Spotlight Interview originally published by Ocean View Press
Author Melanie C. Jordan
by Tabitha Swan
It’s been a while since I’ve done interviews, but when I had the opportunity to talk with this delightful young writer, I jumped at the chance. South Beach based author Melanie C. Jordan is currently promoting her works of poetry titled “Open to the Elements (Breaking the Silence)”. The book opens up a large sum of Melanie’s personal life within the pages of her book and serves to inspire her readers. I can honestly say that I have been inspired by our conversation and hopefully, you will too. Enjoy and thanks for reading.
Tabitha- Hi Melanie, How are you today?
Melanie- Hello, I am fabulous thank you.
Tabitha- So now, how long have you been writing poetry and can you remember the first poem you’ve ever written?
Melanie- I have been writing poetry for many, many years. Yes I remember my first poem it was written about my first crush. I was the pure age of 15 years old. Its funny you asked me that because just the other day I was going crazy looking for it. No luck.
Tabitha- Have you ever taken any creative writing classes?
Melanie- You know everybody that meets me asks me that same question. The answer is no, I am a strong believer that my poetry is a gift from my higher power. I don’t believe that when a person is blessed with such a gift that they should take classes however I guess it would help the grammar but then again isn’t that what editors are for. (laughs) When I moved to Miami Beach I went to college for journalism, which was a turning point for my writing I was trying different venues. I learned a lot from school but school just taught me the basic tools. School didn’t teach me to be a writer or a poet. My higher power gave me the gift of poetry and writing which comes from within something no school or classes can ever teach.
Tabitha- What inspired the name “Soulful Pen?”
Melanie- I’m a big believer that my writing is my gift from God. I believe my writing comes from my soul. I chose SoulfulPen, for I pen my poetry from within.
Tabitha- Where did you grow up and would you say that it had an impact on your writing?
Melanie- I grew up in Brooklyn New York . I write my poetry to write that’s what I do. I share my poetry to help others that can’t see the light ahead. Brooklyn gave me my back bone to release my words. Yes! Growing up in Brooklyn defiantly had an impact in a way that made me bold and unafraid to share my deepest thoughts through poetry. There’s no place like home, Brooklyn people are very forward and blunt we are not afraid to make the next step. Brooklyn is a strong community I have never seen people like this any where else. When the WTC was bombed I think New York really showed how supportive we are and how we all come together when things are rough. I have that in me it’s a huge impact on who I am as a writer. My writing is real from the heart and soul. Just like the Brooklyn girl in me (laughs) I tell it how it is.
Tabitha- Where are you living now?
Melanie- I’m presently living in Miami Beach (South Beach). I’m living in Miami for seven years now. Actually it was Miami that brought out my poetry. I have networked with so many talented writers and poets here that inspired me to bring my poetry to many levels.
Tabitha- Would you say the change in atmosphere has affected your approach to writing? I’m sure that the milder climate and culture change could play a huge part in what someone writes.
Melanie- Oh yes definitely. The beautiful beaches and sunsets had a big effect on me. A writers paradise. I usually take a paper and pen and sit on the beach as the waves roll in and the colors in the sky form multi color. Can’t help but to become inspired with nature’s aura here in Miami. Yes! The culture here in Miami is phenomenal it’s like a bowl of alphabet cereal I never know what I’m going to spoon up next. I have met so many people that have inspired me and I am so grateful for all the inspiration these people have given to me. The Cuban and Spanish culture here in Miami has brought my writing to different levels I always wrote with my soul and heart but Miami culture brought out my visuals. So when someone reads my poetry it’s not just tugging at there heart but they see what I see too. I love it! And I know my fans are enjoying the growth in my words.
Tabitha- Who did you grow up admiring as far as writers?
Melanie- I’m going to answer this question with a little twist. Many people don’t realize that the lyrics written by musicians are poetry. Every time we turn on our radio or put on our favorite Cd it’s the lyrics we fall in love with. With that said I’m going to say growing up my inspiration was Cindy lauper, Cher, oldies but goodies. Oh yes the oldies they really knew how to write lyrics that touched and moved the soul. Lets not forget Eryka Badu, here Is a women that wrote lyrics that had every women reciting her words.
I have grown to love Poets like Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni and Robert Frost.
I always admired writers that shook up the soul, writers that weaved words to make a women shed a tear and a grown man fall to his knees that’s poetry. It’s a movement to the human race. Pure ecstasy that awaits our soul and mind. You have to respect these writers.
Tabitha- Do you get the time to read any books at all, or do you put most of your focus into your own writing?
Melanie- I love books. However I haven’t the time to read anything. My focus has been my writing for over five years now. From the moment I wake up to the moment I close my eyes I am networking with other writers and publishers. I am putting together new books. I don’t have time to breathe lately never mind picking up a book. I can’t wait for the day I can sit back put my feet up and lose myself into a good book. I can say when I was younger I loved Anne Rice. I read all of her books.
Tabitha- So talk about your latest book titled “Open to the Elements (Breaking the Silence).” How long did it take you to complete that project from start to finish?
Melanie- (Deep breathe) Coming from an abusive child hood I have had a lot to convey.
My poetry releases all the hurt and drama that my child within needed to release. From being raped by a third grade teacher to a mother’s hurtful words and abusive hands words just began to pour out of me for two years. I was sexually molested by my grandfather and attacked sexually in front of a neighborhood church by a strange man. My poetry exposes all this hurt. I decided to publish my work into a book to help other people. I have a strong will to give other souls the strength and hope to step forward and help them to release their fears. Open to the elements is a book of poetry that is for the people.
A book full of verses that shows strength and motivation. Open to the elements is a book full of poetry that teaches people that there is a light ahead and their not alone.
This world can be cruel but we all have the power within to excel in life. This book took me two years to finish and I am thrilled to share it with the world.
Tabitha- Now it’s 128 pages long. Was there any works of yours that didn’t make it into the book?
Melanie- I have some work that I chose not to place in the book due to the reason I felt it didn’t fit. What I mean is some of the poetry I have written was very feminist like my poem Vulva or Disney escapade (laughs), there was no way I could put that in my first book.
Disney escapade was more of a comical write about Disney characters and Warner brother characters in a sex and drug environment. I didn’t think these poems had a place in my first book at all. However they will be exposed in my third book.
Tabitha- Where does the title “Open to the Elements” come from?
Melanie- Open to the elements means my by gone, my yesterday, my past. Open to the elements is an expression of a child within that blooms into a powerful woman of strength and an inner light. A written scripture of exposure of those that neglected and executed an inner child finally brought to justice as my poetry brings forth a free soul.
Its funny you asked me this question because it took me weeks to come up with the perfect meaning of my poetry. I actually started looking up words on an online dictionary and came across a word with the meaning. “Open to the elements” My eyes shined brightly and shouted to my friend that was near by,” I found it! I found my title” (Laughs) What a great day that was. I’ll never forget that day.
Tabitha- Now, in November, you have a new title coming out. Talk a little about that. Is it another volume of poetry?
Melanie- Oh, that’s Literatim. My second book of poetry which is a continuation of my bygone, yes the second chapter to Open to the elements. This book will be released on November 27, 2006. I am excited about this volume of poetry due to my readers will read my growth and see the visuals that Miami has inspired me to write. No it’s not poetry about Miami (laughs) its poetry about my exposure to a world that handed me stones that I turned into diamonds.
Every single person in this life has struggles. Many are afraid to step up and make the turn towards the light. The poetry in this book exposes that we are not alone. We all have struggles no matter how bad they seem someone out there is feeling that same pain. My poetry brings strength and power, a guiding light to see things for the better. I love playing with words so my reader will see a lot of word play in my book and I love to tug at the heart and soul. It’s a book that will defiantly have my reader’s hair stand up. It touches love, pain, laughter and life.
Tabitha- How long have you worked on the new book?
Melanie- Literatim has 56 pp. It took me a month to pull it all together however I am going with a publisher that calls themselves Publish America. I must say it took them a year to actually finish my book in print. I’m looking for another publisher. I’m tired of having my readers wait forever. My readers are my world and they deserve top quality. I’m working on finding a better Publisher as we speak.
Tabitha- Are you interested in working on novels in the future or will you focus on poetry for the time being?
Melanie- I actually have a novel I started writing two years ago .Yes! I will be finishing up my novel. It’s a book of drama, love and deceit. I’m a big fan of The Godfather written by the Late Mario Puzo. My novel is mafia based and jumps from Miami to New York City. It’s a mixture of fiction and non fiction. As for my poetry I will always be a poet first.
Tabitha- Now on top of your books, you created a network for authors called Looking Within. What inspired you to put that together?
Melanie- I feel everyone deserves a chance to expose their work and bring their writing to the next level. Looking Within is a place for poets to network with each other to give and receive feedback on their Poetry. The most important thing is Looking Within is a place with information that I have researched myself over the year to help poets create their first book and learn the ins and outs of the writing industry. I’m a people person and I feel we all could accomplish anything if we help each other. My inspiration comes from the poets of Looking Within they are all great poets and great souls. I have had the pleasure to speak too many of them on the phone and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be amongst me. They are all inspirational and loving people.
Tabitha- Where can the readers find it?
Melanie- I have a myspace with a banner that my readers can click on to get to the site or you can Google SoulfulPen and it will come up. (see below)
Tabitha- What do you do for enjoyment or relaxation when not writing?
Melanie- I live three blocks from the beach so I enjoy myself in the sun and swim the ocean which is so beautiful and relaxing. I love collecting shells; my house is filled with them. A dear friend of mine, Sarai J. M. Davis who is a fabulous Photographer will take her camera out and have photo shoots with me which I love to do. I am a ham and I love the camera. I live a simple life. I’m a laid back person that loves nature and my friends. I especially enjoy quiet nights with my two best men, my kitty Slugger and my Fiancé.
Tabitha- What would you say right now to someone who wanted to start writing a book but didn’t know how to go about it?
Melanie- Research is the key. Lots of research. I always tell the poets from Looking Within to always be ahead of your competitor. I’m also a big believer in God and I feel God has things laid out in life for us if we were meant to be writers and have books and fame it will be. Just relax enjoy life things will fall into place. You can always go to Looking Within for information.
Tabitha- Any final comments before we finish up?
Melanie- Yes, I want to thank all my readers I wouldn’t be where I am today without all your support and love. Most of all I want to thank God. He has blessed me with a beautiful gift and I am forever humbled.
Tabitha- Well Melanie, it was great fun speaking with you and I hope to do it again soon. Best wishes to you and best of luck. Come back to us soon.
Melanie- Tabitha I couldn’t thank you enough for this exhilarating interview. You are truly a beautiful soul. It was my pleasure to be in your presence. Thank you. God Bless.
Photos by Sarai J. M. Davis