with Susan J. Farese
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Susan: I started writing poetry in 1991. The film “Awakenings” was the catalyst. “Lucy”, a character in the film, reminded me of my “soulmate” ~ my maternal Grandmother Ann, who had passed away in 1971 at age 60 from complications of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, way before her time. The first poem I wrote, “Ann’s Zest Ends”, is a poignant, rhyming poem. Ann’s Zest Ends takes place between 1970’s to 1991, with me reflecting, as her granddaughter and as a nurse, 20 years after Grandma Ann’s death. I read the poem to countless groups over the years with tremendous and profound responses from people connecting with the poem – having insight, feeling the poem in their hearts, and ultimately sharing their stories with me. I continued writing and my first edition of my book Poetic Expressions in Nursing: Sharing the Caring was published in 1993 and then again in 2021 (with some of my added Haiku and nature photography). The 2020 pandemic has certainly taken a toll and added stress, burnout, depression etc. for nurses, and I felt a calling to publish the book again in support of nurses and nursing.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Susan: Many! Authors, songwriters, screenwriters! Nelson DeMille, Bruce Springsteen, Carole King, James Taylor, Sara McLachlan, Caitlin Rother, Poets Issa and Basho (Haiku), and filmmakers/screenwriters (too numerous to count)! I love reading biographies, screenplays, true crime and poetry.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Susan: I grew up during the late 1950’s (and beyond) until college in New Jersey. We moved from Northern NJ to Central NJ (Monmouth County) when I was in 8th grade. Bruce Springsteen was also from Monmouth County (down the shore) and I first went to one of his shows at the then venue “The Sunshine Inn” during junior year in high school in 1973 (where we sat on the floor)! Music during the 1970’s at the Jersey shore definitely is part of my creative soul and work. Since graduating from college I have been ‘away from home’ which always influences me as well. Travels and geographic moves (military nursing and corporate relocations) have definitely inspired me and influenced my creativity. I have lived on both the East and West Coast of the US, and internationally (South Korea, Toronto and Sweden). I also am a nature photographer and that is probably because I have loved living near the beach.
Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?
Susan: My book Poetic Expressions in Nursing: Sharing the Caring (2021 & 1993) is very meaningful to me as well as my nature photography, filmmaking and acting work.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Susan: Yes, several – please see answer #1 for the poetry. As a visual artist/photographer, I knew when people responded to my hummingbird and other shorebird etc. photos that I had an eye for nature photography.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Susan: Birdwatching, nature photography, hiking, being near the water, family time, watching films (and reality TV) are all escapes for me. My work as a Public Relations/Communications professional also relaxes me!
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Susan: My book Poetic Expressions in Nursing: Sharing the Caring.
Here are the links: Paperback: https://amzn.com/dp/173697761X eBook: https://amzn.com/dp/B091D2GXNN and Audiobook: https://amzn.com/dp/B094DTGXZG and my SJF Communications website; https://sjfcommunications.com, thanks for asking.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
Susan: “When it’s all said and done, there’s no profession as diverse, as the art and the science of being a nurse!” (from the poem “A Formula for Success” in my book Poetic Expressions in Nursing: Sharing the Caring).
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Susan: I write poetry freeform ‘from the heart’ without ‘help’ per se, but at times my writing is usually glanced over and validated to some extent by my family and friends.