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Interview: Genna East
Genna East is a gracious, lovely and warm presence in HubVille.
Many race to her hubs when published, as she is one of the most compelling, well - composed and creative writers in our community.
To me, Genna is like fine chocolate and champagne. I know I cannot have it every day, but her work is to be savored when offered.
Join me in finding out more about this beautiful lady, in her own words:
The times I feel most relaxed are ....
… usually during the early morning and evening hours after a brisk walk or run by the ocean.
The times I feel saddest are...
… when I think about the rather ominous direction in which humanity seems to be headed. I have faith that the more positive elements of the human spirit will ultimately succeed, but not without significant loss and sacrifice along the way.
Something I'd like to teach others...
… to encourage teachers to approach history with a different perspective as it is too often poorly written and taught in our schools. (We need more Alastar Packer’s.) People are more than names on a page, a photograph or an artist’s rendering. Asking us to become engrossed in a compressed salad of dates, places and events is foolish. It’s like asking us to appreciate an elementary sketch of the human form drawn by someone who doesn't understand human anatomy. We are told that history is ‘his story.’ Very well then - who was he?
My secret passion is ...
… to learn how to write compelling song lyrics. I sometimes compose song melodies on my piano, but never lyrics. I'd love to learn how.
If you peeked in my junk drawer, you'd be surprised to find ...
… things I forgot were there in the first place. It's really more hubby’s drawer than mine. I have large storage drawers instead because of all the family memorabilia I squirrel away like nuts for the winter. I think of my grandchildren that have yet to arrive; they may find enjoyment and discovery from the past, as well as a sense of continuity.
My date from Hades ....
I've never had a date from Hades, nor can I imagine one. I have a tendency to take a negative and turn it into a positive. Seriously though, my dream date would go something like this: It is evening, and the setting is an outdoor table with an ocean view at Sarento's on the Beach in Maui. Ernest Hemingway is seated at my left, and Vincent Moore is on my right. (Two of my favorite writers.) Can you imagine the stimulating conversation between these two gentlemen? I would take copious mental notes as I sipped my red wine in the ocean breeze.
My worst/ or funniest vacation story ....
Several years ago, we flew out to San Francisco for a few days in December for the Christmas holidays. Snow storms hit pretty hard that year, and between the return flight layover in Chicago and added delays into Boston Logan, it took nearly two days to get home. It was one those vacations where we needed another vacation to recuperate from the joys of traveling.
A life goal on my bucket list ....
… is to visit Tuscany, ‘’the art palace of Italy.” It also has a rich, natural beauty I would love to experience.
What I most look for in a friend...
My good friends are wonderful people I treasure. They are from varied walks of life, but one of the qualities they all have in common is that they are exactly who they say they are. I have very little patience with phonies. (This lack of patience is something I'm still working on.)
Something I will never part with...
My piano. It's a mid-sized Steinway grand that has been in my father’s family for generations, and will be eventually passed down to my son, Bud. My mother began to give me piano lessons on the Steinway when I was 6 years old, and I, in turn, gave lessons to Bud. Music has given so much to my family over the years; this piano is - in a sense – at the heart of this gift.
A life lesson I will never forget ....
… is to listen to my instincts; they may not always be right, but at times they can be my best friend.
The worst part of getting older...
Actually, I don't yet have a ‘worst part’ yet. The best part of aging is the ability to laugh at ourselves...especially, when we look back at our impatience during those very young and ‘I am immortal’ years. We were too young to understand that tomorrows will arrive much sooner than we think, and yesterdays will be missed.
A writing lesson I learned the hard way...
I wouldn't define it as ‘the hard way,’ but what I've learned, personally, over the years is this: Read and write often. Read as much as we can in addition to the popular literature of the day; the classics, biographies, mysteries, science, history, and so on. Get out into the world. It's one thing to read about a Jackson Pollock painting; it's quite another to see it with our own eyes.
At some point in our lives, we discover that everything involving the human condition exists in relationship. It's pretty amazing when that happens, and is a very humbling experience.
On a side note: When completing a writing project, always walk away and return later for a ‘cold read.’ Either that, or keep an editor or two in your junk drawer. Toss in a couple of red Bic pens, and they'll feel right at home. J
My favorite movie and why...
Nelle Harper Lee’s, To Kill a Mockingbird, for the same reasons I love the novel that comes alive in the film adaptation. I can't imagine anyone other than Gregory Peck playing Atticus Finch.
“Scout” reminds me of when I was a young girl in my tomboy years; Lee’s candid reflections often strike that chord. Yet regardless of my age, her wonderful novel continues to prevail with compelling and timeless significance. The brilliance lies not only in theme, but the how and the why of what she later recalls, and the straightforwardness and fluidity of her words.
Mockingbird is a superb example of how the best writing goes beyond the genesis of the narrative -- it is in the telling of the story itself.
What subjects/genres do you enjoy reading/ about ?
I'm an eclectic writer and an omnivorous reader who finds a number of subjects and themes interesting. So perhaps it might be easier to emphasize what I don't enjoy reading: Politics, modern political science, or whatever they're calling it these days. It’s disheartening to discover how many published authors have not done their homework, and/or write with a particular bias that is couched in convenience thinking. Whatever happened to facts?
What would be a subject/genre that you would like to read more/ about...
I would like to gain more insight into how to write a compelling mystery short story. I've never written one before, and I think it would be great fun -- as well as challenging. I'm still a novice at Haiku, and look forward to learning more about this genre.
Can you take us to a favorite piece of writing on HubPages …
There are veteran, talented writers with HP that I greatly respect and admire. I'm also impressed with some of the youngsters. Early last year, Amy Becherer recommended a new hubber, Chris Warner (chriscwarner), a student at Northwestern University when he briefly joined HP. I once commented on one of Arb's excellent hubs: “Good writing does not seek to do a tap-dance on our foreheads. Like your poem, it takes us by the hand and jars our imaginations as it connects us to something we are ‘seeing’ for the first time". Chris' work, Momentary Passing, is another illustration of this talent.
What song makes you want to pack up & leave the party...?
It's not a song I hate – quite the contrary – but it carries a special, poignant feeling for me that isn't ideal for outdoor barbecues or fun get-togethers with friends.
Including my folks, I've lost five people I loved most dearly -- two before their time. I carry them all in my heart, and they appear in my poetry at times. This song is more than gratitude and hope; it is my tribute to who they were, what they meant to me, and the ways they continue to enrich my life.
♥♥♥ My Heart Will Go On-Celine Dion ♥♥♥
Thank you, Genna....
I was touched when Genna asked to include this at the end of her interview:
On a closing note, I want to thank Maria for giving hubbers an opportunity to learn more about their fellow writers. I’m so very shy when it comes to talking about me. But I trust Maria, and she has made this interview process both easy and fun! J
Genna, I wanted to select a Supremes song that has a timeless classic beauty, just like you.
As such, I hope you enjoy their rendition of: "Somewhere", one of my favorites ever since West Side Story. Thank you for taking the time to share yourself with us.
© Maria Jordan (revised September, 2014)