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Rivulet interviews: Holly Cutler

A Wonderful Poet!

For the latest adventure of Rivulet Interviews, I had the pleasure of (virtually) meeting Holly Cutler— a published poet! Here’s a short transcript of our email conversation:

  • Amy: “How long have you been writing? How’d you get started?”
  • Holly: “I’ve been writing stories since I was in elementary school, I think I found it as a really healthy coping mechanism when a parent left, and kept with it, but in time it became a way to get my creativity out.”
  • Amy: “What is your preferred style/genre of writing? (Ex. Screenplays/Historical Fiction) And why?”
  • Holly: “Personally, I’m a very big fan of poetry. I’ve tried writing novels but I can never stick with them long enough, or I poke too many holes in my own stories!”

(I think this is something we can all relate to, as writers! Perhaps, one day in the future, look out for an Exposé on Plot Holes…)

  • Amy: “How often do you find time to write between classes and other responsibilities/hobbies?”
  • Holly: “These days, I definitely don’t write as much as I used to, but when I do, it’s when a line hits me and I have to write it down, and if I have time in that moment. Then I finish the poem, or at least the stanza then and there. The real struggle is when I’m driving and pray I remember the line, lol.

(I’ve been here many times! Have any of you?)

  • Amy: “Have you connected with other writers on/off campus?  How so?
  • Holly: “I haven’t connected with any writers on campus, but a high school English teacher encouraged me to send my poetry out to see if any would be published (somewhere, yay!). So I know some, and a magazine publisher in Portland that specifies in teen writing.
  • Amy: “What has been your experience with the Creative Writing Department on campus?”
  • Holly: “To be honest, I’m a Psychology major so I have no experience with the Creative Writing Department lol.

(That’s absolutely okay! :))

  • Amy: “Are there magazines/journals, online or otherwise, that you read regularly? Which ones?”
  • Holly: “We collect the newspapers at the end of every night at work, and I work the closing shift, so I skim through all sorts when I have the time— ‘Sun Journal’, ‘Wall Street’, etc. Especially the comics, I’m a sucker for nostalgia.”
  • Amy: “What is writing creatively to you, and do you think UMF supports your vision?”
  • Holly: “I can’t say whether UMF supports my view (although I’m sure they would, but in amore academic, specified version), but I really do think that creative writing is what happens when you spill everything out onto the page, guts and glory, or sometimes all guts and no glory. It doesn’t even have to be “good,” because if you need you can edit (though I prefer keeping it raw). I would have gone into creative writing but I was afraid my views wouldn’t align and I wouldn’t be cut out for it, plus I like to heal people, so I went into Psyche.”
  • Amy: “When you begin a project, what process do you go through, if you have an established routine?”
  • Holly: “This sounds weird, but I often find creativity before, after or during a modeling session. I have two photographers that I work with and one of them likes to focus on a vintage aspect (he says I have a vintage face, I think it’s the nose lol). But all the glamour, being “a muse of objectification”, so to speak, really brings me back to a time when I was writing more than I spoke. There’s lots of thoughts you can jot down when men don’t listen to them, you have to get them out somehow. So I really get hit hard with the inspiration in those moments. Casually, though, it hits when I’m reading a book that I can relate to, meaningful, especially if I’m sitting in the morning sun. ‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov was one that did it for me.”

(This is an incredibly unique perspective on inspiration, and if she is interested, I might interview her again specifically on her experiences!)

(And now for my favorite question of the interview…)

  • Amy: “Is there anything you’re working on that you’d like to preview for our readers out there?”
  • Holly: “I do have a poetry book that’s been an on-and-off project for maybe over a year. I’m actually editing now as we speak haha!”

Holly provided me a sample of her collection to read through, and I have to say, it is brilliant! Each poem reflects the “glamour” of her inspiration in modelling, and definitely seems inspired by a “vintage” image! They have a dreamlike, easy-on-a-reader’s eyes quality to them that’s easy to get lost in, and are just as complex as some of the old classics. Once published, it will begin with, “this is how it starts—…”

An absolutely wonderful experience to talk with her!

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