Al: Something tells me you have creative talents in various areas. Besides writing, how else to you express your creativity? Do you paint, do photography, music, etc?
Sydney: I'm not sure you'd call them talents but I recently discovered photography and I'm enjoying that very much. I also find myself working on crafts from time to time. I love the personal touch of a handmade gift and I give them often. Music, well I just love all different kinds of music. I try to get to concerts a few times a month and I have been known to kill it at karaoke with a bit of "liquid courage". Other than that writing is my most creative outlet, it's truly my therapy.
Al: What triggers the beginning of a new poem for you? Does an idea hit you, and then away you go? Or - do you ever start with a blank piece of paper, and then keep staring at it until something comes?
Sydney: Poems come to me in many ways. In fact all of the ways you've listed and then some. Sometimes I see a picture and that will spark something. I enjoy people watching so there have been times I have imagined scenarios between people I see. Some is personal and some is pure fantasy. Then there are those times I'll wake in the middle of the night, or be in the shower and something will start repeating itself in my head. For that reason I have notes everywhere! Notebooks, my phone, pc, tablet. You get the idea.
Al: You and I collaborated once, in a writing exercise. And I know you've collaborated with Lola Fontaine. How do you find the process of collaborating with others?
Sydney: So far I've found it to be a wonderful, fulfilling experience. It's nice to be able to talk out a piece with someone who brings something completely different to the table. To be able to share ideas and constructively break them down is a truly rewarding experience. Both times I was able to gain a perspective I wouldn't have been able to reach otherwise. I feel that collaborating has helped me grow as a person and a writer and I hope I have many more opportunities to do so in the future.
Al: Last question. What do you think parents should do to promote creativity in their children?
Sydney: Wonderful question. I myself do not have any children but several younger siblings, nieces and nephews. Watching them grow and learn is such an interesting experience and not being the parent gives me a different point of view. For example, when one of them would do something like, paint or write on the walls, themselves etc... I could see past the "mess" and hope this would mean they would be thinkers outside of the proverbial "box". I think parents have to really pay attention to their children in order to see the creative potential. Do they doodle all the time? Do they hum or sing? Are they over-joyed to share a creation of theirs with you? It could be the smallest thing but when noticed it should be nurtured, encouraged and attention paid. In our very busy lives I can see how it's easy to tell little Johnny or Judy that their drawing, writing, etc.. is great, pop it on the fridge and forget about it but if you really take time to look you may see something that would otherwise go unnoticed. Society as a whole could benefit from really paying attention to the wonderful things that surround us.