#BrokenAsides with Sallyanne Rock


When did you first feel like a writer?
I think it was when I had my first piece of writing published – a piece of flash fiction in an online journal. I’ve always been ‘good at writing’ – school and college essays, documentation and web pages, etc., but I’d never thought of myself as a writer before I got published. Looking back I’ve always been a writer, long before I felt like one or would have given myself that title.

What’s the most interesting thing that has inspired your writing and what was the result?
My local art gallery, General Office, had an exhibition of Polish film posters, displaying some of the most interesting and powerful art I’ve ever seen. Alongside it they ran a poetry workshop led by Bohdan Piasecki, writing in response to the art. The posters inspired me to write some really intriguing drafts.

Paint us a picture: what does your writing process look like? Do you write in coffee shops at night or only on an old type-writer?
I wish I could paint you an interesting picture here, but realistically my writing process involves me sat on my bed with my notebook, in whatever time I can snatch in between everything else.

Describe your ideal reader: who would your work speak to?
A lot of my work up until now has focused on what it’s like to have lived through an abusive relationship, so I hope my work will resonate with others who have suffered any kind of trauma in their lives. Poetry has been so healing for me and I hope that people reading my work can find their own healing in it too.

Who’s an author you’ve changed your mind about and why?
I always loved Philip Larkin until I found out about his racist and misogynist views. So while I appreciate he was a good poet, I really can’t bring myself to read his work anymore.

If you could interview any other writer/artist, who would it be and why?
I’m not sure I’d be up to the task of interviewing him, but I’d love to spend an hour in the company of Anthony Anaxagorou. I think he’s one of the most technically brilliant poets living today, and the insight and wisdom he shares is of incredible value, and he’s so generous with it. The work he does to raise the profile of poetry and to create opportunities for marginalised and underrepresented groups is phenomenal.

What motivates you to keep writing?
I can’t not write; I get itchy when I stop for any length of time. It’s more like a compulsion than motivation! Reading or hearing amazing poetry by other writers is also really inspiring to me. I often get the motivation to write while I’m reading poetry, or if I’ve just been to a spoken word event.

How do you deal with writer’s block or being overwhelmed by the writing process?
I just pick up my pencil and write literally anything. Just a load of nonsense or the same phrase over and over until something vaguely inspiring comes out. I also find that going for a long walk on my own tends to generate ideas, so I do that if I’m really stuck.

Where would you like to see yourself in a decade? A creative writing teacher? As a best-seller?
I recently resigned from my corporate career after more than 20 years to go freelance. So, in a decade I’d love to be in a position where I’m earning my living from writing; perhaps mentoring and sharing my knowledge and experience with other poets on their poetry journey.

What has your work taught you about yourself?
It’s taught me that I have something to offer this world, and that despite some difficult years that my creativity and inspiration is still within me and that I can use it to write poetry that creates a connection with other people.

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