'In the Spotlight' interview with Helen Rear for Lucent Dreaming

Helen Rear in the Spotlight

Helen Rear, whose poem ‘Buzzwords’ is published in issue 7 of Lucent Dreaming, is an English Literature and Creative Writing student at Bangor University. Her work has been published by Agenda, Popshot and Scrittura Magazine, among others; she has also been short-listed for the Poetry Space Competition (2018) and the Barren Press Poetry Contest (2019). During her free time, she makes bookish and writing-related videos on her Youtube channel ‘capricioushelen.’

So, what inspired your piece ‘Buzzwords’? Can you tell us a little more about what it’s about?

Buzzwords is about two queer girls in a small town who struggle with internalised homophobia that ultimately drives them apart. It’s largely an exploration of how we absorb the beliefs of the people around us, even if they’re ultimately harmful, and how difficult it can be to overcome negative ideas that’s been so ingrained in our psyche. 

I originally wrote the piece as an assignment for university as part of my Transformative Fiction class. The purpose of transformative fiction is to reimagine an original work and translate it from one form or genre to another, whilst offering a critical angle that the original piece might have overlooked. I chose to do a transformation of Trista Mateer’s incredible poetry collection ‘Honeybee,’ reexamining the events of the book through the perspective of the woman the poems were addressed to. Later, I took a step back from the source material and adapted the piece into an original work. 

What are some of your favourite books and art (including shows, videos, music) – of all time or more recently. Why are they favourites?

 One of my favourite books of all time is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which follows former Hollywood superstar Evelyn Hugo as she reveals the secrets behind her many marriages. The character development in that book is impeccable – Evelyn feels so real that after finishing the book I was devastated that I couldn’t actually sit down and watch any of her movies. I can only aspire to write something so visceral. 

In terms of music, I’ve been a huge One Direction fan since my early teens and I can’t emphasize how much of an impact their music has had on me. They’re rarely taken seriously as artists – as is usually the case for anything with a demographic primarily targeted at young girls and women – but their fanbase is made up of some of the most creative, passionate and resourceful people I’ve ever met. The connections I’ve made through their music have shaped the last decade of my life, including my decision to study creative writing at university. 

What, if anything, are you looking forward to right now and what writing/creative projects are you currently working on?

I’m a huge fan of live music and I had a number of concerts planned for this year. Unfortunately most of them have been postponed due to Covid-19, but I’m looking forward to seeing all my favourite artists again in 2021 – fingers crossed! 

In terms of writing, now that I’ve finished my degree I’m taking the opportunity to explore different creative outlets and figure out what kind of writer I want to be. The project I’m most excited about right now is a short story loosely inspired by the poem ‘We Are Jeff’ by Richard Siken, which follows an identical twin forced to reevaluate his identity in the wake of his brother’s death. 

Can you tell us about how you got into writing and art? Is there anyone whose support or encouragement really inspired or motivated you?

 I’ve been writing basically ever since I could hold a pen – I remember writing my first story when I was around six years old – and I’ve had a lot of support along the way. However, the biggest turning point for me was discovering fanfiction in my early teens. I’ve been a part of so many amazing online communities and the support and enthusiasm I received from other fans was hugely instrumental in helping me to build confidence in my work. I also have to thank my amazing creative writing lecturers, DeAnn Bell, Zoë Skoulding, Alys Conran and Lisa Blower, whose guidance really helped me to take the next step as a writer.  

Where can people see more of you and your work?

You can find a link to all my previously published works on my website at https://capricioushelen.weebly.com/blog/published-work. I also talk about books and writing on my Youtube channel, https://www.youtube.com/c/capricioushelen, so you can subscribe there for regular writing updates!   

Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication! Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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