An Interview of Sugar Zedna by Carl Scharwath Thank you, ILA Magazine, and your dear readers for allowing me to highlight another amazing poet and her story. Today, we meet Sugar Zedna, "Jenny", born a Filipino and in her words, "With a little Spanish blood and a dash of caffeine in my bloodstream." She started to write at the age of 9, has a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master's degree in Education, with a major in teaching in the early grades. Sugar was the Editor-in-Chief of her college paper. She has multiple publications and has won many awards with her writing. Writing is her passion, but this multi-talented friend also is a part-time fashion accessories designer and dabbles in sketching, using pencil and gel pens. When she's away from her art, Sugar is presently a teacher to young children, a speaker in various events and host programs.
Carl: Good morning, Sugar, ILA Magazine is so happy to have your time today and my first question is: 1. Please tell our readers about your poetry style: Sugar: My passion is writing essays, quotes, and poems every day, to vent my creative juices. Words are my way of conveying my witticisms and fun side. I am an ardent lover of the arts as these are outstanding souvenirs to future generations. My poetry is generally short, practical, real-life situations, fiction and whimsical. I don't dwell much on the serious side of life as stress would kill me. I love to write about human relationships, nature, endless metaphors of human existence and so on. I am still a budding writer/poet, I know I still have a long way to go and my way is by joining prompts every day. 2. Interesting what you said about prompts. I know you are an active participant in the ILA Group and enthusiastic about their prompt challenges. How has this helped you define your style and improve your skills? Sugar: Very much, as these prompts push me to get my brain cells moving, to think fast, to focus on the theme or picture and scribble coined words. It is like working with grace under pressure, there is a deadline you have to meet and it is a must to adhere to the theme and number of lines without sacrificing the entire content of your entry. 3. When you first picked up that magic pen to write at the age of 9, what was the inspiration? Sugar: I was called "Silent Water" by my teacher in the third grade, as I didn't want to participate in class discussions. I hated reciting in class. I used to sit at the back, so I wouldn't be seen. But I loved it when class activities or performance tasks involved writing answers, that's when I started to get noticed. My teacher asked me to write what my favorite place was. (At the time, I frequented a US Military base located in my city where I considered to be a small city within a city). So, I wrote about Camp John Hay's skating rink with an ice cream parlor adjacent to it. My teacher was so impressed with what I had written, she told me that she could almost see the place with how I vividly described it with my words. She said I would make it as a great writer, someday. Her words served as a motivation for me. Her admiration for my simple essay was seen in her eyes. Everyday she would read aloud, whatever I had written for the daily theme writing. (This had made me blush every time she read). My teacher was my inspiration. 4. Tell us who your favorite poet or writer is and why: Sugar: I must say, my dad is my favorite writer because he was a journalist for one of my country's top newspapers, after that, he was also the Editor-in-Chief of a local newspaper. Though he passed away when I was three years old, it was only when I was in college, that I came to realize the deeper meanings of his love letters to my mom. At a young age, I never really knew how cunning and brilliant he was with his writings until I met people who, one after another, told about his multifarious achievements. Presently, people who notice my writing style, say I write like my dad (I guess it's a case of writing style begets writing style). 5. How do your poems develop? Please guide us through your process: Sugar: I normally start with a clear mechanism, meaning, I rid myself of other concerns and focus on what am I going to write. I pause. I always believed in the adage that goes: "A peaceful mind, generates power." True enough, form a single thought, ideas flow naturally (especially when I'm under writer's mood). It's like magic. Like I'm lost in a sea of words, metaphors, alterations and allusions. I write everything that comes to mind. When I'm done writing, I Thank God for the gift of words and for the patience of my hands. (Sometimes, when I go over a finished poem, I am in disbelief that it was me who wrote that. Like it was me, saying: "Did I really write that? Wow! I'm a Bard), no kidding aside, when you're a writer, there are occasions when you cannot explain the myriad of ideas that abound in your mind. Some thoughts dissipate in seconds, so before that happens, you should've written that on a piece of paper, otherwise, it's difficult to recall what it was. 6. Can you please give advice to someone wanting to write and publish poetry? Sugar: Some pieces of advice I could give to budding writers, include:
(1) Read a lot. You have to be a voracious reader. By reading, you are going to learn so much. (2) Widen your vocabulary as these words are your weapons. Read the dictionary or thesaurus, learn at least 5 new words per day. (3) Write your personal journal, you may never realize it at the start, but this is a very good practice for you. (4) Assess yourself. Know what is your forte. Or the genre of writing you are good in. (5) Join a lot of literary platforms where you could showcase your talent, but never share everything there. Be wary of p people who might steal your poetic pearls and claim these to be theirs. Share a few, but leave a lot for yourself. (6) Keep a copy of all your writings whether these be in digital storage or the old-fashioned notebook. (Mine is both, I still love writing my poems on a nice notebook alongside with it, is a sketch of a beautiful flower that I might have seen in shirts, hankies, bags or blouses.) (7) Join a lot of prompts. Like what I said a while back, these let you think fast. Prompts also widen your imagination. (8) Be humble. No need to brag. As true talent is seen even if you don't show it. (9) Appreciate the works of fellow poets (old and new), as you will learn from these, too. (10) Maintain a clean heart, devoid of envy and also avoid being extremely emulous. (11) Thank God for everything. (As all these are nothing without Him). 7. Ok, Sugar, in front of us, is a crystal ball with your name on it and the words of a new poem just forming. In the future, what are your goals and what would make your creative side the most happy? Sugar: As of the moment, I am contented with coming out of my shell, sharing some pieces of my poetry, joining prompts, being included in anthologies and gaining friends. But in the future, I would love do do some collaborations with some friends...writing the very subjects hat inspire a lot of people. I would also love to author a book or two, someday. Carl: Thank you so much, for your answers as I and our readers wish you the best and will follow your journey of creativity.
Sugar: Thank you so much for the opportunity for letting me spill a portion of myself. I hope my words would bring a smile in the face of people who read this. More power to ILA Magazine and the entire editorial team, most especially to Annette Nasser. More power to you. God bless you all.
Image above, "Double exposure of Sugar Zedna", by Carl Scharwath
Photo of our Interviewer, Carl Scharwath, at the beach.
Carl Scharwath has appeared globally, with 150+ Journals selecting his poetry, short stories, interviews, essays, plays or art photography (his photography was featured on the covers of 6 journals). Two poetry books, 'Journey to Become Forgotten' (Kind of Hurricane Press) and 'Abandoned' (ScarsTv), have been published. His first photography book was recently published by Praxis. Carl is Art Editor for Minute Magazine, a competitive runner and a 2nd degree Black-Belt in Taekwondo.