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.
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.