We had the good fortune of connecting with S. W. and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi S., how do you think about risk?
How boring a life without a little risk? Although for me, the total consumption of risk, is the head-on collision with truth. To take a risk within what I write, within what I think, within all I share, is to confront those truths, my truths. And oh, what a terrifying thing that is! It took me some time to understand what being truthful with myself looked and felt like. Admitting things that I had experienced, accepting my faults. Because without every moment lived, I could not be who am I. The greatest part of this is vulnerability. Sharing myself, my truths with an audience that could say things without any consequences. And of course, what is the worst thing a reader or critic could say? Well, there are many things. So risk-taking is sharing my truths with the world without any fear of rejection. For when you know something to be true, you stand by it with a kind of peace, the fear dissipates alongside any possible negativity that someone could push back. Growing up in a church was a bittersweet experience. The bitter part was I was gay. And that’s something, back then and still now, is an uncomfortable thing to be at times, especially in a church that doesn’t support such a person or love. Living through all those emotions and thoughts held me back for so long. Still to this day, I can feel at times an Invisible rope wrapped around me. Scared to share. Scared to be. Frightened to show the world what I am and what I think. Yet, because of risk, because of fear, there’s a new appreciation for the aftermath. At that point in time after you share something there is silence. Looking around the room with darting eyes, sweat dripping down your back, heart anxiously thumping. Then it only takes one person to change it all. Someone who felt the same as you, as me. And because I took that risk, it helped them. It moved then. It made them feel less alone.
Risk has forced me into such a world of excitement I never thought possible. For my writing, for my career, and openness to my fellow human beings. A world of connectivity that’s shaped my definition of community, of love, of support. One of my favorite parts about writing is how it connects us all. Words have the power to heal, to illuminate, to interweave us within each other’s hearts and wounds. When I hear that scared voice in the back of my head terrified of risk, I now know that it’s a sign to do it. To jump, to leap. Because what is life without risk, without truth, without the beauty of the human experience?

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been writing since I can remember. Journaling, elementary school ABAB rhyme schemes, to short stories, and many attempts at a novel. It took me over twenty years of such to finally realize how much joy and peace it brought to my life. With any realization what does a writer do? Well, they write! And that is exactly what I did. Two years later I had completed my first work of poetry called, “The White Pages-Words to the fill void.“ A year after that I had started my first novel. Well, some years have gone by and I have learned that novels are very hard and take much time! But guess what? I now call myself a writer. That is what I am most proud of. I have achieved a truth about myself that I had been refusing to give in to for a large amount of time. The lesson is to write. Write and write and then re-write, and then write some more. Failure is not rejection, it is never writing to begin with. I have learned that I am, and that is more than enough. Regardless of status, followers, likes. Words don’t care about critics, they care about their placement on a page. (And punctuation. they are very particular about that).
I want the world to know that I exist. That I want to share and I want to connect. The greatest thing words can do is to move you into a place of peace. A place within a moment where nothing else exists except existing. And that is what I want to do for my readers. To move them as I have been moved with words so many times before.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think it’s important to preface this with the fact that my friend visiting has also just invented a teleportation and time travel device. So, naturally, I have planned an itinerary of limitless potential, location, and time.

1.) First on the docket! We are headed back to the mid-1920s to hang out with Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. We have some tea, talk about life and lesbian love affairs straight into the evening where tea turns into gin and tonics by the fireplace and an intimate poetry circle reading.

2.) Then we are walking down the streets of Paris alongside Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. After much brandy and red wine, Ernest and my friend decide to fistfight proving to be more enjoyable than any of us thought possible. Ernest was the winner. After observing some of Picasso’s latest works, we are on to the next stop.

3.) Then it’s off to the pyramids of Giza for a camel ride along the Nile. My friend does not fair well in the dry sun, so as you can imagine that didn’t last long.

4.) Hungry for some future activities, we arrive in the year 3040 where animals can talk and water has taken over much of the planet. I had set up a nice cup of tea with dolphins and we were very surprised to learn sea urchins are quite funny.

5.) After a taste of water worlds and undersea creatures, we had to stop by the lost city of Atlantis, where although the restaurant didn’t have my reservation on file, the King was much obliged to share a table with us and talk about the history of the city and the new, and very annoying, changes the City Commsionaer wants to undergo towards the center of his kingdom. We shared some productive solutions he seemed to be very happy with.

6.) And lastly, we end the visit with a beautiful horseback ride along the coast during sunset.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I must start by thanking my dear friend and fellow Pisces/Sag Laura. For her companionship and introduction to YOU has made my life all the better. I thank my mother, who when I think of magic she is the orchestrator of all the make-believe within my life. My imagination is a grandiose ether of possibility because of her. Thank you my father, for every second of my life has been filled with fun and laughter. Teaching me that a smile is a much easier method of transportation out of a bad situation than any other form of transportation. My older brother for allowing me to steal his clothes when we were growing up because they made me feel as powerful and cool as I always thought (and still think to this day) he is. I have written many letters of dedication already, but to love. In all forms. What would my life be without you and the absence of you? I have learned so much and lost so little when I think about all that you have given me and my words. I am forever in your debt.

And thank you to the one I love, that I adore. Within the deepest parts of my being and the heaviest weight of the world, I am yours. There is something to be said about believing in oneself, but when you look over at that one person staring back at you, believing in you with stars in their eyes, well, you can truly do anything. Thank you for your support and for always wanting to hold my hand.

I would also like to thank Virginia Woolf, W.H. Auden, and Billy Collins. Ms. Woolf your work and existence have transcended my spirit and soul throughout space. Without that, my career would not be possible. Thank you for that journey. Mr. Auden, your poems not only moved my young heartbroken years but pushed me into a place of understanding that sadness is simply the best muse there is. And Mr. Collins, your words scored many years of my life when I was learning what poetry actually meant. Thank you for awakening my poetic heart. Litany will forever be my favorite words ever put together on a page.

Website: www.wordsbysw.com

Instagram: @wordsbysw

Other: You can find my first published work of poetry on Amazon Kindle. It is called The White Pages. Here is the link- https://www.amazon.com/White-Pages-Words-fill-void-ebook/dp/B0861SW2PH/ref=sr_1_1?crid=BB1OVE8AGAPV&keywords=words+to+fill+the+void+by+sw&qid=1640276895&sprefix=words+to+fill+the+void+by+s%2Caps%2C980&sr=8-1

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