I am aware that there is no rhythm to the way I get it all out on the page. I'm not pretty about it, when prettiness is so often what woos this world. And I am a fan of prettiness as much as the next. If I could have asked God for something more, that would have
been it. But God didn't have any office hours on the day I desperately coveted cadence. I even called him at home only to get the answering machine. So, I'm here to tell you, I'm not the poet. I'm not the crafty. I'm not the dancy. When you hear me read, you will not get up and do a little jig. When I'm real good, I'll make you cry. When I'm not so good, I'll make you think. But, I will never make you dance.
I've sat in those classes with the ones with the good ear, the ones with the sentences which slide, slide, slide right into you. You're listening to those words singing to you then they evaporate right under your skin. The feel is that of touching God. My relation to God, on the other hand, is that I have his home phone number, and I've heard his answering machine message a few times. When you hear me read, don't expect to touch God, but do expect to harass him a little, maybe bang on his door and wake up his neighbors.
There will always be the ones who say to me, "Why do you write? Why have you chosen such a hard road where so few make it?" At first, when I was new at this, I said that I knew I would be one of the few, the chosen few, the ones the world will listen to. At that time being listened to, being heard seemed to be what was necessary and important. Now, I say something else. I say that all I love in this world is that word on the page: I don't want a life apart from it. And if it never loves me, if those words never turn to some reader and say "Pulitzer Prize", then I will have lost nothing when I have loved so much. When every day of my life I have come here and filled all these holes inside with imagination and hope and creation, where is the
Mia: What if there was a poet out there whose voice sang above all others? What if that poet was Dale Kristien of the opera world but you had never heard of her? Unless you lived in Los Angeles at the time and attended The Phantom of the Opera at the Ahmanson Theater chances are you never heard of Kristien, who played the lead part of Christine Daae. Though you may have heard of Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, Dale Kristien was
pure soprano. You just feel it, know it. Something in your whole being responds to her voice because it has the ability to reach across the entire theater, past the throng of audience members,
past rows and rows of seats up to the ceiling and touch you. What do you call a moment that is more than a memory and nothing short of a
miracle—a chance meeting? You call it salvation.
The moment I chanced upon Carrie Amestoy's poetry at Mentress Moon and Poems Niederngasse, I responded in the same manner of the opera singer's voice. Amestoy's words
rang so clear and
her voice was so strong and present that it went through me and pulled me
right up out of my lethargy. In a time of spiritual bankruptcy, here was a writer who could literally transcend the internet as an electronic medium,
a voice for her generation, she calls X with a message that was
beyond the scope of any writer practicing today.
For two years Carrie and I have been corresponding.
Carrie has influenced me in many good ways.
To sum up Carrie would be pointless for she is always in motion,
constant state of flux while the very core of her remains still. You just know that she will be the one there for you. I am privileged to present a poet, writer,
friend, Carrie Amestoy.
Mia: Carrie, on your website www.amestoy.com
you claim to be a heretic. I looked up the word, Heretic and dictionary.com defines it as:
A heretic is one whose errors are doctrinal, and usually of a malignant character, tending to subvert the true faith. A schismatic is one who creates a schism, or division in the church, on points of faith, discipline, practice, etc., usually for the sake of personal aggrandizement. A sectarian is one who originates or is an ardent adherent and advocate of a sect, or distinct organization, which separates from the main body of
But I don't find anything subversive or malignant about any of your work or your being or your outlook on life. If anything, you're the most positively spiritual person I have ever read. Can you explain a little what heresy, heretic means to you?
carrie: i was never Catholic—so i've always had the fondest ideas of heresy.
Einstein, to me, was a heretic of science, ee cummings a heretic of
poetry, john cassavetes a heretic of film, carl Jung a heretic of
psychology....creators who dare to be silly and misunderstood and non-commercial and
unrelenting in their inner-visions are glamorous heretics.... in this culture of sedation and boredom to
truly be alive and joyous is an act of heresy.. to choose creation over consumption is,
in the US of materialistic A, an act of heresy...and certainly every
Creator is, depending on your perspective, either "stealing fire from the gods" or engaging in an act of co-Creation with God...all of it seems to me a
necessary, courageous, aggressive act of heresy (errors of doctrine
flown around town by the most malignant of characters).
Mia: Much of your poetry holds your beliefs and convictions. But outside of the writing, do you believe and practice those truisms in your life?
carrie: hell no and hell yes....like everyone my ideas about life shift
around....i have convictions about not drinking dairy products after the
expiration date...beyond that, i have very little faith in
convictions....things i thought were for certain five years ago feel irrelevant to me now...i've begun
to suspect that i'm not "evolving" i'm just changing seats in the ballpark..as for practicing what i
preach--. my most vivid life goes on in my brain...so to that extent there is usually a discrepancy
between what i write and how i live....if i lived the way i wrote i would die of a fast, reckless
life...enough other people got that gig.
Mia: How do you feel about the publishing industry as a whole? You don't publish much and I was curious as to why.
carrie: i don't publish b/c no one has asked me to...and i need someone to
hold my hand and shop me around i guess...i get bored with my own writing...so after submitting a poem to one or two places, if
no one takes him, i send him packing...
Mia: Who or what philosophers, teachers, actors(?), friends, family have influenced your thinking the
carrie: my mom, krishnamurti, Henry miller, Jung, Jesus, martin luther king
jr. Gandhi, Matthew fox, Ms. oprah, Alan watts, Nietzsche, lao tze, Richard
linklater, Joseph Campbell, rumi, Mihaly Csikszenitmihalyi, speed levitch... influenced my heart--tarek
Mia: And who influenced your writing?
carrie: ee cummings, barbara ras, henry miller, anne
sexton, steinbeck, herman
hesse, mary oliver, woody allen, charlie kaufman, tori amos, walt
whitman, Dr. Seuss...
Mia: Do you have any pet peeves or theories about writing?
carrie: i consider myself to be less a "writer" and more a
propagandist...i write only when i have something to say---definitely have that Revival Preacher thing in my genetic code.....i don't have much
empathy for artists who value form over content...these days i don't think i "get" 90% of poetry being
published (of the stuff i read)...it seems scholastic or too poised or mannered or
unfull-of-the-holy-ghost....i loved that famous guy who named his poem "Howl"...that's what
artists are needed for--to howl for the world--its sadness and its perfection...pretty things don't howl with much conviction...
Mia: You graduated from Harvard College. Can you tell me about that experience, what you got out of it if anything? Do you believe that education is beneficial to a writer?
carrie: harvard was fantastic...the people fantastic....the myth fantastic...it was an honor to go there...and it was a special grace on my life at a very young age to be briefly at a place everyone thinks is the top-- and then to feel the inadequacy of it....i will always be grateful to harvard for that...education-wise i might have been better off locked up at a farmhouse for four years with 500 books and a computer...socially, it was
stellar...creatively, it was a classical education and as such there is very
little respect for what is spontaneous, creative and novel...i am not the
biggest cheerleader for traditional education....i will be an avid reader,
observer, thinker and seeker my whole life--but i dislike the student/teacher, giver/taker thing...it's very inefficient to me...there have been
times i've longed desperately for intellectual camaraderie and for brief seconds thought about a
graduate degree--but thank god i passed through those moments of darkness w/o causing myself harm
Mia: What projects are you currently involved with? Anything you could, would like to share with us?
carrie: writing screenplays that are getting rejected everywhere, keeping an expansive one year journal of my life and directing a short film
Mia: What if God, or some other Divine Being came to your door and said, "Carrie, I have given you the gift of wisdom and elocution, poetry."
First of all, how would you respond to such news?
carrie: "right on, God. bless you!"
Mia: Secondly, do you feel blessed in some way and how?
carrie: for certain, i was magnificently blessed....i was given from birth a warped perspective of
reality...through what the doctors suspect was a genetic mutation since there is no family history of it,
i was born legally blind.....ridiculously enough this has become the greatest gift of my
life....when i was a kid i prayed desperately that it would go
away...i wanted to be normal...(only to hear the fateful story f/ my mom that
when she was a child she had begged god to make her blind--b/c she thought that would make her "special")....from an early age being "different" "disabled" "sub-normal" gave me a chance to roam around in the underbelly of things...being "marginalized" in whatever way will either
make you bitter or sensitive depending on whether or not you love on it....for
martin luther king jr being a black man in the South became his greatest
asset.....what a gift i was given....i want to do God proud on this one--champion this special little strangeness....as nietzsche says
"amor fati"--be a lover of my fate
Mia: Then is it a responsibility to you or a celebration?
carrie: --unquestionably a celebration....
Mia: Would you be offended if I said that I think you're the most brilliant, honest and mature writer I've read in a long time? Is there any part of you that would agree?
carrie: i'm an old soul--beat-up, mangled, hobbling and victorious...as for honesty, why write if you're not being honest?....to me, truth
is more interesting...it has more gradation, flexibility and pockets full of fun.
Mia: Tell me what you mean when you say that you are a noisy introvert? Obviously you have to define for me the words, "noisy" and "introvert" separately and I think I know what you mean but I'd like to know more about what
they may mean to you.
carrie: i am an introvert which doesn't mean i'm shy or socially-awkward or a soft-talker....i love nyc, sexiness and opinions--when i tested as an
extreme introvert on myers-briggs..my friend thought i had
"cheated"...i am noisy and flamboyant and have won all arguments with
fenceposts...but being with people wears my ass out...i have to be alone to find my center of gravity...to date, i've done my best work in this world by myself...
Mia: How do you find and maintain your center of balance, your source of energy and spirituality in these noisy, chaotic times?
carrie: listening, observing, being still
Mia: If you don't mind, what is your IQ exactly? Does it become too much for you at times to be so incredibly intellectual, wise beyond your years?
carrie: this is a hilarious question...my mother thinks of me as her child who will never learn to clean her room...no one i know thinks of me as
super-bright--it either just isn't there or doesn't translate...i am
silly-bad at math, never can remember names...i always have the super-witty thought six days after the conversation...i am a ruminator....i chew around on ideas...if i am told something no matter how important and it doesn't
integrate in my head it will be gone in twenty minutes...but i am Curious as George....and i am, fundamentally, a jezebel for ideas...
Mia: How do you feel about other artists, writers in general?
carrie: beautiful, spiffy, daring, courageous, resonant people...love them
Mia: Do you find that you'd rather be surrounded by artists, or normal every-day, the "boring" people?
carrie: oh my god--i would give all my front teeth to live in the company of artists...and lovers (rumi told us to live in the company of
lovers)....but still i would take artists first...though i have done most of my writing in a place of interior solitude, i've had great longing for being surrounded by the lives of cosmic-generator Creators...i haven't been gifted with that yet...but over anything--over fame, riches, respect or a swimming pool--i lust for creative camaraderie....
Mia: Do you have a lot of other writers, readers, editors who write
to you frequently and are a little obsessed with your work in an almost unhealthy
way, as in stalking you? How do you respond to such fans?
carrie: nope...i'm a loner....no chasers, stalkers,
obsessors.....but it sounds like a good time.
this was something i read in today and loved...to me what he's saying
about cinema is true of all art forms...
"There is a great need in the cinema for truthfulness, but truth is not
necessarily sordid and downbeat. Unfortunately, the art films have
dealt mainly with the evils of society. I think you can do more through positive action than in pointing out the foibles and stupidities of man. Yes, any man is capable of killing any other man, we know that, we don't have to stress that. To say that it's right and normal, to continue to say it, to have society and the Establishment confirm that view, is wrong. Art films reach for the most obvious fallacies of society. That's been a fault of the art film--devoting itself to human ills, human weaknesses. An artist has a responsibility not to dwell on this and point it out, but to find hope for this age and see that it wins occasionally... Is life about horror? Or is it about those few moments we have?"--"Cassavetes on Cassavetes" by Ray Carney.
Carrie, I really enjoyed this lightning exchange
which gave me a chance to have some fun, a few lighthearted
moments. I thank you for
*You can contact
Carrie via her site which I encourage you to visit at www.amestoy.com,
or email her: email@example.com.
The b&w photos on Carrie's pages is Copyrighted Work
courtesy of Sharon Gayler Amestoy at