Aurora M. Lewis, whose story ‘Into the Thicket’ was first published in issue 5 of Lucent Dreaming, was born and raised in California and has lived there her entire life. As a child, she dreamed of becoming a writer. Aurora is a retiree in her late sixties, having worked in finance for 40 years. In her fifties, she received a Certificate in Creative Writing-General Studies, with Honors from UCLA. For 5 years she suffered from a bipolar disorder and the medication stifled her creativity. Once removed from the medication she began writing again with success. Aurora has published over 50 of her pieces in the last 10 years. Her poems, short stories, and nonfiction have been accepted by The Literary Hatchet, Gemini Magazine, Persimmon Tree, Cliterature Journal, Jerry Jazz Musician, The Blue Nib, Pilcrow and Dagger, to name only a few. Aurora has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes as well as The Best of the Web.
So, what inspired your piece ‘Into the Thicket’ and how did it find its way to Lucent Dreaming?
When I was very young my aunt, 5 years older than I told me of an encounter with what she believed to be an extraterrestrial. As she was laying in her bed she glanced over to the window and saw a luminous face with blacked out eyes glaring menacingly at her. She was too terrified to leave her bed or call out for help. Pulling the coverlets over her head, she fell asleep. The next morning no one believed her and attributed her encounter to a bad dream. However, I believed her accounting of that night, but rather than an evil presence, what if the alien were friendly and wanted to learn from a non-combative little girl; something about the creatures of her planet? I came across a call for a submission to Lucent Dreaming with the prompt Lead, my imagination kicked in.
What does writing and art mean to you?
I have always been an avid reader, losing myself within books that took me far beyond my mundane life. I longed to see my written words read by others. I started writing poems and limericks at a very early age. When I entered college my first poem was published, however I stopped writing for many years as I became a single parent concentrating on a career in finance. In my late 50’s I was encouraged by a friend to start writing again which prompted me to enroll in the UCLA Creative Writing Program, graduating with Honors. This program and writing in various genres awakened something in me that I forgot existed, a love of writing and sharing my thoughts. In my mid 50s I was diagnosed as bipolar, placed on medication, and stopped writing. With the pain and frustration of not being able to write, I asked my psychiatrist to removed me from the medication which he did gradually. Writing is my joy, one of the reasons for rising each morning. My bipolar mood swings which I have learned to control, are often an impetus to writing a piece.
What are you most excited about right now and what writing/creative projects are you currently working on?
The pieces I write are in various genres and eclectic. I have two historical fictions and one science fiction short story I hope to have published. I also would like to have a book of my poems published.
Tell us about some of your favourite books or art you’ve experienced – of all time or more recently. Why are they favourites?
I have many favorite books from my collection of over 300. The most inspiring book is Savage Beauty, The Life of Edna Saint Vincent Millay. She remains my favorite poet and I relate to her struggles with mental illness, creativity, and feminism. Her poem, What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where and Why, continue to resonate with me as I approach 70.
What advice would you give those who want to do what you do?
Develop your own voice; write from your heart and what you feel. Never be discouraged by rejections as there is a publisher out there looking for your work, you just need to find each other.
Where can people see more of you and your work?
Over the last 10 years over 60 of my pieces were published on the internet and in print. Many of my pieces can be found in various issues of The Literary Hatchet, Jerry Jazz Musician, and Persimmon Tree. Much of my earlier work prior to 2010 can be found in several issues of Gemini Magazine. I am proudest of a memoir, A California Baby Boomer, appearing in The Blue Nib, Issue 35.