For a while now, we’ve been interviewing Libros published authors on our Instagram page. The responses so far have been so illuminating on the writing process that we’ve decided to extend their platform here.
This week we interviewed Soreti, author of the collection of poems 167 Ways to Love.
What is your book about?
It’s about everything I felt and thought of for the year or so that I wrote it. It is a collection of poetry, short stories, prose and vignettes. Each piece (there are 166 in there), captures something unique. All related by the intent to be honest, but still, each unique. I imagine the book is about something different for each reader, so perhaps let’s ask people who have read it, haha!
What inspired you to write?
The need to express. I didn’t begin with the intent to write a book. I returned to Melbourne (the city that I grew up in, which is known to the indigenous people of the area, as Birrarang) from a poetry retreat run by a dear friend, Luka Lesson, and everything about my craft had transformed as a result of this retreat. We were in the village of Monolithos in Rhodes, Greece. Luka gave us these lineless journals to write in and on my return, I wrote every day with immense eagerness to explore this new voice that was breaking through in my writing, and soon, the book was full. So I said, I should probably share this.
What does this book mean to you?
To me, this book captures a chapter of my life that was certainly inspiring, whilst also being terrifying and just so… uncertain. Uncertain in the sense that, I was trying to figure out what I believed and what I didn’t, what was important to me and what wasn’t, etc. I am grateful for the courage to have found a way to share that journey because I am not the first to struggle and survive, and I won’t be the last. This work is out in the world because I think it can stand by folks as they traverse their way through to Light, God Willing.
What was the writing process like?
Pretty disciplined, probably the most disciplined I had ever been about anything in my life up until that point, other than maybe my studies in my final year of high school. My dad is still wondering how I am here writing books but can not finish a degree. I enjoyed the process, even when it was hard. It got really hard towards the end, when the prospect of actually sharing got real. I really didn’t like how that felt at first, but i had already committed, so the only choice i saw was to go through, i couldn’t go back. When I write, I am not so aware that I am being as vulnerable as I am. Because I usually perform my poetry, I am always with the words when they meet other people, so the breadth of vulnerability still barely dawns on me, because, you know, I am still there. The idea of people being alone with my writing, left to their own imaginations and interpretations… yeah, this terrified my like you wouldn’t believe! I wrote everywhere and every day (mostly!). I was living with a friend, who I am not connected with anymore, but I will say, is an extraordinary individual who, God Willing, is going to do (and does) extraordinary things on this earth. She graciously invited me to live with her after I came back from Greece so that I could have some space to get things together. There was this one tree outside the flats we lived in, In the morning I would sit and meditate, leaning against the base of its trunk, and then I’d write. Sometimes before going running, sometimes after. Some days, I wrote all day. I wrote a lot on trains, trams and buses. So much so that I considered shouting out metro transport in the book, and that tree. I wrote while travelling countries, not as much as you’d imagine though, well at least, not as much as I imagined I would write whilst visiting new countries. There is some real beauty that I captured in Lamu, I think it’s in one of the last pieces, I still remember that feeling, the scene, the sounds! The process was humbling, disorientating. and disciplined. I can say that I made sure to hold good space for the words regularly and kept myself from thinking about it too much. I just wrote. Looking back, it was such a nice time. The process really grew me, I think I was probably also a very interesting person to have a conversation with while writing this work. I say this because when you are writing like I was, talking about anything that isn’t feeding that process doesn’t make much sense. The other thing is, the process became the lens through which I experienced the world. It influenced what I lived, and I was recording what I was living. That last sentence makes sense, I promise! haha
umm… is thought ever really, random? If random means something is related to nothing, then no, thought can not be random. Do we mean thought that is unrelated to the moment we are in? Then maybe we have just misunderstood the moment that we are in, and the thought is not actually misplaced? Thoughts circling right now, for me: I need to pray Isha (last of five daily obligatory prayers for Muslims); to delete the Instagram app off my phone for the next few days or to not delete the Instagram app off my phone for the next few days; I am giving this writing to you so late from when you asked it of me that I am embarrassed! you asked for one thought, this is now maybe 8 thoughts. And with that, goodnight!
A copy of her book can be found in our bookstore!