Butler County Times Gazette
  • Q5: 'Life's joys and trials' inspire local poet

  • Lynn Paul has just had a book of poetry published entitled "Hold What You Set Free."
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  • Lynn Paul has just had a book of poetry published entitled "Hold What You Set Free." In this Quick 5 interview, Lynn, who works for the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office, talks about her lifelong love of writing.
    1. Lynn, why did you begin writing poetry and what events and experiences in your life have inspired you to create verses?
    "My parents always read to me, children’s books of course, but (also) Dickens, Longfellow, Robert Frost. Memorizing came easy and soon I was composing my own little verses and stories.
    "Serious writing began at age 16; my collection of rhymes and free verse spans 45 years. All of life’s joys and trials are an inspiration. It’s fun to make people laugh, and when your heart breaks, writing eases the pain. Sometimes I can’t write fast enough to capture the emotions."
    2. Can you tell us about your new book of poetry and how you decided on the title, "Hold What You Set Free?"
    "It was always a dream to publish, but every artist wonders if their work is good enough, if others will appreciate the effort. The last line of Risk asks, 'Can something so old still be vulnerable?'
    'Hold What You Set Free' is for someone I met 26 years ago. He came back into my life and read my words. When he held the manuscript and told me to publish, he set free the emotions and thoughts I had kept hidden. His praise helped me share verses with the Dedeke brothers, who also encouraged me.
    "This book is self-published, so I had all the responsibility to proof, copy write, and finance. That also means I completely own the rights to my material and handling sales. After the print fee is covered, all profit are 100 percent mine. Allen Press in Lawrence was so helpful, I’ll print there again."
    3. Do you find that working for the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office has given you lots of ideas for poetic works? How do you make time for writing?
    "William Sydney Porter (O’Henry) said there are stories everywhere. Inspiration comes from animals, music, events, memory. It’s all about how you see and feel, what triggers your thoughts.
    "Ideas flash in my mind and demand capture. I’ve killed the mower or stopped the vacuum to seize a phrase.
    “Poems are written on napkins, paper towels, Kleenex boxes, boards, my shirt, my hand. At night, I wake from a dream, grab pen and paper."
    4. As a writer, what draws you to create poetry as opposed to short stories or books? What's the most challenging aspect of condensing your thoughts and subjects into concise and elegant artistry?
    Page 2 of 2 - "Poetry and free verse provide an immediate result.  It touches you or it doesn’t. Writing one-pagers makes you get to the point.
    “There are a few short stories in 'Hold What You Set Free.' I have written longer stories and seek an artist to illustrate several children’s books.
    "I read constantly and am challenged to use my own words, not repeat what someone else wrote. 
    “At the Basehor library writing group, we study to improve our skills. Clarity is my goal, using words to paint pictures.
    "If my words make you see the scene or feel it in your heart, that’s great. Another challenge is protecting other’s identity.
    “They see themselves in my work, but you don’t know them. And, I’m still searching for those words that are bigger than 'I’m sorry.'"
    5. Who are your favorite poets and have any of them inspired you to write? Where can people buy your book and are you working on poems for another book?
    "My most inspirational poet is Rod McKuen. He proved that lines don’t have to rhyme.
    “I see his word pictures, taste his tears, he makes me smile. I want to do the same, share intimately and gently touch your soul. I mentioned Robert Frost, a down-to-earth, gentle man who celebrated everyday life.
    "Dr. Seuss and Ogden Nash gave me permission to use humor. I’m grateful for every author who shared their words and gave me freedom to express. I’d like to do some group readings, book signings and inspire others to create.
    "Yes, I’m working on a second book. Many old poems wait for edits and new ones spring forth. To purchase a signed copy of 'Hold What You Set Free,' contact me on Facebook, or leave a message on my old-fashioned answering machine. I’m in the phone book. You can also send $15, plus $2.50 postage, to P.O. Box 408, Tonganoxie, Kan., 66086."

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