QM Creative Talents: Dolly Garland

Dolly Garland is studying for MA in English Literature. She is a freelance writer, a soon-to-be published short story author, a poet and an aspiring novelist. She is the founder of Kaizen Journaling, where she teaches people how to use journaling for personal development. You can follow her on Twitter here (@DollyGarland) and her work can be found on her website here: www.kaizenjournaling.com.

When did you first develop an interest in creative writing?

I developed an interest in creating writing since my early teenage years when I started writing poems and short stories. It just never occurred to me at the time that it could be a career choice, so I went and got a business degree instead.

Who are you go-to writers for inspiration?

It really depends on the mood, and what I need inspiration for. But Virginia Woolf’s “A Writer’s Diary” and Ben Okri’s “A Way of Being Free” are two things that never fail to inspire me.

How do you generate an idea for a poem?

Sometimes I write a poem because I have a theme in mind, something I want to talk about, or express through poetry. At other times, it’s imagery: something as simple as looking at an old, broken chair or river rushing over rocks. I also use a word or a phrase that strikes a chord with me and write a poem around that.


Here is a selection of Dolly’s poetry:

The Mask of Respectability

It was custom-made,

The mask of respectability,

Passed down to each generation

Like a treasured heirloom.

We were all taught to keep the mask on,

At all times, until the curtain fell.

It was like a second skin

Protecting our status, and

Family name, earning us

The deference that was our due.

Then the curtain fell,

And the mask came off.

The respectability went for a brief

Hiatus, as naked bodies slithered

On beds that didn’t belong to them,

As husbands beat their wives,

Mistresses paraded through

The house in saris more expensive

Than what the wife had ever gotten,

As the sons learned from their fathers,

And set back progress for another generation;

The daughters were taught to accept it all,

Because it was their fate, to be

A good daughter, sister, wife, mother;

Live to serve, obey, and follow the men,

And earn a trip to heaven from the funeral pyre.

I ripped off my mask before the curtain fell,

Accepted the prospect of a future hell,

To enjoy the freedom of being me

That is available now.

Pretentious Sophistication

Sunshine streaming over the

Washed-up wooden tables

Of the little café, attempting

To make the suburban street

Trendy; couples sit on the deliberately

Mismatched chairs, holding hands

And sipping gingerbread lattes;

Families with strollers stop in

For a bite to eat;

The wannabe bohemians

Sit for hours, ordering Americanos

And olives, talking about

Books and politics,

Arguing with opinions not their own.

The owner bustles behind the counter,

Serving smiles and small talk

As a bonus, and the cash register

Rings, ch-ching, ch-ching,

As the suburbanites pretend

The city sophistication,

Through over-priced coffees and Paninis.

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