Interview | Writer Jen Cosby On Gaining Inspiration From Experience & On Setting Goals To Write

The Wire's Dream | BL | Black Lion Journal | Black Lion

I am pleased and humbled to have interviewed Jen Cosby for The Wire’s Dream 2nd Collection. Jen’s work is strong with emotion; she’s a blogger who writes from a perspective of intense emotional experience. She’s an aspiring writer from New Jersey who believes in giving love to everyone. She shares the hard truths of life while intentionally cultivating the art of being resilient no matter what. // Jen On Twitter and On Jen.Cosby

CHRISTINA LYDIA
Let me start by saying thank you for taking some of your time to answer a few questions for us to know about you and what you love to do. I’ll ask you first: What does writing mean to you?

JEN COSBY
Thank you, for your interest in my writing! Before I knew the power of words, I used writing as an outlet for my grief. I lost an influential English teacher to suicide when I was 17 and it was not until this event that my writing took an emotional turn. I wrote a poem entitled, “While You Were Sleeping,” and recited it at his wake to commemorate him. The impact for me specifically was a feeling of release. Other people told me they felt a sense of peace in the midst of the tragedy. It was at this point that I understood just how much potential writing could have towards the healing of hurting people.

CHRISTINA LYDIA
Your writing is powerful and intense in its meaning and its message. How has your personal experience and worldview influenced the way you write?

JEN COSBY
I would say intense definitely describes me accurately! I remember reading a quote once, “Art never comes from happiness”. I would counter this to say, “Great art comes from extreme emotional states”. Sadness is not the only thing that inspires me to write—some of my best pieces were created out of pure joy. I am driven by passion and a need to share my full experience. My personal challenges influence me to be transparent and open with the good, bad and often ugly moments that we all experience (in one way or another) in life.

CHRISTINA LYDIA
Do you have writers/artists that you admire and look up to?

aaa
Elizabeth Alexander

JEN COSBY
One of my favorite writers is Jane Austen. She wrote stories about fiercely independent women who knew what they wanted and refused to settle for less. Her own narrative is one of determined perseverance. In addition to Austen, I admire the works of Elizabeth Alexander and Claudia Rankine. Both have a fantastic creative presence with an ability to attach an emotional picture to their words. I aspire to have a fraction of an impact that these women have had on their audiences.

CHRISTINA LYDIA
I always ask writers how blogging has changed and/or how it influences their writing process. What about you? How has blogging influenced your writing process and how has it influenced the way you approach writing?

JEN COSBY
Well, for one I am fully aware that I have no idea who could be reading. With this in mind, I do my best to take care with sensitive subjects and speak only what I know and feel to be true. My blog is based on my personal experience, which makes it chock full of my opinionated thoughts. Sometimes, these feelings resonate positively with other people; but if I am not careful with my expression, words have the ability to wound in a way that I do not intend to trigger.

CHRISTINA LYDIA
How do you make time for both blogging and writing? What quick tip(s) would you say to writers who want to get started in blogging?

JEN COSBY
We make time for the things that are important to us. This is true for all things for which we are passionate. If I choose to neglect my responsibility in one area of my life then eventually, all the other areas will suffer. For instance, I recently completed my Associates Degree while both parenting and working full-time. For years, I did not pursue my degree because I was afraid I could not make the time. I did not want to start another thing and fail, so fear kept me in a place of stagnancy. Thankfully, I realized the time was going to pass whether I sat still or moved forward. I set goals and took baby steps — creating a schedule, talking to other people who were doing what I wanted to do — and I gained the courage to invest in myself. If you want to write — if it is all you can think about — you will find a way.

“We make time for the things that are important to us. This is true for all things for which we are passionate. If I choose to neglect my responsibility in one area of my life then eventually, all the other areas will suffer.

CHRISTINA LYDIA
“The Warriors Revelry: 2017” was a piece that I truly enjoyed reading; it was a strong read. What does it mean for you to be the heroine (and/or hero) of our own narratives?

JEN COSBY
Thank you, so much! I will define what being a heroine means to me. There is a war within all of our hearts that most of us do not recognize. For myself, it starts early in the morning when I have to choose between hitting the snooze button and getting up early to practice yoga. It continues when I can either be present in a conversation or retreat into my thoughts (and panic) about what is yet to come. If I want to be the heroine of my own narrative, I must choose to vibrate on a higher frequency. I have to own my mistakes and take stock of the damage I leave in my wake. I have to make better decisions and bring other wounded warriors with me. A true heroine (or hero) always takes responsibility.

CHRISTINA LYDIA
Last year I attended a panel at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) writer’s conference (Making Monsters: Exploring Otherness in YA/MG Literature) and they spoke about Monsters and the creation of monstrous characters — not just scary ones or horrific ones,  but characters labeled as monsters because they defied traditions and/or questioned norms. “Monsters in the Midst” reminded me about that panel. What does a monster mean to you as a writer and what did it mean to you when writing “Monsters In The Midst”?

JEN COSBY
Some of the monsters I speak of in “Monsters in the Midst” are regular people fighting for what they believe to be true. One of the things I learned about the ideals of the “villain” is that he/she thinks they are the hero. All of us at one point in our lives stood in direct opposition to another person. And truthfully, we are all probably a monster in a way to someone else. Monsters are usually people who aggressively fight to right a wrong or fix a problem. Unfortunately, sometimes a monster is the angry person who makes a bad decision. When monsters live in negative feelings, we have to be intentional about putting them in their place before we hurt other people.

CHRISTINA LYDIA
What goals and/or aspirations do have for your writing? Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years, creatively, personally, and professionally?

JEN COSBY
My ideal 5-year plan. Professionally, I would like to finish my Bachelors Degree and work with a publishing company to bring ideas to paper and combine those papers into books. Creatively, I would like to place my own ideas into a book (or two) of poetry/prose and work alongside my significant other (who is an artist) to “take over the comic book industry”. Personally, I see us combining our families, growing our tribe and raising a family of creative minds who make meaningful contributions towards the peace and unity of our society.

BL | Black Lion Journal | Black Lion

 

THANK YOU, JEN COSBY, FOR ALLOWING US TO KNOW A BIT ABOUT YOU! // YOU CAN VIEW JEN’S WORK ON THE WIRE’S DREAM 2ND COLLECTION RELEASED ON JUNE 30TH.

 

© 2017 | The Black Lion is a humble interdisciplinary journal that values your voice. Visit the submissions page to learn more about submitting to the Journal’s sections or to The Wire’s Dream Magazine. | Copyright Policy

 
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