Sita Gaia (she/they) is a Social Artist, and a queer chronic illness warrior.
She loves Owls and drinks way too much coffee. They have been published through Harness Magazine, Fine Lines Literary Magazine, Last Leaves Magazine, and the forthcoming issue of Kissing Dynamite magazine.
They reside in Vancouver, BC with their wife,
You can find them on Instagram at @sitagaia_poetry.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
I first knew that I was meant to be a writer in grade three. I had an elementary school that “taught” us poetry (and has gone on to publish eleven books!) and I felt that was my calling in life. Although I studied a Bachelor’s in Social Work, that Social Work side never goes away.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I published a Chapbook,“Knocking on the Body’s Door: Poems to Read on the Bathroom Floor” this past June 2021 with Prolific Pulse Press LLC. It is about living with epilepsy, although well managed, and the daily ongoing side effects. People with other forms of disabilities have found a haven in this work, which brings me delight.
3) What projects are you currently working on?
I recently submitted to Button Poetry’s Chapbook contest with a Poetry Colleague. It would be amazing to even be on the long list of winners. Other than that, I am trying to work slowly at a full-length poetry book.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
Being accepted into the magazine Kissing Dynamite was an ultimate bucket list magazine that I managed to get into. Having a full color chapbook out in the world for people to read is a huge accomplishment. In the next five years, I hope to win a Canadian award for a piece of poetry (specifically the CBC Poetry Prize) and publish two well recognized books that are available through Indigo and Chapters books.
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
Rejection has been a celebration throughout my writing career! Megan Falley taught her students to gather as many rejections as possible, so you know that your work is out there. To be fair, there have definitely been some poems that have been rejected which was a sore spot. I allow myself to spend some time feeling disappointed, and then I think about how I could have done better. I also see acceptances into magazines as a job interview. You might be a great fit but not exactly what they had imagined.
6) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
I tend to get ideas for poetry when I am washing dishes or going for a walk. The ideas usually marinate in the back of my brain until I am ready to swoop and write on the page. With regards to my Chapbook, I had a main theme that I wanted to work around and started in October 2020, with the goal to be published in 2021.
7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
Never! Although I believe it is useful to write daily (as possible) and implement writing skills as soon as possible, it is never too late.
8) Are you an avid reader and have you always been? What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
Yes, I tend to read Poetry and Memoirs the most. The first book that I re-read so often was Awake and Dreaming by Kit Pearson. I re-read it so many times that my mom ordered me a hardcover copy. I am currently reading The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor, which I feel is an essential read, and interesting as I had wanted to write more content on body image.
9) The Pandemic was a challenging time for some writers and creative individuals but also for others it was time that they needed to focus on their creative passions. Which side of that spectrum do you fall on? Are there any lessons or nuggets of wisdom that you gained during the Pandemic that help you within your writing career? Did the quarantine stifle your creativity or did it make you even more driven to get things done?
The Pandemic is when I started to take myself seriously as a Poet. I was fortunate to take the course Poems that Don’t Suck, along with the Sophomore Class to help jumpstart my poetry career. I now have a giant circle of poets who I can turn to with questions or feedback or anything else I may need.
10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry as it is being represented today? Do you lean more towards traditional publishing or self-publishing as a preference? Does being a hybrid author interest you?
I am more interested in traditional publishing, although I have made my own chapbooks for fun. I honestly don’t know enough about the publishing industry yet to make a comment on it.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose? I must admit this is a very difficult question. I do not wish to be pegged as “The Poet with Epilepsy”, although being part of the LGBTQ community, Biracial, and having mental health issues stand out for me immediately. I also like to be playful in my writing and get out any thoughts or feelings I may be having. The poet, Ollie Schminkey said in their workshops “don’t be afraid to be bad”, which has stuck with me months later. Writing is simply re-writing.