Sarah Jessen in the Spotlight

WardsFamily-14Sarah Jessen, whose poem ‘A Peedie Heartbeat’ is published in the fourth issue of Lucent Dreaming, is a Business Management graduate who resides in the beautiful Scottish islands of Orkney – an archipelago at 59 degrees north. She currently works in the renewable energy sector, with the vision of a carbon-free future. Her inspiration comes from the incredible landscape of her home, nature, motherhood and folklore. Whilst Sarah has always had a love for creative writing, this is a new pursuit for her, and this publication marks her literary debut.

So, what inspired your piece ‘A Peedie Heartbeat’ and how did it find its way to Lucent Dreaming?

At around 28 weeks pregnant I remember feeling my baby dancing around inside my tummy, and I thought suddenly to myself, ‘there’s a little heartbeat inside me!’ It quite literally blew my mind. I took my phone out and just threw out some words about how I was feeling and like that, ‘A Peedie Heartbeat’ was born! My home, Orkney, which is an island far north of Scotland, has a very unique dialect and ‘peedie’ is an adjective meaning little or small so I thought it would be nice to include this dialect in my poem. I can’t quite remember how I ended up on the Scottish Book Trust website, but they had a list of publishers who were open for submissions and Lucent Dreaming immediately caught my eye; the feel and the aesthetic really jumped out at me.

What does writing mean to you?

Writing poetry is almost like keeping a diary; it’s a deeply personal process that I wish I had started a long time ago. I think motherhood and pregnancy is the catalyst for my newfound boost of creativity; it’s such an emotional roller coaster that sometimes poetry is the only way to truly harness my emotions.  I also love writing prose but find I perform better when working to a specific brief or theme. There’s no better feeling when you are in the writing zone and the words are flowing freely with ease.

What writing/creative projects are you currently working on?

Since writing ‘A Peedie Heartbeat’ back in January, I have continued to write poetry and short stories; again, a few pieces inspired by motherhood and pregnancy but also a lot of my work is inspired by the landscape of my home. Lucent Dreaming is my debut publication but I have since submitted some poems and short stories to a variety of other publications so we will see how I get on. I’ve got a few ideas for some short stories but it’s just a case of finding the time to write.

What are you most excited about right now and for the future?

As I write this, I am due to give birth in 6 days, so I guess I am pretty excited about welcoming my second child into the world! From a creative point of view, I am excited to see where my writing will take me next, the spark has been reignited and I am determined to keep plugging away at it.

How and where do you find inspiration to do your craft?

I loved creative writing at school and remember my English teacher telling me I was a born writer but it was mainly short stories I focused on, I didn’t ever consider writing poetry. Fast forward 10 or so years, and during this second pregnancy, something just clicked, and I felt incredibly inspired to write about how I was feeling. The journey of pregnancy and motherhood is so intricate and unique, that poetry was the only outlet that accurately captured this journey for me. I’m also deeply inspired by the landscape of my home: Orkney – picture wild, aggressive seas; incredible sunsets; the amazing Northern Lights; awesome Neolithic sites; 19 hours of daylight during the summer months; rugged coastlines and inquisitive seals! I also love folk and fairy tales especially old Orcadian folklore about selkies, giants and trows!

What advice would you give those who want to do what you do?

If writing is something you are truly passionate about then just keep plugging away at it. I’ve learnt over this last few months that your writing really does improve the more you practice. Also, find a list of publications looking for submissions, in my case the Scottish Book Trust website had a section on opportunities for writers which was invaluable.

Where can people see more of your work?

This is my debut publication but hopefully not the last. I’ll keep my Twitter up to date with any publication announcements if you want to follow me my handle is @burray_bonxie

Also, if you are planning on visiting Orkney drop me a Tweet and I’ll be happy to show you some of the amazing sites!

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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