Poet Cassidy Richison's words are soaked with references to " nature, meditation, consciousness, and life." Here she discusses her creative process, what writing means to her, and what she hopes for future storytellers and changemakers.
Q: How would you describe your style of writing?
Cassidy: I would describe my style of writing as a combination of intuitive expression and prose. "Journey poetry" as written bi-products of my journey through life. The reason why I love writing and why I fell in love with writing is because I feel it's like a journey through my own conscious and subconscious mind; it's a conversation I would have with myself as a means of translating my humanness. I don't care for fancy [writing] or mouths full of convoluted language. I just want to write, to express what I am experiencing that I've had a hard time vocalizing.
As such, I connect the most with free verse and prose poetry. I went to school and absorbed so much information from all these amazing authors, poets, and speakers. Yet I also felt that it was extremely important for me to stay true to my own voice in what I write, instead of bending my message to match those who are seen as success stories. Writing isn’t about being like the authors I studied but documenting my relationship with life itself, as a breathing, connected, electric microcosm of the universe.
Are there any interesting/surprising stories behind some of your pieces?
All of my creations have background stories and moments that inspired them into being. "12:12 New Moon Writings" was written when I was moving after graduating from DePauw University. At that time, I had moved around three different states and landed for a while in Bloomington, Indiana. I remember sitting in Rainbow Bakery, staring at an old Ms. Pac-Man machine, snow on the tiny tree in front of the window. I was considering leaving Bloomington even though I had only been there for a month.
The opening line of "12:12 New Moon Writings" is “There is bound to be a storm soon.” I had fallen into my own cyclical nature and repetition of habits. The storm represented a recurring feeling that would show up in times of transition. Usually, it popped up when I felt eager about what I wanted to experience next, and in that excitement, I forgot to appreciate where I was and savor the beauty of the present moment. I had the tendency to focus on exploring the multidimensionality of life that I forgot to ever “land” where I actually was in reality and feel gratitude for how far I have come. I knew in my heart I needed to practice patience and learn to enjoy the pace of my own process. So, I made a choice to slow down, to finish some projects I started and to breathe through the madness and magic of it all. Those weren’t easy times for me: air mattress, angry dog, and a lot of crying in my car outside of Bloomingfoods. Those were also some of the most beautiful times, too, as I was finding my balance in what seemed to be a teetering world.
What is your creative process like? Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from life itself and personal experiences. My truest love is the very fact that I am alive. Connecting with the natural world around me makes me feel alive. Nature has always acted as a mirror for me, showing me greater versions of myself that coexist with the the natural laws of nature. That’s probably why I use a lot of elements from the earth as subjects and anchors for some of my creations. I have always been fond of words and how we choose to use them. I personally feel they carry the power to create worlds when weaved consciously and mindfully; they feel the life behind their sounds and the magic in their shapes. I see and use language in order to bring more life into our world. To bring more color, more exploration, and more truth.
Aside from writing, how else do you express yourself creatively?
I use music, yoga, and dance to express myself creatively. Also, when I really look at it, I use communication [as creativity], as well. I converse with plants, animals, and people; it’s all a matter of paying attention and feeling. We know the language of many species. We just have to remember that some languages have evolved beyond words.
And finally, if you could produce any piece of work with no limitations, what would it be and why?
A new education system and community. I'd want to create an education system that encourages gifted children to shine their unique light in this world. I want an education system that isn’t afraid to explore human consciousness and human potential, one that feels inclusive and inspiring. I want this because I feel like the education system I was a part of wasn't designed to teach me how to be myself. It felt like it was designed to teach me how to be accepted by my society and system, to be just enough to “get by.” By being this way, I could never feel aligned nor fulfilled. It left me in debt and disconnected. I had to take matters into my own hands in order to start living a life more in line with my true talents and my true nature.
I feel that kids who have been gifted with heightened sensitivity and an inclination to heal the planet should also have a place to learn, grow, and create. Kids should be able to really explore their own inner nature and inner workings. I look back and think about what it would have been like to have mentors for the things I was actually interested in, and I know it could have prevented a lot of sorrow if I had a stronger sense of community.
The community would be a place where we truly see each other as co-creators. It would be a place where there is integrity in the food we make, the art we make, the conversations we share, the music we play. I would build an eco-house and building for like-minded souls and spirits to co-exist; this isn't an “I want to be separate from the world” kind of place. It’s just a place where there is peace, truth, joy, love, connection, and vibrancy. I want this place because I can see its potential and possibility. I know from experience that our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions create the world we live in. The first step in creating a new world is believing in one. When this places comes into existence, it will impact our planet in a positive way.
Thanks for chatting with us, Cassidy! We feel inspired hearing and learning from you. ◆
You can find more of Cassidy's work on her website.