Me: Would you rather vacation at the beach or in the mountains?
Anne: I love the mountains the most, though I enjoy being near the ocean for a short time. But I could stay in the mountains a longer time, especially if I had a nice warm fire near the tent or I was in a warm cabin. I love being out in nature, and the woods is my favorite of all.
Me: Do you have a favorite punctuation mark?
Anne: Without question, the exclamation point. When I post online, I often end each sentence with one or three of them. I am very passionate about life and I show it often!
Me: What role have children played in your life?
Anne: When I lost a very high level job as a Regulatory Compliance Specialist at age 64, I was without a job and it was difficult as no one wanted or understood someone with my title, so I ended up substituting as a paraeducator for special needs children with multiple challenges (i.e. developmental, physical and mental). I was often what is called a one-on-one where I assisted one child all day long, and I absolutely loved it. I really love children and if you ever read my blog, http://www.allinadaysbreath.wordpress.com, you will see that. I think like a child a lot of times. I did substitute work at different levels for some 15+ years and only recently retired at age 77. I also have done tutoring for children in different subjects, so I really love them all. Being around children is always a challenge that keeps your mind young.
Me: Boy, can I relate to that. Teaching has been so fulfilling to me because students have a way of challenging you so you can’t help but question right alongside them and grow yourself. Do you have a favorite fairy tale/children’s story?
Anne: It may sound dismal, but my Grandma used to read to me aloud “The Little Match Girl” and “The Red Shoes” by Hans Christian Anderson. The Little Match girl shows the ability of a person to overcome the worst of the worst challenges, and The Red Shoes shows what happens when a person becomes obsessed with something in this life. Those two tales have stuck with me for most of my life to this day. I made an art quilt of The Little Match Girl, and you can see it on my blog.
Me: Oh, I know you need to get back to your busy life Anne, but before you leave, tell me a little more about your writing, won’t you? And where I might read your work?
Anne: Thank you very kindly. I started out working for a little Hippy magazine of the day, Freedom Today. From there I worked for two newspapers, one a small community newspaper and the other a nursing oriented newspaper. I did typesetting and layout and had my own graphic arts and publications business for a time, so I did a lot of writing then. Oh, and I have done a lot of freelance editing over the years. I am primarily a nonfiction writer, and I love writing with imagination. In 1989, I wrote a pumpkin cookbook and self published it by working two full-time jobs. I am in process of getting the 3rd Edition out now. It is called Pumpkin, Pumpkin: Lore, History, Nutrition, Planting Care, and Good Eating. That and our book, Artful Alchemy: Physically Challenged Fiber Artists Creating are published by Amazon.com. Artful Alchemy is available in E-book and paperback, and Pumpkin, Pumpkin will soon be available the same way too.
Me: Anne, I have certainly enjoyed our visit and getting to know you better.
Anne: Thank you kindly for an excellent interview.
And as I hug my guest good-bye,I sense the expansion of late afternoon shadows, and catch the sweet cooing sounds of a mourning dove somewhere across the street in a tall pine tree. Maybe Spring is just around the corner after all, I sigh.
The candlelighter in hand, I straighten the candles on the mantle and prepare to welcome Shabbot. It has been a busy week, with visits from grown kids and more than the usual number of notes and phone calls for my birthday. I sigh as the flame clicks into being. How fortunate I am to be encircled by so many devoted family members and friends, to be living in such a beautiful place of natural wonders, to enjoy my remaining teaching responsibilities, my writing, my health…
I close my eyes and draw the glow around myself, spiral it outward to include loved ones and the world, and marvel at the sensation of inner glowing I feel. How fortunate I am, I sigh again, and whisper:
Blessed are You, Beloved One, Who fills the world with Goodness and Light, Who enables us to grow and learn and delight in Your Creation, and Who gives us Shabbot every seven days to feel its Completeness in You.
And let us say: Amen.