MariJo – It was a pleasure to connect with you on Facebook today over the photo of the Red Tailed Hawk. I’m glad we interacted enough for me to look at your website, and you to look at Women Writers, Women Books. And thank you very much for your interest in participating, it’s especially timely because of your book coming out December 1, 2012. We’re looking forward to learning more about you! – Anora McGaha
When did you start to identify yourself as a writer? Is there a story around that?
I began dreaming of becoming a writer when I was ten years old.
I grew in an abusive household (my alcoholic step dad didn’t like the fact that I had American Indian blood) and reading was my escapism. I remember reading Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, feeling my heart beating with anticipation and deciding I wanted to become a writer and affect others with words and give them a safe place to escape.
My first poem, which was about the Vietnam War, was published in the Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis, TN, when I was sixteen. I didn’t seriously begin writing, however, until I became sober in 1986.
Tell us what books you’ve written, how they came about, why you wrote them, and such.
I have written over twenty books, which cover all genres. Some are published by other publishers and some I have published through my little press. I am of mixed blood and write mostly from an American Indian perspective.
I have also complied and edited several anthologies: three of Indigenous writers and one of women writers writing about war. I don’t have a favorite but I find myself going back again and again to my little book of poetry Confessions of a Madwoman.
The poems are symbols of my life and I am still living my way into the meaning of some of them.
My first novel, The Diamond Doorknob, took twenty years for me to complete. I had to grow spiritually and emotionally so my characters could do the same. I began writing it on a typewriter that had no r key, and finished it with my first little Mac computer.
My newest book is Bear Quotes, which is a book of spiritual aphorisms honoring bears.
Presently I am working on an anthology of Indigenous writers I began years ago. I am determined to finish it now as I feel the timing is right. It is dedicated to one of my mentors, the late Vine Deloria Jr, who did more for American Indian literature than any Indian writer ever has. The book is called Unraveling the Spreading Cloth of Time: Indigenous Thoughts Concerning the Universe. Trace Demeyer, a well-known writer in the Indian world, is my co-editor. I am going to raise the money and publish it through my little press so that I can keep the entries whole and true – not changed by another publisher.
I believe totally in ceremonies and have actually written a book called A Book of Ceremonies and Spiritual Energies Thereof. I use these personal ceremonies to keep me focused, grounded, and to keep healing so that I may continue to write.
I let the words find me. I have never just put words on paper. I consider the act of writing a ceremony unto itself. Writing is a gift, much like being a psychic/medium. I believe in the healing power of words.
You’re a Psychic / Medium. Tell us about that. When did you first know? How did you know? What does it feel like to see and understand what you do?
I knew at a very early age but didn’t accept the gift totally until about twenty-five years ago.
I was told by a “fortune teller” who lived down the road from one of my childhood homes that I had “the gift.” It terrified me.
It is one of huge responsibility. I know that many have been helped through me – I consider myself the vessel- but it is not something I brag about or take lightly. To be able to see into the other side – to speak with spirits – to know intuitively what is coming – is a blessing but is also taxing on one’s life.
Through my writings, I am able to share what I see, what I am told, and what I have come to believe concerning life and what lies beyond.
Does your insight as a psychic and medium, seeing what many can not see, have special application for writers and creatives? Do you have a story to share about that?
I think we all are psychic to a point, and that we all hear from those who have passed over in one form or another.
Sometimes it can be a stranger saying exactly what you need to hear; a song on the radio that gives you hope; a dream – dreams can be oh so very important; or maybe a slight touch to your hair. Maybe you catch a glimpse of someone out of the corner of your eye.
I was born with this gift wide open, so to speak, and the more I use and respect it, the stronger it gets. As far as creativity is concerned, we are responsible to listen and pull through all the creations that exist on the other side. That is what we as women writers are destined to do.
Why do you write?
I write because I have to. Because I must. Because I am a writer. Because if I don’t write, my soul stagnates.
My artistic statement:
“My creations are woven with integral meaning as they stem from dreams, ancestral memories and the many voices of Spirit. Creativity has brought healing and a deeper understanding of the Universe to my life. If I am not creating, I am stagnating, and a stagnant soul is a starving soul.”
MariJo is not on Twitter, but she is on Facebook.
MariJo Moore (Cherokee/Irish/ Dutch) is the author of over twenty books including A Book of Spiritual Wisdom for all days, The Diamond Doorknob, When the Dead Dream, Red Woman With Backward Eyes and Other Stories, and Confessions of a Madwoman. She is editor of several anthologies including Genocide of the Mind: New Native Writings; Birthed From Scorched Hearts: Women Respond to War and Eating Fire, Tasting Blood: The American Indian Holocaust. The recipient of various literary and publishing awards, she resides in the mountains of western NC. www.marijomoore.com