Love on My Knees by Stephanie Parent (inspired by Joni Mitchell)

Love on My Knees

(page 2)

Bio: Stephanie Parent is an author of dark fiction and poetry. Her debut poetry collection from Querencia Press, Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell, is available now. Connect with her on Twitter at @SC_Parent and Instagram at @SCParent.


A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Stephanie Parent

Q1: When did you start writing and who influenced you the most now and currently?

Stephanie: I actually didn’t do a ton of creative writing growing up—I was more of a reader. I read constantly and often felt a closer connection to fictional characters than to the people in my own life. When it came to writing, I was too much of a perfectionist to enjoy the process, so I really only did it for school assignments. I started writing more seriously in my twenties, when I went to grad school for writing and wrote novels and tried to get them published for the first time. However, it didn’t work out, and I got discouraged and didn’t write for a few years before coming back to it.

In terms of my writing style, my two biggest influences would probably be Francesca Lia Block and Alice Hoffman. I discovered both of these writers when I was a teenager, and I love their lyrical style and the magical elements and references to fairy tales in their work. Right now, I’m influenced by writers in the indie horror community—there is a huge movement happening in indie horror writing, and it’s allowing for a wider range of voices and experiences to be explored within the genre.

Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Stephanie: As soon as I started reading, a part of me wanted to be a writer, because I knew books were magic. However, I often find writing to be a difficult and daunting process, so I resisted that desire to write for a long time. It really came back to me when I’d had a lot of disappointments in my life, including the end of a long-term relationship, and I was feeling hopeless and lonely. Characters and their stories just started coming to me, and I would think about them all the time, as a distraction and eventually as a way to bring purpose back to my life. This was the first time I felt an intense desire to be a writer—so I guess I’m part of that cliché group who write using pain and sadness as inspiration.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?

Stephanie: Support from my friends has been vital to my writing. When I started writing again, after those big disappointments I mentioned in my previous response, I showed my work to friends who reacted really positively and encouraged me to keep going. If they hadn’t, I doubt I would have put in the amount of work I have and kept going through all the rejection. I’ve also gotten a lot of support from the writing community on Twitter—even though I don’t know these people in real life, they feel like friends and have opened doors in terms of my career!

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you?

Stephanie: I grew up on the East Coast of the US in Baltimore, Maryland. It was a fairly artistic, liberal area and I went to a very cool performing arts high school in downtown Baltimore (I went for piano, they didn’t have a writing program!), so that influenced my interest in the arts and the creative process. There were also a lot of beautiful natural areas around me as a child, from the little park and stream near my home all the way to the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Mountains a few states away where we went camping. Being in nature really brought my storytelling mind to life, as I was always imagining fairies and elves carrying out their secret lives in the trees.

Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?

Stephanie: So far, that would be my gothic horror novel THE BRIARS, which is forthcoming in May 2023 from Cemetery Gates Media. This novel is set in a commercial BDSM dungeon like the one I worked in for six years, and it deals with themes of sadomasochism, misogyny, the challenges of being a sex worker and being judged by society, queer love, and more. This story comes from an extremely personal place to the point that some portions of the novel felt channeled, like I wasn’t completely in control of what I wrote. I’m really excited for people to read it and hopefully get the same emotion out of it that I put into it!

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Stephanie: I wanted to be a dancer when I was younger, so I love many forms of movement—dance classes, yoga, walking, jogging, etc. I have anxiety, so moving is one of the only ways I can turn my mind off for a little while—and bonus points if I get to do it in a beautiful outdoor area.

Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza/lyric from your writing?

Stephanie:

One of my favorite lines is from the final poem in my collection, Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell:

“Magic has many definitions, and fantasy is its own kind of truth.”

Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song that always comes back to you as an inspiration?

Stephanie: That’s a really hard question for me to answer, because I’m super inspired by music in general and I love so many different genres! Anything with great lyrics will help me to feel strong emotions, which I then want to translate into stories or poems. I’m partial to 90s music, both grunge rock and singer-songwriters like Tori Amos—there’s a kind of rawness to music from that decade that really speaks to me. I’m inspired by so many songs, but one I often come back to is “Horses” by Tori Amos—the haunting melody and piano accompaniment, and the strange, melancholy lyrics with their references to folklore, really hit home for me.

Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, etc. that you would like to promote?

Stephanie: My debut poetry collection, Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell was released in August 2022 from Querencia Press. People seem to like it—I’m really pleased with the response so far!—and you can purchase it on all the major platforms including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Bookshop.org. I have a little prose chapbook coming out from Bullshit Lit in December 2022, A Story, a Spell, which is really a prose companion to the poetry book—they both include fairy tale retellings from a feminist perspective. And my gothic horror novel The Briars will be released by Cemetery Gates Media in May 2023. This book provides an authentic, own voices portrayal of sex work that I haven’t seen in many novels, so I believe it’s very important, and I hope people will pick it up!

Bonus: A funny memory or strange occurrence you’d like to share during your creative journey.

Stephanie: Hmm…maybe because most of my writing tends to the darker side, I can’t think of too many humorous moments! However, there has been some strange serendipity that almost makes me believe in fate—or at least reminds me that when something feels like a setback, it might actually be leading me to something better. For example, I tried very hard to sell a memoir based on my experience working at a commercial dungeon, and I was crestfallen when it didn’t work out. However, if it had worked out, I would not have started working on THE BRIARS—a novel which was very much based on my own dungeon experience, but also included a broader range of voices, and ghosts(!!!) and gothic romance(!!!) and all the exciting things. I think I’ve created something really special and unique, which I probably never would have if the memoir had gotten published instead.

Links:

To purchase my poetry book:

Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell: Parent, Stephanie: 9798986078854: Amazon.com: Books

My Twitter:

Stephanie Parent (@SC_Parent) / Twitter

My Instagram:

Stephanie Parent (@stephanieparent30) • Instagram photos and videos

My Website:

STEPHANIE PARENT, AUTHOR AND CREATOR – Home

Bio: Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California as well as a professional submissive and switch. After working for six years at a commercial dungeon in Los Angeles, she’s now writing about her personal and professional experiences with BDSM for publications including the HuffPostHippocampus, Pithead Chapel, Entropy, The Whorticulturalistand Mookychick. Her work has been anthologized in Dating & Sex: The Mutual Theory of Self-Destructionand My Heart to Yours: An LGBTQ+ Romance Anthology. Stephanie is also a published author of poetry and fiction; her poetry has been nominated for the Rhysling Award and Best of the Net, and her flash fiction won the O:JA&LEditor’s Prize for Flash Discourse. Her first poetry collection, Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell​is forthcoming in August 2022 from Querencia Press. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Stephanie now considers Los Angeles her true home.

Links: A Book Review of Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell by Stephanie Parent (reviewed by David L O’Nan & Jessica Weyer Bentley)



A Book Review of Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell by Stephanie Parent (reviewed by David L O’Nan & Jessica Weyer Bentley)

Book Review from Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell by Stephanie Parent (Querencia Press, LLC Chicago, IL 2022)

A Review of “Every Poem a Potion, Every Song A Spell” by David L O’Nan

As I began reading to foreword to Stephanie’s book I knew I wasn’t about to read just any collection of poetry. 

I was about to read into the heart of a girl growing up that had equal fascinations with the beauty of

The characters and the macabre of the stories.   The Light, the darkness, the fairytales, the evening falling back in the coals.  

The perception that life can be beautiful, but with the cloud of doubt simmering by.

Influenced by folktales of Gretchen and Disney movies. These are poetry based on truisms and fantasy.

Are they all really that different?

While Hollywood tried their best to glam up the Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty, the Snow White and Little Mermaid and so on, it seemed there was someone’s haunting voice that said that wasn’t my image when I began to write about what is NOT happening. How life is NOT treating everyone equally.

And women of the day could fell every bit of this dismal falsehoods of love and everafters, only to find  the abuses of wars and Princes who could never life up to sainthood.

The examples:

From “When Everything Else Was Gone” 

“Girls who walked barefoot through the snow 

Girls who wove cloth fine enough the fit through the eye Of a needle”

Girls who found the treasure within

A Million grains of rice” …  The Key to their own   Salvation.

From Into the Forest:

The common theme of woods enters the picture from folklore

“Conjures scraped knees, ripped dresses

Pounding hearts

Secrets and monsters and

Salvation”…

“Men might march through

With axes and torchs

“But women slip sidewise

Through the branches

Welcoming fear and shadow

As familiar friends”

The constant slurs and abuse from the older women. “The Evil stepmothers” and a consistent view of how men wouldn’t push past boundaries to be stronger humans and enforce what has always been taught to be brawny and fearless and at times abusive.

From Part One: Strange Creatures:

How womanhood changes at a young age affect a personality and confidence or a shame at least temporarily.

“I never wanted to be a human girl

Who sweated under her arms

Grew prickly hairs on her legs

Bled between her thighs”

She just wanted to be a mermaid.  To live the fantasy of not having to deal with the tragedies and triumphs.  The fragility of humankind much like a bird with weathered wings.

From Crack Nuts:

This tells of a girl fleeing for the first time away from the consistency that has been the hurt and try

To reshape herself into her own identity, away from what has been perceived upon her.

“When I left home for the first time

I went a little nuts”

“I didn’t find the castles or cottages or huntsmen I hoped for

In my forest, which was actually a city

Bordered by salty oceans and ashy mountains”

To reach out for mother when you needed her, the idea that she was ready to start anew left

Even more bruising and less fairytales.

From Red Hood in the Woods (Little Red Riding Hood):

A piece based on a woman wanting to create an identity for herself, to be who she wanted to be.

But prowlers and miscreants could only see her as an object.

“Look: She wouldn’t have worn red

If she didn’t want the wolf to notice her.

Right?”

“We didn’t’ ask to be trapped

Within the rank flesh

Of the wolf’s belly

Tucked into ourselves, knees kissing temples

Breathing blood and acid and fear

Waiting for some huntsman to slit the fur

See that red hood”

The metaphors drip off this page beautifully.  And paint the picture of the wanted posters that should be out there in more and more cities.

From Clawed Creatures: (Beauty and the Beast)

“Last Spring, her father had arrived home

Holding a rose with petals the color of blood –

A rose that never withered

Though the frost still crunched beneath his boots

The half-frozen gate still creaked on its hinges

As he stepped back into his bedraggled garden

Telling tales of a monster

That no one quite believed”

From Little Cages (Jorinda and Joringel, Part One);

(her singing birds

Transformed by her own hands

To resemble creatures native to exotic

Worlds.

She could never see)

…No girl ends up in a beautiful cage.

From Poissonnier (the Little Mermaid):

“All Knives

Our Human legs are things of violence

They kick and scramble and open wide”

I could keep going on but you have to read for yourself to realize the metaphors in these re-telling of fairytales are not what a young woman is told will happen. These are realities and fairytales need to be taken as serious and cautious and not expected.  Dangerous people, situations beyond our control is out there to try and derail the happiness. It is up to the reader to search for the hope that Stephanie provides within the books in small inklings.

 Many of these stories have been previously published before in wonderful litmags throughout the years.  Stephanie has a wonderful talent for re-imagining a true world view on what a fairytale wishes it were.

Every Single Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell by Stephanie Parent is a enigmatic creation of imagery and spell bound twist of tales. The poetry speaks to the romantic and mystic persona of the individual, the distant lands, and of the elusive creature. Stephanie reveals mirrors with stanzas of a universe just beyond the haze. A breathtaking gaze into the globe of the faint edges of belief. From “Everything Else is Gone” to “The Answer” Stephanie calls you into the unknown as a Pied Piper of literary imaginings. A truly mesmerizing read that continuously surprises you with a scope of a splendorous and cerebral fairyland. 

  • Jessica Weyer Bentley

Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell is available through Querencia Press, LLC in Chicago, IL (2022)

You can find this wonderful book through the normal avenues of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, amongst Stephanie’s own website.

Follow Stephanie on twitter @sc_parent

Get a copy through Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Qc0ss5

Get a copy through Barnes & Noble https://bit.ly/3AzlCdW

Get a copy through Target https://bit.ly/3Qf4M9P

An interwie with The Poetry Question https://thepoetryquestion.com/2022/08/23/review-every-poem-a-potion-every-song-a-spell-stephanie-parent-querencia-press/

Reviews on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61333742-every-poem-a-potion-every-song-a-spell

Other Reviews: https://howlinglibraries.com/every-poem-a-potion-every-song-a-spell/

Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog.

Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Anthology available today!

Available Now: Before I Turn Into Gold Inspired by Leonard Cohen

Anthology by David L O’Nan & Contributors w/art by Geoffrey Wren Bare Bones Writings Issue 1 is out on Paperback and Kindle

Coming May 13th from Querencia Press: Marisa Silva-Dunbar “Allison”

https://tinyurl.com/2p88rc97

Bio: Marisa Silva-Dunbar’s work has been published in ArLiJo, Chanterelle’s Notebook, Pink Plastic House, Sledgehammer Lit, Analogies & Allegories Literary Magazine. She has work forthcoming in The Bitchin’ Kitsch. Her second chapbook, “When Goddesses Wake,” was released in December, 2021 from Maverick Duck Press. Her first full-length collection, “Allison,” was recently published by Querencia Press. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @thesweetmaris. To check out more of her work go to http://www.marisasilvadunbar.com