Welcome to Writers Zen, Cari! Today, we’d like to chat with you a little bit about your new book of poetry and reflections, The Lord is Good, and talk to you about your writing journey. This is not your first publication, you’ve been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, several anthologies, and have co-authored a book. What was your first published piece, and how did it change your world?
My first published piece of work ever was actually when I was in elementary school, sometime between 4th and 6th grade. A writer came to our class and talked to us about poetry. I don’t remember all the little details but I do remember writing a very short poem about a strawberry describing human emotions. The writer was surprised with my finished poem and ended up submitting it to one of those huge poetry anthologies and I was published in it. I wish I still had that book. I had loved writing short stories before that, but that experience with the visiting writer and then getting published really sparked my love for poetry and grew my passion for writing even more.
The Lord is Good consists of poems about your faith, and your works in the anthologies are poems, but the book you co-authored, Loving You, A Journey Through Forever, is written in journal entry form. Which is your favorite writing style, and why?
My favorite form of writing is poetry. I love all writing and I definitely dabble in a bit of everything. I can get lost in the world of a story, but poetry has just always come easy to me and has flowed pretty naturally.
How was co-authoring a book different from writing poems?
Co-authoring Loving You, A Journey Through Forever with my sister was a big labor of love on both of our parts and I love that we did it together. Since it was in journal entry form and we each had a character we were responsible for, we depended on one another, she couldn’t write her entry until I finished mine and vice versa. Writing my poems is totally different. When inspiration strikes I can get out my journal and pen and write until I can’t write anymore and I’m only accountable to myself for what I get done, which is a blessing and a curse.
As with other authors, writing is not your whole life. You’re the wife of a fireman, and the mother of three young boys – 23 months apart! I remember when I had two young boys, four years apart, and I went back to college and tried to fit in classes and homework around my mothering and how difficult that was. How do you fit writing and poetry into your life while keeping a handle on your sanity?
How do I fit writing into my life while keeping a handle on my sanity? Good question. First off I am not at all sane. My house is a circus and I’m not sure if I’m the ringmaster or one of the monkeys most days. I have really struggled with finding the time to write or even making the time to write. When my kids were little I thought I would do it during nap time. As my kids got older I thought I would do it while they are at school. And the truth is that at this point, I don’t have a routine or schedule unless I am doing a project that has a deadline. As a writer I have to write when the ideas come to me, which can be so inconvenient. I wish I were more creative during the day, but typically I am most creative in the evening after my people are in bed. Some weeks see more creativity than others. Sometimes I have dry spells for months at a time when all I write are text messages. My mind and my soul craves writing though, and I do have so many thoughts and ideas that need to be let out, often times the two big things holding me back are the laundry and the dishes!
Your poetry in The Lord is Good is an expression of your faith and your love for God. Did your poetry come out of wanting to express your thoughts of living a faith-based life, or were you a poet first and naturally ended up writing about the things in life you were passionate about? Or is that like asking what came first, the chicken or the egg?
I didn’t grow up with any kind of faith in anything. My parents were both non practicing Jews. I first became curious about God in high school after attending my sisters church, but it wasn’t until our oldest was born in 2007 that it struck me hard that I wanted to give my kids more. So my husband and I found a local church that we liked and started attending regularly and it was there that I really learned who God is and His great love for me. So living a life of faith has inspired my poetry, but my love of poetry came first.
Thank you for joining us today, Cari, and sharing pieces of your life and your writing journey with us. We excited to see you grow – in your love for God, in your role as a wife and mother, and as a writer. Kudos to you for weaving all these aspect together into a life that you’re enjoying living. We wish you all the best in this New Year and new decade!
Here is one of Cari’s poems from The Lord is Good.
Created For More
By Cari Resnick
You were not created for a 9-5
Or to be a million-dollar woman or man.
Your purpose isn’t in your job,
You are so much more than that.
You were created for God’s love,
To carry out a purpose in His plan.
He has loved you every second since the
Moment you were born.
He didn’t make you to help Him you see,
He made you because He loves.
On days when you’re feeling empty and lost,
Remember, you were created for more.
You were created with gifts and talents,
To be God’s hands and feet on this earth.
You were created to worship,
Created to love,
Created to be loved by God.
So let the God of the universe love you.
Let the creator of the universe use you.
You were created for more.