The Steps of Grief
Like Fire and Ice sends readers on a poignant poetic journey that delves into overcoming trauma, healing from trauma and loving who you are. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I started drafting these poems when I was a freshman in high school all the way up until I decided to publish the collection at the end of my graduation. They started as a way to deal with everything that had been going on in my life as well as tell my story—though I am an unreliable narrator. Throughout high school, I was constantly in therapy, and my therapist suggested I start a journal, which is what Like Fire and Ice consists of.
I really enjoyed your ‘The Anthem of Gen Z’ poem. Do you have a poem that stands out to you in this collection?
The very last poem, “Ash,” is important to me because it touches on a few important themes. The first theme is the steps of grief explored in this collection. Every section is designed to walk through the chapters I traveled to overcome abuse and trauma throughout my life. More importantly, the last theme that this poem touches on is the idea that we are not our past. To quote, the poem says, “In years that followed before this day/ I realize that I should have been cliché/ I was doomed to be another statistic/ and destined for nothing more than the 5-mile radius/that I was born into” (Like Fire and Ice). So many times, we believe that we are a coalescence of our background; however, I encourage the reader to understand that we are, in fact, a coalescence of how we decided to act based on our past.
What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?
There were many ideas that I wanted to explore in this book, but to narrow it down to a few, I think there were three important things to take away from this collection. The first idea is to define and understand that abuse comes in many forms and can be inflicted by anyone. The main reason I stay anonymous is I am still serving in the Army National Guard. I touched on the abuse I was subject to as a seventeen-year-old kid in this book by someone who most would classify as a commendable, higher-ranked soldier. Sexual abuse is everywhere—in our military, in our homes, and in our schools.
The second idea I wanted to explore is mental health and trying to be as raw as possible about it. I believe that many depictions of mental health in the media are not necessarily false but not entirely true. Mental health is vastly complicated, but unlike what the media may have you believe, it is completely manageable.
The last idea I wanted to explore is accountability and self-reflection. Many abuse victims create a self-fulfilling prophecy using a victim mentality. The way to combat that is to realize that some shitty things in your life are not because of your abuse, your childhood, or the shortcomings life has thrown at you. Some shitty things in your life are your own doing, and we as survivors, not victims, must become better than our abusers.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your poetry?
I hope the reader can get closure. I did not publish this collection to make profit—though I would be a liar in saying that extra cash isn’t nice. I published this in the hopes that someone would read it and finally feel heard. I want survivors of abuse and mental illness to feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This collection is not easy to read, and there are many triggering poems. Though I think some will find it healing to finally stare the ghosts of their past in the face, fight the darkest parts of themselves, and finally realize that healing is not forgetting. Healing is realizing that our past is simply a small piece of our timeline.
Posted in Interviews
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Like Fire and Ice
Like Fire and Ice by Eli is a raw and honest collection of poems written by the author to provide a way to cleanse the mind of difficult experiences and the emotions accompanying them. These poems delve into many challenging and sensitive subjects, including traumatic experiences involving sexual assault and physical, mental, and emotional abuse. Eli writes explicitly about their personal experiences and how they left a significant impact, as writing about them provides a way to heal while offering a therapeutic effect for readers.
Eli doesn’t hold back from the rawness of their emotion, including expressing a complex, love-hate relationship with their mother, feelings of unworthiness, and idealization of self-harm. The author frequently relates the darker side of life and parental relationship and their impact throughout one’s existence. While Eli presents a well-written collection of powerful and riveting poems, they are not an easy read and will take the reader on an emotional roller coaster. While some readers may find the reading poetic and healing, there are trigger points for others that leave a strong impression. Overall, I found Eli’s presentation thought-provoking and realistic, a refreshing take on subjects that are typically avoided or censored from the mainstream.
I personally found the book to be relatable and therapeutic. Eli uses symbolism and powerful words to convey difficult yet potent emotions. The author’s creativity brings a sense of clarity and dark beauty to a sometimes tough read while giving the reader a sense of how trauma can emotionally impact a person for a lifetime. I highly recommend Like Fire and Ice for its courageous presentation and the ability to capture both the horror of trauma, complexities of the human experience, and the beauty of healing at once.
Pages: 144 | ASIN: 1639884335
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
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ELI: More Than Just a Kitten with Ambitions to Go on a Mission
Eli is so many things. It’s funny, heart warming, passionate, creative and engaging. It’s a fiction story written with great depth. Animal books are always fun to read and the author gives life to a cat-dog relationship. I was expecting an adventure story but was pleasantly surprised to find that there’s more action that any reader will enjoy. Eli is an ambitious kitten that is born into a family of loving parents. This daring kitten is tasked with a dangerous mission and Eli is destined to fulfill it in one piece. It’s a dangerous road to take but work must be done. A supportive family is a pillar and source of hope and strength for Eli, his brother and sister are a motivation to him. Written with great compassion, this book is insightful with the writers voice being fluid, captivating and real.
Eli by Sherralee Tinney is a innovative work of art where every detail is laid out with a purpose. The author’s prose flows seamlessly with this book and relays a rich humanity in the animals. I think this is a great children’s book with a unique twist that shows that animals are strong and determined and have a desire to protect. I think this book will inspire creativity in children and express upon young readers the importance of respecting even the smallest things. Eli overcomes a great many obstacles and it’s relatable with real life challenges, therefore learning to solve a problem, or eliminate it is a good lesson, not giving up along the way. A child will look up to the strength a parent shows, as Eli’s father is strong even when injured, so does a child sees his/her own parents.
This is not your usual cat and dog story, Sherralee Tinney showcases her creativity, which captures the essentials of the human soul. Boys and girls will like this book, it willl also teach them that getting out of their comfort zone can allow them to do great things. For an adult reader this is a quick read, but this shouldn’t be too long for children as well. Children are naturally animal lovers, and a kid would easily relate to an animal story of heroism and be motivated. Sherralee Tinney has captured the hearts of animal lovers in a fun and refreshing story and I’m sure every reader will have at least one ‘aww’ moment as they read. Eli is an inspirational book that I heartily recommend.
Pages: 296 | ASIN: B0793Q9L6K
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: action, adventure, animal, author, book, book review, bookblogger, cat, childrens book, ebook, ELI, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kids book, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, pet, read, reader, reading, sherralee tinney, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing, young reader