Thrilled to share with you this intriguing interview with the eclectic creative, Rania M M Watts. We are all so grateful to get to work with Rania. She connects and inspires the writing community so much. What a wonderful privilege it always is to support and participate in the diverse events and projects she creates/coordinates. The dedication Rania puts into her craft is impressive. In celebration of her birthday, some members from our group of scribes put together a variety of Q & A content that we hope will certainly pique your interest. Make sure to listen to Rania’s compelling spoken verse piece we’ve included below. Happy Birthday Rania!
Valisa Bernardino: We all know you have a great love for candy, if you were a candy what kind would you be and why?
Rania Watts; A few years ago we had taken a day trip to the zoo; in the gift shop they had a Nerds Rope. I would be that, the nerds are the cement and the licorice rope in the heart being protected by that shell. They tasted really PHENOMENAL as well, I still remember eating it on the way home the minute I got in the car for the return trip home.
VB: You are a woman of many talents, what is your most unusual talent?
RW: The way that I visualise the world around me; I see things in black and white however acknowledge the shades of grey that are present.
VB: And since we are celebrating your birthday, what is a birthday without blowing out candles and making birthday wishes? If you had 3 birthday wishes that would instantly come true, what would they be?
RW: That my kids have whimsical lives they appreciate, for all my old ghosts to come back to life one more time to tell them all how much I love them, and to eradicate suicide off this universe.
Liz Lugo: As we all know, you’re insanely in love with horror movies. I’m curious, if you could be a famous character in a horror movie, who would you be and why?
Rania Watts: I knew you were going to ask me a horror based question. I am torn between Candy Man because of my ADDICTION of all things\’ confection & Freddie, well his dream capacity; which I would use to reassure human beings as they slept not torture them. Our dreams have the potential to utterly devastate us depending on the trauma experienced in the course of a lifetime. To house a realm that exists outside the physical plane that supports and ensconces humanity; with a desire to protect from the lifetimes of ugly we are constantly forced to face.
LL: If you could make a collaboration with someone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
RW: I am currently addicted to old Greek dialogues, I might say Plato because of the constant logic puzzles that are always present within constant questions with regard to the meaning and depth of life. I don\’t know why my mind is gravitating towards creatures of myth; I would have to say the creator of Medusa and the Phoenix because together they create one of my favourite pieces.
LL: As a woman of many talents, we already discussed your most unusual talent, but is there any talents you would have always loved to master?
RW: To draw! I see things in a certain way, I would love to be able to express what I see in my mind on a piece of paper. I am happy though to describe it and request Val to draw and image based on my vision, she consistently nails all of my requests.
LL: What advice would you give to your teen self?
RW: I know you are not coping well, I promise you keep your head down and keep an eye on the terrain. With each step you take you will see that your life will come full circle, you will be happy — simply make your way through the muck in the same fashion of a lotus flower. I would also tell her that she needs to fill her heart with self compassion. I actually wrote a poem about my 47 year old self speaking to my 63 year old self https://www.cciqpress.com/2020/10/ive-got-some-things-i-need-to-say-to.html?q=47 I was having a difficult time acclimating to my return to college after decades of absence from academia. Turning back time was never something that was on my mind. When you are the one in your class who is considered the unpopular black sheep you tend to internalize everything — yes, I am different. Extremely so, I would never change that facet of my character as those protective barriers assisted me in becoming a stronger human being — who never shied away from anything difficult. I want the most difficult assignment or test, it is only to prove the possibility in my potential. There\’s been nothing easy about my path, it\’s just my life.
Sonja McClure: Tony Moore is a tremendous influence and mentor of yours. What draws you to his artistic creations? You’ve had many opportunities to collaborate with Tony. What programs and projects have you done together in the past and what are you currently working on?
Rania Watts: The manner in which Tony writes, he ALWAYS creates music not only with purpose; also usually ensconced inside a message or a story. I always enjoy listening to the origin stories; they are like icebergs, above beauty and perfection however below the surface there are stitched lessons or messages that form his songs. My current OBSESSION by Tony is his Awake series, if you have not heard it I strongly suggest you go and listen to it.
During a brainstorming session Tony suggested creating an event like the Poetry Olympics, Tony also suggested Poetry _ _ _ _ _ _ (I left that blank for a purpose coming sometime Summer 2021.) Currently, I am Research and Support for RIGHT HERE! With Tony Moore a Facebook live show that will be celebrating a year on March 24, 2020. Currently every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday from 8-10pm UK time. Also, I am the admin for Tony Moore\’s Musical Emporium live on Soho Radio Saturday from 12-2 pm UK time; which translates to 7-9 am EST. Both these projects I am enjoy most. However, if I am to be honest my favourite collaboration is having the lyrics for Tony\’s song Anthem as my forward for my forthcoming book Verity. From the moment I heard Anthem — I knew I had to request permission. Anthem expresses so flawlessly in verse what Verity is truly about.
SM: You’re the creator and founder of the Poetry Olympics and Totem Poetry Olympics. Quite the amazing, worldwide, competitions you invented! TPO is a month-long event with daily poetic challenges. Over the course of all the different Poetry Olympics Games and events, hundreds of prizes have been awarded to winning competitors. How did these various competitions originate and operate? What poetic styles and prizes have you featured?
RW: Yes, I am! I\’m very proud of it. I\’ll give you the Reader\’s Digest version, one day I was whining to Tony and he threw all of these ideas on me — for some reason Poetry Olympics stuck. I could see it all materialise in my mind. It was beautiful the number of poetic styles that are out of there for writers to explore. New styles of poetry are being cultivated as I write this interview. I was inspired by Author Linda Lokhee\’s organic style and thought, what if I had a poetry contest where it housed a two tier purpose. The first contest would be individuals submitting their own poetic styles and the second for everyone who had an Instagram to participate and write poetry based on that style. I feel that the creation process is not one that should be taken for granted; it must be appreciated. Poetic styles start as simple like a Haiku, Haiban, or Tanka and towards the end of the Olympics it typically moves through the Sonnets, Rispetto. Originally the prizes were a mix of printed and ebooks. I am extremely moved by music, when I decided that I wanted prizes to be spoken verse, I\’d thought to include songs too. Poetry & Lyrics always intertwine.
SM: This past year you made a challenge to write a poem every day! What an impressive and incredible aspiration to set, especially with the ongoing obstacles of 2020. Was it difficult to focus and to stay motivated to write during the Pandemic? What are some of the themes and inspirations behind the witty titles and poems? Will we see some of the pieces in any forthcoming publications?
RW: That challenge took a massive nose dive into the abyss! I did post every day however, the writing everyday component was a little difficult to continue throughout school. Poetry, Music, and Advocacy are my truest passions, everything I write encompasses those themes. I\’ve never experienced writer\’s block since I started the Poetry Olympics — poetry for some reason oozes. I find that when my emotions are heightened that is the best time to write. Get it out raw and beautify it — if the expression is not right it makes the words used fall flat on so many levels. I enjoy utilising quotes from shows or movies. One of my favourite shows is The Flash, the lines in there are quite clever — my favourite is Captain Cold; \”Make the plan, execute the plan, expect the plan to go off the rails.\” Life constantly throws us curve balls our only defense is to maintain the essence of who we are… I have two forthcoming publications Verity, Spring 2020 & Broken Candy, Summer 2021 both of which mean so much to me. Verity poems have been harvested from the blog and are no longer able to read directly on there. However, you never know, I like to pop things in on the spur of a moment.
SM: As a trained vocalist, what are some of the songs you enjoy singing?
RW: I miss singing so much! These days the only singing that I do is while watching RIGHT HERE! After I married, music was not the priority that it had been historically. I did prepare for my grade one theory test and grade 5 voice test however, never continued. One of my friends last week told me that I have a Broadway type of voice, she was right, I love singing musical songs — my favourite is Angel of Music from Phantom — Christine\’s solo.
SM: You have released several fantastic poetry books as well as curated wonderful writing projects and Anthologies! Out of all of your versatile works, what is your all-time favorite poem? Also, for our listening pleasure, would you be willing to share a spoken word version of the piece?
RW: “Champagne Tears” from my book, Cement Covered Ink Quills & Rarieties.
And, yes, recording enclosed!