I came across some beautiful romantic poetry recently via Twitter. That poem melted my heart so much and I kept thinking about it over again. And I knew I had to talk to the writer…say hello and maybe get to know her favorite coffee…or maybe ask about her muse…maybe more…or maybe I was crazy expecting a “hi” from this great writer. But am I crazy if I say she is here now and happy to share here her poetry, writings and some of her world? It is a great pleasure to have a chat with Miss Cathy Nerujen – writer, poet, and an editor staff for a British newspaper. Let’s cut to the chase and begin the interview. 🙂
Fehl: Hi, Cathy 🙂 How was your life before you started your online portfolio?
Cathy: Hi Fehl. Thank you for the chance to talk on Philpad. Well my life before being an online writer and published poet was rather mixed. I have written poetry since childhood, and I was always reading poems. Being British Asian, my background means I was exposed to Thai poetry and Indian poems. Life was mostly about studying to get good grades at School and later for University, and I always kept notebooks and filled them with poetry. My parents were strict when it came to studies, so we did well at school. In my spare time I hung out with friends and watched movies and listened to music. I’m close to my younger sister. I wasn’t a social butterfly, like many others were. My sister Teena always encouraged my poetry writing. She was my first audience. So that was my um… early portfolio or collection of poems. It grew and evolved as I did.
Fehl: How old were you when you wrote your first poem?
Cathy: I can’t be sure what age, probably around 10 or so. I loved rhymes and verse. I loved Rudyard Kipling and other writers like Saki (Hector Hugo Monroe). Interesting that Saki started life working for newspapers before he found fame as a writer. Hopefully I am following in his footsteps. I had the poetry and writing bug from an early age.
Fehl: Why do you write? How did you discover it’s a passion?
Cathy: Writing was at first an escape for me. It was a welcome challenge to me. Being the middle child in our family, I was heavy into books. I was the reader. I write because I simply love writing and poetry in particular. Memories or emotions, anything might trigger a poem.
A Poem allows me to explore my heart, mind… everything. My imagination was boundless. Writing lets me explore my feelings and look at things in a different, and often a better way.”
My passion was always there. I studied words and how they were written. The better writers injected much of their personality into their writing. I also found a lot in common with writers like Keats, Shelley, and Emily Dickinson, who is still my favorite poet. They wrote about many topics like love, loss and death. I was good at it, and I aced in English studies in school. I love the written word.
Fehl: Who are your favorite authors?
Cathy: There are so many of them. I love A.A. Milne, O. Henry, Premchand , Anita Desai or R.K. Narayan (these three are Indian writers). Rudyard Kipling, W.B Yeats, J.K. Rowling. I love Vikram Seth. The Author Rama II was a Thai king and he was a famous writer. More recently Angkarn Kalayanapong was a great Thai poet who “breathed” poetry. He called poetry “the vitamin for the soul”. I enjoy modern poets like Carol Ann Duffy and Seamus Heaney. The poems of Rumi, the 12th century Sufi poet of Afghanistan is also in my top list of favorite poets. I love how Rumi’s poetry surpassed consciousness itself. His fluid words and language transcend most barriers; they unlock any door presented to a mind. My favorite writers are liberators of hearts and minds.
Fehl: I have read your poetry collection and I know they are mostly about love. They are mostly romantic and sexy. I wonder, have you written and published stuff other than romance and love?
Cathy: Most of my poems are personal, and of recent years have been romantic and somehow about love. I have experimented with adventure stories, and recently tried my hand at Short stories. I helped a fellow writer, Cassy Mantis with the editing of a novel recently. (She is well known on Hub Pages as the writer Cheeky Girl.) I am working on a few things actually. I am very close to publishing my first poetry book. I am re-discovering the joy of blogging, to my delight. And I have also assisted in book editing for a handful of other writers. I am dabbling in freelance writing. My life goal is to be published as a writer.
Fehl: What is your muse?
Cathy: A poet’s muse is often the object of her affection, or the source of inspiration that leads to creativity. Such was the way with painters, writers and musicians. Every painter has some muse. So too do writers. My muse when I was younger… was the person I was usually having a serious crush on, or with whom I was in love. My muse is mostly someone who means a lot to me and inspires me in so many ways. Nowadays my muse is a beautiful person with whom I am so very in love. She is Philippine. I think you may know her…
Fehl: Yes, I know her so much… (smiling now)
What inspires you to write?
Cathy: Life, love, friendship. Memories, emotions, people… lovers… beauty, creative people… the Human spirit… Music, the Universe. There are so many things, Fehl. As I look at the lives of so many wonderful creative souls – I see that they feel connected to something. They are guided, somehow incarnated by something, a power that is beyond or deep within them. It’s somehow inside all of us.
This is something I have always felt as a poet – that inner spirit, a vision, an inward soul or a voice, an invisible “life’s companion”, and it can be a quest for truth. That truth speaks to me… it befriends me for some reason… I don’t know why, Fehl. It has mystery in it… maybe it borders on the paranormal, and shakes hands with the infinite. Writing is an appetite I can never fully sate. I can only explore it more, then more again…”
Fehl: That is so beautiful. I know what you mean.
What do you do when you’re having writer’s block?
Cathy: Oh I just take a break, have a samosa and come back and keep writing. I actually take regular breaks every 30 minutes or so, and so my brain doesn’t get too tired as fast as if I were writing constantly for a long time. I might eat a fruit or play with the cat, or chat with somebody nearby. I have never had serious writers block. I just get tired sometimes. Taking breaks can reduce that tiredness. Taking some Ginseng is good for staying focused.
Fehl: If you were a famous character from a book/movie/fairytale/tv, who would you be and why?
Cathy: There are so many possible answers here… well it happens I am already in a book, admittedly not published yet. But as soon as Cassy Mantis publishes it, then I will have your final answer. But as for other books? It could be a woman from ancient mythology, perhaps Greek mythology? Audrey Hepburn is one amazing lady I would love to have walked in her shoes. Mila Kunis maybe? Julia Roberts? Gina Gershon? For fairytale… sadly no actual characters of women are quite what I would desire to be. They usually got burned, hanged, whipped, eaten or fed to someone. Heh. That’s kids stories for you. On TV, perhaps Jessica Beals. As to why…? Well, I am a fan of the show “The L Word”. Need I say more?
Fehl: Take it easy (laughs) I think I need some Ginseng.
Who is the writer or person (dead or alive) you’d wish to have coffee with?
Cathy: Oscar Wilde was a dear wonderful man and his writing was sublime. I would love to have met him, and tell him how he would change so much in writing. Shakespeare is another. He was a genius. Sylvia Plath is another author I love. I would love to meet Emily Dickinson. My close friend Cassy lost her grandfather some time ago. I’d give anything to have a coffee with him. He told me things about myself… that came true. I would love to thank him for his love and gentle wisdom. But there is a beautiful lady writer and blogger from the Philippines and she is a writer that I would like to meet and share a mocha latte, and more… She is very special to me.
Fehl: Cathy, if you’d be in the Philippines, I’d definitely like to have coffee with you 🙂
Tell us about your website. I am an avid fan of your posts there as they help so many writers in building their presence – both online and offline.
Cathy: My website is a poetry website and blog combined, it’s simply
It’s focused on poetry related issues like self-publishing and ebooks. The rise of the ebook is a game-changer for all writers now. It’s also a worry and challenge for publishers, where books are their bread and butter business. Getting people familiar with one’s work means blogging, tweeting about it and linking to it, and engaging everyone with good writing. I engage in discussions on forums or wherever the conversation leads, whether on LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter. I also have my own chat page on my blog that uses ChatWing. My current website is many times better than my first website.
Fehl: How can we subscribe to your website’s daily posts?
Cathy: I have my RSS feed on my site
People can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Tumblr.
Fehl: Where can we read all your poetry in the web?
Cathy: All of my poetry is currently on Hubpages and now also on my blog Cathy Nerujen Poetry but I have held back some poems for publishing reasons as they are now in book form and I am compiling and typesetting my poetry book. All my writing is already copyrighted officially. I also have an Artist Designer designing my book cover. It’s exciting to see it slowly come together.
Fehl: Tell us about your first book. Where can we buy it?
Cathy: The book is not on sale just yet but it will be published online and available on Amazon, and all major retailers online. It will also be available as a paperback book of poetry. People can still read my poetry on Hub Pages. I am also looking at dedicated ways of publishing it electronically for people with mobile devices.
Fehl: Do you earn money online by writing poetry?
Cathy: I earn a small amount of money from ads that appear on my hubs and my website. I am a big fan of the blog Brain Pickings created by Maria Popova. She uses donations from readers and Amazon Affiliate commissions to pay for her blog. Her blog business model means she has editorial freedom that most bloggers don’t have, and so, there are no ads or Google Adsense on her blog. She is Google-free, and she has no restrictions to what she blogs about. Her blog is her main source of income. She is an exception to a rule (or expectation), and that surprises many bloggers. There needs to be a lot more said about the earning blogger who earns a living from writing.
Fehl: Can you share some tips and advice to our readers here who want to publish their stories, blogs, poems and other creative writings online?
Cathy: Yes, follow your dream and keep writing. Write about what you love and write about what you know. Write with passion and never stop. Writing has to find an audience of readers. The blog Brain Pickings is a stylish blog related to books already in the book sphere, and so books will always have a huge following. People have the option of buying all the books mentioned on Maria’s blog. So a poet can surely follow that logic. And so can any writer. The trick is to repurpose the blog to suit the writing you normally publish on intend to publish, so that everyone is synced with what you write in different places or blogs.
Likewise, if what you write is relatable to people, they will read more. If you are a “Johnny-One-Note” who just writes about the same subject but never varies it, then that’s something you could review. Publish your writings on websites like Hub Pages or Squidoo, or your own blog to test if it is liked and read by others. When 10,500 read my hubs and my poetry and told me they loved my poetry, I knew I had a poetry audience. That was 2 years ago. And you were one writer on Hub Pages who told me you believed in me, and gave me good advice and encouraged me to follow my dream. Thank you for this, Fehl.
Fehl: Oh Cathy, there are many poets and writers and they are like stars. I always knew you were a supernova.
Cathy: Another tip I learned is to treat yourself as a kind of “brand”, and have a “voice” that stands out. Develop a rapport with your readers through Social media like Twitter and Facebook. Take writing serious. Your readers will notice it. Follow your heart. Learn from how other writers get published. Copy the successful writers and bloggers.
Fehl: Thank you very much, Cathy. I would never forget this. I’m still pinching myself to believe I have interviewed my favorite poet and writer in the world. You inspire me so much and I know people would be inspired too reading your writings. I hope this interview would inspire a lot of people.
My name is Fehl and I love interviewing people. These people are not celebrities, not listed in Forbes or Time magazine yet I feel someday they could be. Sometimes I just meet them at Starbucks or bump into them in Boracay or I just like their current Instagram. These people I know will inspire others. These people are Filipino…by blood or by heart – and that gets my attention 🙂 “