Corby Caffrey-Dobosh has essays in two of the books – so far. “Personality” is in Parent-Child Memories: Love Revealed, and “Absence” appears in Living Through Grief: Love Revealed.
Dena: Corby, when did you first realize you liked to write?
Corby: When I was a little girl – I started with poetry. I had so many ideas in my head that I needed to make a picture of them. But I wasn’t artistically inclined in the sense of drawing or sketching, like my father. I was good at speaking my mind – despite the consequences – although I have since learned to temper my spoken self. I read a lot growing up – a variety of literary authors from classical to contemporary, as well as pulp-ish stories – escaping to those places kept me sane as an adolescent. I LOVE words – and I learned that words (even the ones in my head) empowered me. In college, I learned HOW to write, thanks to the awesome English Department at St. Vincent College. One professor cornered me and gave me grief for being a Psychology rather than an English major (English was soon thereafter my minor). He was right – writing is my passion. Storytelling. What a way to heal one’s soul and process the muck.
Dena: What genre of writing do you most enjoy, and why?
Corby: Personal reflections – poetry – and opportunities to honor those who’ve loved me best – I think it’s my way of leaving a legacy for my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. They will know me – and how deeply my soulmate husband and I strive to live – through my writing – and hopefully this will help them navigate in life and love themselves, despite the tumultuous nature of person-hood.
Dena: What inspires you to write, Corby?
Corby: I’m not really sure how to respond to this. I write when I am given the opportunity, a deadline of sorts from you, Dena, or Cosmic Cowgirls (a primarily women’s artistic group for whom I write online essays). If I didn’t have those opportunities, I wouldn’t write as much, I guess – except for the poems that I compose when my children or loved ones call something forth from me. But I am so very thankful for those opportunities, and especially to be a part of the Love Revealed projects. I try to live mindfully and put only good things out into the universe — and this project has enabled me to do so, and journey more thoroughly as a writer.
Dena: Please share an excerpt from one of your essays in a Love Revealed Stories book.
Corby: This is from “Personality” – my essay in Parent-Child Memories:
Recently one of my beloved students from the undergraduate Family course I teach viewed pictures of my family on Facebook and remarked, “Gosh, look at all that personality.” I think that, too, sometimes, when I stand back, short of breath at the sight of them all, watching them striding and struggling through life’s lessons, playing hide and seek so sweetly together. I grin, knowing how I first saw how incredible they are, their unique ways of being, and I was humbled to have been the first witness to all this greatness. For me the sacred art of breastfeeding was more than physical or even spiritual nourishment for my children. The sacred shared space was my telescope into their futures. It was an opportunity for me to be a home to three amazing people. This is my legacy.
Dena: Thank you for offering this piece, Corby. Readers who have read “Personality” are touched by your descriptions of your three children in terms of witnessing each one’s distinctive personality throughout his and her periods of breastfeeding.
What writing project is currently occupying you?
Corby: My favorite project that I’ve been working on here and there for almost 20 years is the form poems I write, inspired by intimacies I share with those I love. The words in the poem are typed in such a way that it spells out their names. I’ve made one for my sister (Katie), my father (Pop), and my sons, Finn and Caleb, when they each turned four. I am also working on a poem to my three children that I plan to paint on the belly cast my husband and I made of me when I was pregnant with our last bubba (Ruah, my daughter, whose form poem will be written in the next year, as she just recently turned four). I made a book for my parents’ Christmas gift last year, that contained personal poems and essays. My husband and I also compiled our poems into a small booklet, titled Io and Europa, after Saturn’s moons — they seem to mimic our shared space. I plan/hope to write some other stories for the Love Revealed projects — I hope to do one about my siblings and another about holidays.
Dena: What surprised you or what did you discover in the process of writing any of your Love Revealed stories?
Corby: I think what surprised me the most was that my stories came outta me, that I was able to compose them at all! As I write, I often rely on a structured stream of consciousness, if there is such a thing. I look for the themes. After I read what I write, I often feel as though I have a dual-nature of sorts — that the person I show many others (although not my intimate others – they get to see the whole she-bang), and the person I sincerely am cannot co-exist in my physical world — I must craft my performances in my career, relations with others, and often my mommy-ing. Writing permits me to combine what I’m thinking, how I’m behaving, and where I’m going without any anxiety. So after I write, and sit back, I’m in a state of awe that I was able to package it all together – that I was the vehicle for my inner muses. Sorta makes me feel invincible, untouchable, and validated.
Dena: Corby, I appreciate that you have shared your time and your heart with us through this interview. I am excited to continue working with you – – on the 4th book in the Love Revealed series.
I have one more question for you. Do you have a writing tip for any of our readers who like to write?
Corby: Make sure you don’t assume your readers know where you are coming from – use imagery, learn how to write, and don’t be afraid to let the piece write you.
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Do you have any comments and questions for Corby? or for any of our authors?