What inspired your piece?
I wrote this piece several years ago about what it feels like to provide emotional support, hard-won knowledge, or friendship to another person when that person unabashedly avoids incorporating us as an equal into his or her world. I think many of us have been there at some point in our lives, whether it occurred in a romantic, friendship, or professional situation.
Using the persona of a “witch” who had been banished from a village and found refuge in a neighboring forest, I stepped into the body of someone who was valued for her powers of natural healing, spiritual intuition, and inner wisdom, yet who was also feared and banished from mainstream, acceptable “society” for the very same reasons she was secretly sought by its members.
One of the joys of poetry is that you can be playful with words and their arrangement. I like to use words here and there that aren’t technically words, like “unfurbished.” “Unfurnished” doesn’t quite capture the neglect of “unfurbished.”
The title of the poem comes from the Nepali word “soltini.” I used to live in Nepal, and this colloquial word was used to mean a combination of “sweetheart,” “crush,” or “flirt.” It’s affectionate, but noncommittal, just like the relationship in this piece. I changed it to “sultini,” because it sounds more like “sultan,” lending a sense of the speaker’s personality, which is powerful, isolated, and almost royal in its aloof strength.
What do you want readers to take away from your piece?
That is is right to expect to be treated with respect and of equal worth in any relationship–and that if you are not getting out of a relationship what you are putting into it, perhaps it is time to release yourself from that, because freeing up your time and energy from a draining situation opens the door wide for something much better. Sometimes, this is a lesson we need relearn at different points in our lives, no matter how young or old we are. Never accept being cast upon the margins–like the woman in this poem, reclaim your powers, your boundaries, and show them the door.
Do you find writing invigorating or exhausting?
I find writing short stories, novellas, and poetry invigorating. Writing novels can be exhilarating when you hit great scenes, but physically and mentally, they are exhausting for me to write. I have fibromyalgia and dystonia, so experimenting with shorter forms has been so liberating. I urge every writer to experiment with many forms, and not feel like you have to be locked into one area–it can transform your creative world!
Do you have any future writing plans?
Absolutely! I have an upcoming novella, Fire Under Water: A Great Lakes Ghost Story, set for release in January of 2018, as well as 3 short stories I’m completing for entry into upcoming contests, and two contemporary young adult novels I am (very slowly) editing and hoping to query soon. After all of that, I would love to just keep working on poetry that is inspired by the Great Lakes natural area, maritime history, legends, and its rich demographic history.
You can read Margaret King’s piece in Issue Four of The Ginger Collect: Sultini.