starlight for the mind and soul
by BethAnne Kapansky Wright
Illustrations by BethAnne Kapansky Wright
Publication Date: June 5, 2017
Paperback | 230 pages | 6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Poetry | Nature | Prose | Meditations
With rich imagery of the natural world and soulful words that speak to our relationship with ourselves, each other, and the earth, Heliotrope Nights is an exploration of the human spirit and journey of soul, where the author’s deep reverence for nature and ability to find sacred in the everyday shines through. Through works of self-discovery, reflections on humanity, and a fearless unveiling of personal truth, this stirring collection of poetry, prose, and short essays invites the reader to turn inwards, reflect, and consider their own truth.
Watch the Book Trailer!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BethAnne Kapansky Wright is a Clinical Psychologist who enjoys writing, illustrating and creating. She specializes in women’s issues, life transitions, trauma, grief work, and finding healing in our relationships, especially our relationship with our self. She believes in authenticity, intuition, the power of love, finding joy, and learning to be more fully human.
She is the author of Lamentations of The Sea, freebird fridays, and Cranberry Dusk. She is transitioning from life in Anchorage Alaska to life in Kauai where she, her husband, and their fur kids will always find beaches, ocean, and rainbows.
Q & A with BethAnne
Q. When did you realize you wanted to write this book?
A. I do well with having projects to focus on, and I find that just as one thing is wrapping up I always feel the urge to begin to create another. Last fall, right before freebird fridays came out, I began compiling some of my oldest poems, which I had never published, along with my most recent unpublished work into a document. By the time the holidays rolled around, I realized I had enough pages to create a new book, and with the dark of the winter months in Alaska, which encourage well-insulated evenings of coziness and writing, I figured it was the perfect time to work on Heliotrope Nights and turn those pages into a new work!
Q. What inspired the title of your poetry book?
A. There is a poem in the book that is called Heliotrope Nights.
I love to play with imagery of color and nature in my writing by finding unusual words to describe the many wonderful shades we find in the natural world.
I’m continually fascinated by the lavender and violets and amethysts of the sky, and I was searching for another word to describe those vivid shades when I was writing a poem about the sky one evening. Heliotrope, a purple flower, came to mind to describe the intensity of tone in that particular eventide. I liked the musicality of the poem’s title so much that I decided to use it for the book.
Q. How long did it take to write the book?
A. Some of the poetry in the book goes as far back as 2013, so it’s been in the works, informally, for awhile. But in September of 2016, I actively started compiling poems for the book, so I was consciously working on writing it for about 8 months and adding new poetry into the mix pretty much up until I pressed “send” on the manuscript to my publisher.
Q. Which part of the book are you most proud of?
A. I’m proud of the diversity and harmony among the writing. My writing style has changed a great deal since I first began writing poetry, and I wasn’t sure if my old work would mix with my new into a copacetic arrangement. But in the end, I feel like I was able to weave all my different voices and versions of self into a cohesive, creative unit and I feel really good about the final product!
Q. Big questions…Why do you write poetry? Why do you like to illustrate your books?
A. There are many things I love about poetry. You can write an entire story with just a few words. You can focus on the hidden moments and quiet thoughts that may go unnoticed and untold otherwise. You can create dances and symphonies and huge movements with syntax and punctuation and word choice.
There is so much freedom to play with language and style, and the free spirit in me really connects with the liberty and creativity and wide open spaces that I find through writing poetry.
I’ve seen the world through a lens of creativity, artistry, and color for as long as I remember. My first memory is of my mother dressing me in brown corduroys and a red shirt to go to a play group, upon which I promptly began crying because they were too “plain.” I asked her to put me in something “rainbow” instead! And that sense of wanting to surround my self with bright hue and tone and saturate the spaces I inhabit extends to my books.
I feel art adds an extra layer of thought and healing to the work that helps the reader to connect with the words on a different level than they may have otherwise. Also, this world can be awfully harsh—who doesn’t need a bit more cheer of color?
Q. How does your background as a Clinical Psychologist influence your writing and views about life?
A. After 15 years of being a psychologist, I’ve had the privilege to witness so many individuals on their own journeys in life. And this collection of experiences has made me keenly aware of several things about humanity:
1) everybody is doing better than they think they are,
2) our experience of self is the most profound thing we will experience since that will dictate how we view the world and take in our experience of life,
3) we are constantly growing and changing as individuals and are not meant to stay the same, and
4) each of us is on our own path trying to find our way the best we know how.
And that lens on life creates the cornerstone of my writing coupled with my desire to bring gentle, healing words to others to offer them some hope and light along their path.
Q. You will be moving to Kauai in a few months, how are you handling that big move and what would you advise to others going through big changes and reinventions of the self?
A. Orchestrating this move feels like I’m running a giant circus some days—there’s something going on in all three rings in the main tent at the same time, not to mention all the side shows and vendors on the main grounds! It has been busy, hectic, and requires a lot of circular thinking to stay on top of everything at once. Right now it is a “one day at a time/ what do I need to check off the list today?” approach. I try to be gracious with myself and give myself a lot of latitude for all the moods and feelings that have come up; there are so many nebulous emotions that feel undefinable when you go through a reinvention of self. But in the middle of all that is uncertain, there are many seeds of hope and excitement for the possibility of an unwritten future, and I would tell anyone going through a major change or reinvention of self—no matter how scary, uncertain, stressful, and chaotic things may be, these are the exact ingredients needed to manifest change. We can’t form into somebody new without letting our old self fall apart and away.
Reinvention will always require a deconstruction of self so you can reconstruct a new self, and allowing ourselves this process of change is the only way we will ever grow our souls.
Q. What are you working on next?
A. I’m working on an anthology with my friend and fellow writer Carolyn Riker. The two of us have teamed up as co-editors to create a beautiful work of words and truth reflecting a rich diversity of voices. Hidden Lights: A Collection of Truths Not Often Told will be out in the fall.
I’m also starting to shift gears to my next book Every Day is a Good Day (Even When They’re Not): Insights and Wisdoms for Adolescents on Up, which is composed of various meditations, reflections, illustrations, and perspectives on life and will be out November or December of 2017. I have such a heart for bringing healing to this world and helping people develop a vocabulary and way to conceptualize their own emotional, psychological and soul development, and I’m hoping this book meets people, whatever age, on their journeys and encourages, inspires, and reassures that they are doing a beautiful job learning what it means to be themselves and learning what it means to be human.
Last, I’m working on compiling a new book of poetry and prose called Between Breaths, which will be out in 2018.
BethAnne is also author of freebird fridays: a love story and Lamentations of The Sea: 111 passages on grief, love, loss and letting go, both publications of Golden Dragonfly Press.