CHRISTIAN POETS AND WRITERS Interview with Christian poet and creative writer Nellie Leverette Wasilewski, by: Mary Harwell Sayler, Founder
Nellie, first I want to congratulate you on having poetry published recently in such fine literary e-zines as Haiku Journal, The Barefoot Review, Three Line Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, and 50 Haikus – super!
Now I know you started writing as a child in Marshall County, TN, but tell us when you realized you wanted to be a writer.
I really don't know the answer to that question. I think I spoke poetry before I could write it. I had a vivid imagination as a child and almost anything could turn into a story, a poem, or a play. I used to perform for my family and make up the play as I went. I think it has always been there, a special blessing from God.
Definitely! Does the Bible affect your writing projects and/or your writing life?
The Bible is mostly poetry and beautiful to read. I have to constantly rely on scripture to guide me in my writing. Jeremiah 29:11 is a guiding light for me. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I try not to be apprehensive or anxious about my writing, and this particular scripture keeps me on track. I believe that whatever the Lord's plans are will be revealed to me in God’s time.
Good thoughts for Christian poets and writers to hear too! Thanks. What other suggestions would you like to offer?
Don't stop writing! Try to write about the things you love. After you write a piece, put it out of sight for a while, and then go back and read it aloud, edit, and revise. (I believe I heard that from you.) Pray before you start a new work, pray while you are writing it, and pray when you finish it. Turn it over to the Lord while you search for publishers and trust that it will end up in the right place, whether it is with a publisher or simply someone who will profit from your writing.
Excellent attitude! What else encourages you to keep writing?
Upon retirement, my boss ask me what I planned to do with all that free time, and I told her I planned to write and maybe try to get some of my work published. It was a fleeting thought, not something I actually planned on too much. I am a firm believer that God sends us the right person at the right time to tell us what we need to hear. Mary, you were that person for me. When I said I didn't think so, you believed that I could. I joined the Christian Poets and Writers group on Facebook and began to feel more comfortable with the literary world. Also, I am a huge fan of God’s canvas, and I love nature. There is nothing more beautiful than a natural waterfall.
The beauties and rhythms of nature often inspire me too, but I keep wondering how we can bring this into the church. In what ways do you think our writings can help to strengthen the church Body of Christ?
Recently, I was in the hospital family waiting room and overheard a lady on the phone crying and in much distress. We prayed together and as the morning stretched into early evening, I read her one of my poems. She told me it was exactly what she needed to hear, and it made her feel better. You never know what simple thing, such as a poem, may touch someone. That is the second time recently I have had that happen. If only a few people can find peace in my poetry or devotionals, then I am doing what I am supposed to do.
What a wonderful way to make a difference and bring healing one-on-one, Nellie! Hmmm, come to think of it, that's also how Jesus approached people - as individuals. What do you hope your writing will accomplish in general?
Make people happy, or in some small way, give them peace, hope, and encouragement. My goal is to bring people closer to Jesus Christ by writing about everyday things with which they can identify. When I worked with the public, I answered the phone with a smile, and it reflected in my voice. I try to write with a smile in my devotionals and hope that smile reflects in my work. The main thing is to edify the Lord in word and in deed.
You certainly do that, Nellie! Thank you for helping us to do that too. God bless.
© 2014 Mary Harwell Sayler, interviewer
Labels: Christian poet, Christian writer, creative writing, haiku poetry, Marshall County TN, Nellie Leverette, Nells Wasilewski