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What inspires you? A dialogue with author Marguerite Harrold

ASEI Arts is pleased to feature a series of inspiring Q&A interviews with the authors and producers featured in our Anthology House book. All profits from the sale of the book will benefit Habitat for Humanity’s "Habitat Hammers Back" initiative.

This week, we feature Marguerite Harrold who contributed the poems entitled "Astral Projection" and "Chicago March 22" to Anthology House.

ASEI: What inspires you each day?

I am not inspired every day. Most days I have to work myself up to it. Some days I wake up terrified and wonder what I’m doing, why I gave up my apartment, left my “Good City Job”. Then I get up and go outside.

In any type of environment, I can always find something beautiful. It could be the way dusty orange wildfire smoke settles on the back of a steel and glass building in Portland, Oregon, or the way a breeze catches my eyelashes in New Orleans, or the slow determined movement of a banana slug, sliming its way through the grass. Maybe it’s as simple as how much my hand looks like my mother’s, just a little more brown.

When I go outside, I remember to be grateful. Gratitude helps me to take it easier on myself and once I do that, I am inspired to write and think differently. My imagination is free to explore and experiment without self-doubt and self judgement.

I am also really inspired by other artists. Visual artist like Nicholas Galanin, Kara Walker, the photographer Dorothea Lang, Poets like Ed Roberson, Danez Smith, Lucille Clifton and Elizabeth Bishop. Their work makes me feel like I am connected to something bigger than me.

ASEI: How has your creativity helped you to navigate a change in your circumstances for the better? This can be a feeling or an intangible effect, or it can be a physical change.

I create for myself what it means to be happy, so I try, really hard, every day.

My creativity is my freedom. I imagine the kind of life I want. I have refused to allow myself to be limited by my own fear or other people’s.

I changed my whole life within the last year. I retired at 47. I left the neighborhood I lived in for 25 years. I drove myself across country. I dreamed of doing this for the last 20 years.

I’m headed West, around the world. People have asked me how long I will be traveling. I’ve decided my answer is, as long as it takes. I will continue to use my creativity all along the way.

ASEI: What advice would you give to another person seeking to improve their circumstances through finding satisfaction in their creative journey?

Finding and pursuing our creative journey is the only way to improve our circumstances.

Our creative processes, explorations and experiences free our minds and allow us to hold onto that freedom, no matter what, which ultimately helps us grow and change in ways that move us.

ASEI: Thank you Marguerite! To read Marguerite’s poems "Astral Projection" and "Chicago March 22" you can purchase Anthology House by requesting it from your local bookseller or by purchasing here:

All profits from this anthology will be donated to Habitat for Humanity's Habitat Hammers Back initiative to rebuild hurricane-hit areas in the Southern United States and Caribbean.

You can follow Marguerite on Twitter at Discokayaker.

To read more interviews in our "Inspiration" series, please click through the ASEI Arts blog.

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