Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we interviewed Shoushan B, a writer, a poet, a visual artist, a visionary, and author of Through The Soul Into Life, an engrossing collection of poetry that depicts the challenging experiences we all go through to salvage our authenticity, spirituality, and empathy while experiencing the complexities and the challenges of our inner world. (Read the review here.)
Shoushan Balian is of Armenian origin, born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, later living in Paris, and now a resident of California. She is a writer, a poet, a visual artist and a visionary. She had published some of her poems on her Facebook, Shoushan B writer’s page, and read at poetry reading circles in the Bay Area. Through the Soul Into Life is Shoushan B’s first published poetry book.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Most probably early on as an infant, like everyone else unconsciously I learned that I have a voice (shrieks and screeches) and adults will respond to it. Later on my first clear experience of learning the power of language was in middle school. I had to write an essay for my class about victory. At first I dreaded the thought of writing it, but then I just let words and my imagination take over me, seeing myself as a swimmer in a competition reaching the finish line first. And to my surprise my teacher and the whole class applauded for my essay.
Do you think someone could be a poet if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
No, because poetry is about intensity and deep thoughts. And the only way we can experience these is when we feel strongly.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Trust yourself; if you have the urge to write, you have the talent.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I would say time. Life happens all the time and too many other things always need to be taken care of. Writing is a solitary process which demands time, space and a clear head.
What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I like to read Isabel Allende. All her books have had a strong influence on me. I love her intensity, her humor, her brutal honesty, her ability to weave together history, politics, passion, love, death, human enigma… I go through all sorts of emotions while reading her books.
What in particular attracted you to poetry?
I’m attracted to poetry because it’s bold, it’s straightforward. In a few lines I can clearly paint a whole scene. I don’t need to use many words, many paragraphs to be able to make a point. And I enjoy the sound of words and the rhythm of lines in a poem. Writing a poem is putting together many different creative aspects of myself.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?
Well, I still face my biggest challenge as a writer, which is the process of condensing and distilling my raw emotions and my ideas to transform them into words that will carry the most impact to the reader.
What inspired you to write about themes of women’s empowerment, going against social norms, spirituality, and so on, in your collection? Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else?
Trying to make sense of life, questioning the unfairness of life and realizing that most of the problems on earth, wars, famine, inequality, environmental destruction, etc. are caused by humans, humans who aren’t connected to their own truth and to the universal truths of compassion and empathy. Many of us have an ides of who we are without really acknowledging our authentic selves, as we are conditioned by society, media, religion, etc.
The inspiration for Through the Soul Into Life started with myself. Having the dilemma of a woman asserting herself in every walk of life and struggling to treasure her feminine qualities.
What do you hope readers will take away from this collection?
I hope that the readers will connect to different poems in this collection and see their paths unfolding in front of their eyes.
How did you decide on the title Through the Soul Into Life?
We are souls living on earth with so much wisdom and possibility. But we can live absently without this awareness and create misery for ourselves and for others. Accepting and embracing our truth will make a great difference in the quality of our life on earth overall.
Categories: BookView Review Interview