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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, poet Laura Fitzgerald talks about her new book, Beautifully Broken, and the inspiration behind her poetry.

JJ Barnes editor of The Table Read online creativity, arts and entertainment magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed poet Laura Fitzgerald about her life and her writing, what inspires her poetry, and the creative work that went into her new book, Beautifully Broken.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

I am a mom to 3 crazy kids and I work full-time in a busy cash office. But numbers are not what excites me…words excite me! With everything else I have going on in my life daily, writing is something that is mine and mine alone.

Laura Fitzgerald on The Table Read
Laura Fitzgerald

I mostly write in the early hours of the morning as that’s when my house is at its quietest. Whilst the world and my babies are sleeping, I am writing.

When did you first WANT to write poetry?

I began writing poetry at a young age as a form of release. Whenever anything upsetting or traumatic was happening in my life, I would go to my room and put pen to paper, purging my anxieties, frustrations, fear or whatever emotion was overwhelming me, onto the page. I grew up in a home that wasn’t always happy. I was the second eldest of 6 children, the eldest was my brother who had downs syndrome so I was looked upon as the eldest in essence and so was given a lot of responsibility. Perhaps too much for my age at times.

My parents now are wonderfully supportive parent but when I was younger, they battled with alcohol issues which had a huge effect on our family until they finally managed to overcome that. Today, I couldn’t ask for more loving, steadfast parents. But my poetry was definitely inspired by my past.

When did you take a step to start writing poetry?

I began writing poetry and wanting to share it seriously when Covid hit. I had a little time out of work and suddenly without warning, I had all this time on my hands to think about things that I had possibly kept buried for a long time. My past literally came back to haunt me. And it hit me like a speeding train mentally. I became very anxious and depressed.

Thankfully, my family are strong and they supported me as I went down a spiral of depression and suicidal thoughts. Once again, as I did in my childhood, I turned to writing. Any memory that was painful or overwhelming, I wrote about it and immediately I began to feel better. Facing my past head on like that and putting it out into the world for all to see was the scariest experience, I felt exposed…naked. But people were so supportive.

I decided to be honest in my poetry, no sugarcoating. I am so happy that I did as my book is a true reflection of a woman who battled childhood, relationships, love. It is a true reflection of me.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

About a year.

What made you want to write Beautifully Broken?

All of the reasons I mentioned above. It was extremely therapeutic for me. And upon release when people would comment or message me, it was such a lovely feeling having people reach out and say…”I feel that way too”. I wasn’t alone in the world anymore.

What were your biggest challenges with writing Beautifully Broken?

Facing memories and feelings that I had buried for a long time. Reopening old wounds so to speak.

Do you keep to a theme with your poems, or just go where the mood strikes?

Beautifully Broken by Laura Fitzgerald on The Table Read
Beautifully Broken

The theme is survival. Taking the cards you were dealt and deciding your own hand. We are not where we came from, we are where we end up and the journey along the way.

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What is your favourite poem in Beautifully Broken about and what inspired it?

My favourite poem is entitled: River In Reverse

It is about being pushed one way in your life because that’s the accepted flow of things and me saying, no. I will flow against everyone’s idea of who I should be or what my life should look like. I am a river in reverse.

Does music help you write or is it a distraction?

I love music, always have. I remember the first music I listened to were my moms records late at night. The tv would shut off at midnight so the house would be quiet. My parents would be out drinking until very late and I would be minding my siblings. I would play Abba songs and just listen to the lyrics. I always loved the way a song could tell a story. And some songs would make me cry as I would absorb the story and really feels what was being sang. The Winner Takes It All Always Made Me Cry. Even at a young age, I could feel the pain in that song.

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write poetry?

Write what is in your heart. Write for yourself first. Be honest and true in your writing and your work will resonate with others.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

It was a dream come true getting my first poetry book Beautifully Broken published. Donald at hybrid sequence media read some of my work online and offered to work with me. I could never thank him enough.

Poetry book number 2? Well….let’s see what Donald thinks! 😉😉 Of course I would love the opportunity to write another book. I am still writing regularly and adding new poems to my Facebook poetry page entitled Wielding Words.

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