Denise Mills is a writer and introverted connection-enthusiast living in regional NSW, Australia. You can find her on Twitter here and on her website denisemills.net. Denise’s piece ‘My Mother’s Gnome’ can be found in Epoch Press’ Autumn issue, ‘Transitions’, which you can purchase here.
‘Transitions’ is such an evocative theme, what compelled you to submit for this issue?
‘Transitions’ is a beautiful theme that allowed me to explore the evolution of a fundamental relationship with my life, being the relationship with my mother. Living exactly half her life in an abusive and controlling environment with my father, she ‘existed’ more than she lived. While there was always love between us, her focus – her entire life force, really – was spent ‘keeping the peace’ and avoiding my father’s meltdowns. After she received a terminal cancer diagnosis, that all changed, and I loved sharing the beautiful transformation that followed and the process of getting to know her for the first time.
Do you have a routine for writing? If so, what is it and how has it evolved?
I have a routine where I write every morning, even if it’s for only ten minutes. When I fall out of this routine I start to feel as though my life lacks purpose; that it’s all about work and paying bills. It’s a quick downward spiral. I have decided that purpose isn’t something you find outside of yourself, it’s something you have to bring into your life. For me, it’s about dedicating time to things I’m interested in without worrying about outcomes.
Do you find that CNF comes easy to you as a writer and/or what is challenging about it? For poets: What is most challenging and most rewarding about using real life in your poetry?
Sometimes CNF comes easily and there’s a good flow, sometimes it’s more of a struggle. It’s easy to write down a memory and some personal thoughts, but turning that into a story someone else may enjoy is another thing entirely.
What is song is on repeat for you right now?
I used to like heavier music, but lately I can’t get enough of the classical stuff. Comptine d’un autre été is something I could listen to all day, although I’m probably the only person who didn’t like the movie Amélie.