Compass North, An Int'l Interview Series: Rose Lupin

J: What interview can’t start without an introduction?

R: My name is Rose. I’m a great many things, so I’ll name just a few of them. First and foremost, I’m a mother. I have three children. Two girls and a boy. My son has Asperger’s, which falls on the autism spectrum, so that makes me a special needs mother on top of just being a regular mom. It’s challenging but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m a writer of poetry and a painter of pictures, mostly abstract. My husband is a writer as well, which makes things interesting. I’m also bipolar. I suffer mainly from depression, as I have bipolar type II. I’ve become quite passionate about mental health and my dream is to one day see the end of the stigma that surrounds mental illness. And last of all, I love to play soccer. I’m in a number of leagues throughout the year. It’s a good distraction from the stressors of life.

J: Has anyone said you look like woman’s soccer legend, Abby Wambach?

R: Yes! I’ve heard that from a couple of people and I take it as a compliment since I love soccer so much.

J: I knew it! So, getting back to your first question, how has life been since your diagnosis with bipolar type II? How do the peaks and valleys of your condition affect your writing? Are you subconsciously aware of these changes?

R: I was diagnosed three years ago and it has been a rollercoaster ride, to say the least. Finding the right combination of meds took years, and it’s only just in the past few months that I truly feel I’ve found the right balance. Depression affects my writing in a few ways. I draw inspiration from it, but at the same time, when I’m severely depressed, it holds me back and I can’t get the words out. I was afraid that going on meds would take away my creative edge and in some cases it did, but that’s because they were the wrong meds and I was more of a zombie than a functional human being. Now that I’m on the right combination I find my creativity is pretty steady. I have definitely been writing less depressing pieces in the past few months and I don’t mind it. I know that I will suffer more ups and downs, despite my newfound stability, and I don’t fear it too much, but try to appreciate the diversity it lends my writing. I would say that I’m more than subconsciously aware of these changes. I can see them pretty plainly as they happen.

J: Whoa. Thank you for the clarity. There have been times where depression has affected me, but more on an acute level. I couldn’t imagine being on a pill regiment for it, and for that, I have much respect for your efforts. So, you seem to have much on your plate, both within your ‘self’ and also your family. How do you manage to balance?

R: Two words. Self-care. I take time for myself quite often. Soccer is one of my “me time” activities. I take myself out for coffee when I feel overwhelmed. I pray. I run (physically, not from my problems). I write. Writing is a great way to maintain that balance. I’m not a great communicator so letting my words take shape on paper helps me interpret my own emotions, if that makes sense. I should also add that having a supportive husband is what makes self-care possible. He’s always ready to go the extra mile for me if I need some alone time. I honestly don’t know what I would do without him in my life.

J: Makes perfect sense. There are times where I must write my compounded thoughts down or else I am to be labeled as a babbling idiot (sometimes). Being married to the renowned “Poetry Bandit”, what grandeur, if any, must stem from that title? How does this affect the creative atmosphere within your family? Have you ever collaborated professionally?

R: I’m not sure how it affects us, because for us, it’s our normal. Writing is seen as a normal every day activity in our house, whereas it probably isn’t in most other households. My daughter is a big writer as well. She’s 10 and her big dream right now is to write and illustrate a graphic novel about her life. Jon and I have not collaborated on any professional level, though we have done a few pieces together. We are always saying we need to collaborate more often. But usually, when he’s writing, I’m dealing with the kids and vice versa, so we’re not often being creative simultaneously.

J: Awesome! So the arts are alive in well in House Lupin. You mentioned that you are also into painting, which I am also a fan. What/whom are you art influences? Writing influences?

R: I have favourite artists, but I don’t know if they directly influence my work. I love M.C. Escher but his style is completely different from mine. Another favourite is Picasso. I would venture to say he does influence some of my work. As for my writing, my main influence would have to be Bob Dylan. He has been my favourite artist since I was 12 years old.

J: Nice. I too have my own literary ‘models’ in which I base my prose off of. Poetry is more intellectual and introspective. If you could name a material that could describe you as Rose Lupin, what would that be? This can be anything from fabric, to wood, stone, leafy/natural, etc.

R: Can I pick a tree? A deciduous tree. It’s always changing and it’s affected by the seasons. I’d like to say I’m the same way. The seasons inspire me so much. I write about summer, winter, spring, and fall often.

J: Interesting. That was actually a test that we at Thirty West to vet our prospective literary artists. First time anyone has ever said a ‘source object’ opposed to the object itself. A tree can be harvested of its bark, leaves, branches, and sap, so your reasoning behind that is compelling to me. Anyways, I remember being in dialogue with you about a literary journal in which you submitted to recently. What challenges were placed before you prior to hitting ‘submit’? Have you heard back yet?

R: Everyone has a fear of rejection but I have an extra dose. I had to sit for a few minutes and mentally talk myself into hitting submit. I had to tell myself to expect nothing but rejection from this. I haven’t heard back from them and I will not be surprised when I do and it’s my very first rejection.

J: Completely understandable. For some, it is a life-changing experience. I had my ‘moment of breaking’ twice over in the past few years, so I can totally relate. I hope they do publish you thought! Ok, last one. Where do you see your creative pursuits within the next 3-5 years? In which discipline are you more inclined to study/experiment with?

R: I try not to look too far into the future but I’d say in a few years I can see myself with a book or two published, either through a company or through self-publishing. I’m more focused on my writing right now. My painting is early stages still. I’m a novice and an amateur and I mostly paint what I feel and learn technique through trial and error. Hopefully in a few years I will be able to see myself as more than just a novice. I’m much more confident in my writing abilities, which actually isn’t saying much. I’d love to take classes in both, not just to learn more, but also to boost my confidence in these areas.

J: Great! You never know where your creativity will take you or in which manner it will mature. You best be sure that I am a fan of your work, and of course of you. Thanks again for a wonderful interview! Make sure to follow her on Instagram @roseclu