I am happy to welcome new author/poet Lynda McKinney Lambert to Jemsbooks Interview an Author Segment. Thank you for coming today, Lynda.
Photo: Lynda McKinney Lambert with her First Prize Winner, Girl on a Bench SeesVisions of butterflies, at the InSights18 international exhibition in Louisville, KY. Lynda creates mixed media fiber art talismans and wall pieces at her River Road Studio, in The Village of Wurtemburg, PA. She established her fine art studio in 1976. Lynda’s art is exhibited around the world and she has been in over 400 exhibitions in galleries & museums. Her art is in private and public collections world-wide.
Please tell us something about yourself.
There is only one question that determines what is important to me as an artist and author.
“How do I serve other people?”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I do that is beneficial to others. For if my work is not valuable to others, then my efforts are inconsequential and has no value.
In my role as professor at Geneva College, I had a primary purpose in my classrooms, to model and teach my students to be a servant-leader. This was on mission campus wide from the top administrators down. We taught this principle in our classrooms and lived it in our personal life.
“I asked myself, “What particular aspects are most important to other people in my writing and art?”
I do 2 things:
First, I am a caretaker of memories. I am the griot, or storyteller, of my own culture and time in the history of the human story, as I know it.
I bring memories to life through my work.
I consider how I connect with the past history of other people through the ages. My research explores the past as I search for the common threads that lead to the present.
Second, I am the keeper of beauty. I want all of my creative works to reflect the magnificence and splendor of what is lovely and beautiful. I keep my mind and my focus on this goal in my meditations and thoughts.
I seek out the foundation of exquisite beauty. Each journey brings me deeper into the core of all that is. And, infinite beauty is at the core.
Jjspina: I am in awe of you and your accomplishments, Lynda.
When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
My candid reply is, “I never aspired to be a writer.” I never realized it but I always had the mind of an artist – a maker. I was always creating “something” and forever asking myself, “What if…?”
I have to say I am a late bloomer. My academic career began when I entered the university at age forty-two. I was there for one reason, to study and make art. I entered the Fine Art program as a painter. And, by the time I entered the university, in 1985, I had already achieved national success and recognition for my work. I already had a career in art and never thought of anything else.
The first years of my young adult life were dedicated to my full-time profession as wife and mother of 5 children.
I began to paint in 1976. Once I started painting, I painted full-time while being at home and taking care of my family. Once the children left for school in the mornings, I painted most of the day. My kitchen table was my studio. From my first painting, I was doing art exhibitions.
By 1980, I had been selected for my first national exhibition in New York City, the Audubon National Exhibition – and I attended this opening reception by myself. I just flew to NYC, and was there for the opening. A friend met me at the airport, and that marked the beginning of my national and international career in art.
There was nothing more I wanted in my life than to spend my days making art. I was in heaven. I painted during the days, and dreamed of painting all night long.
I began my academic career after my youngest children were in high school. That was in 1985, and I was 42 years old that summer.
My earliest memories of the love of literature were in my childhood.
Over the summer breaks from school, my mother took me to the local public library where I came home with stacks of books. On hot summer days, I devoured those books while reclining on a glider on the front porch. This is where I encountered the magic of stories.
Later, in high school I had the privilege of being in Mr. Victor L. Brown’s English course where I learned about the power of the spoken word as he read Shakespeare to the class. I was hooked forever on the classics, mythology, and fine literature following that class
I had a mind that was always searching out something new, and being in a classroom was too confining and limiting to me. I was a day dreamer who was constantly looking out the windows of the classrooms. The life of my imagination was far more interesting than sitting in a high school class room. I had very little interest in anything other than reading and art in the late 50s and into the early 60s.
My first book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, was written as my tenure project while I was teaching Fine Arts & Humanities at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA.
As I developed a collection of poems and non-fiction reflections and essays, I began to realize I could actually be a published author. This book was published by Kota Press in 2002. I am very proud of this first book for it features my writing, drawings, and research while traveling each summer to Salzburg, Austria where I taught a course, “Drawing & Writing in Salzburg.” This achievement gave me confidence and courage to contemplate writing another book, but it would take a long time before I actually wrote and published, “Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems,” in February 2017.
Below: Photo of drawing: “Two Friends on a Bench” by Lynda Lambert.
In between writing my first 2 books, I lost most of my sight due to Ischemic Optic Neuropathy, and I retired in 2008 because of profound sight loss. I went away to an in-residence program at Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services in Pittsburgh, PA for about 3 months of Adjustment to Blindness Rehabilitation. After 2 years of blindness, I was again able to use a computer, and at that time my writing career officially began. I started writing a blog and had a website. This all led to the creation of my 2nd book, Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, in February 2017.3.
Jjspina: You are an amazing and multi-talented person.
What projects are you currently working on?
I must check the invisible check-list in my imagination for this response.
Finishing Line Press will publish my first chapbook, “first snow.”
A chapbook is a little book that has just a little collection of poems – mine will have 30 poems with a wintry theme. Since winter is my favorite season, I wanted to write this first chapbook to celebrate what is good and lovely about this cold season.
I will work on a revision of my first book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage.” That is on my mind a lot right now. The first book is now out of print and I plant to expand on it for the next publication of the book. I want to go back to my journals, written during my summer trips, and create some additional material from the journals.
I have outlined a memoir and will dig in to begin seriously working on it in late 2019 or early 2020. For right now, I am calling it, “Under the Blueberry Moon,” but that can change, of course. I’ve been blessed with an extraordinary life history, and so many times people have told me I need to write my auto-biography. In August, I will celebrate my 76th birthday. Maybe it is time to think about doing it. I think I will!
Jjspina: I believe you will have much to share and it could lead to a best-selling auto-biography.
Please share your books with us:
Note: I have included one poem from each of the 3 books.
I will begin with my newest book publication.
***My THIRD BOOK:
Star Signs: New & Selected Poems, KDA, 2019.
Star Signs is a collection of poems and non-fiction stories and memoirs.
Theme: Genesis 1: 14 Creation of the heavens & purpose of the stars.
*****A Poem from this Book – “The Bouquet”
(Photo by Lynda McKinney Lambert)
By Lynda McKinney Lambert
The finest bouquet
is a gift of the spirit –
small scraps, bright fabrics,
wild flowers and Butterflies
spilled from a yellow tote bag.
Carved pieces of abalone shells
glitter among golden beads –
dance in a circle
surround a porcelain medallion,
painted with wild roses and sunshine.
Fresh leafy green salads
blueberries and salty cashews
conversations and laughter
surrounded our mid-summer table.
We opened the amber glass bottle,
drank dark Blackberry wine
we raised our glasses –
Greetings – to the hot summer day-
Written by Lynda McKinney Lambert, 2013. Revised 2019.
*** My SECOND BOOK:
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, CreateSpace, 2017.
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Memoirs, Kota Press, 2017.
is a collection of poems and non-fiction stories and memoirs.
27 Non-Fiction Stories
12 Sections – January through December
LISTEN TO A FREE SAMPLE from the PROLOGUE of this book.
The AUDIBLE version was recorded by actress, Lillian Eves..
I think you will LOVE what you HEAR!
Read some REVIEWS, too!
*** Abbie Johnson Taylor wrote the first book review. Read it here: Abbie’s book review: https://abbiescorner.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/thursday-book-feature-walking-by-inner-vision/
***Link to Ann Harris Barnes’ most recent Review of this book: https://annwritesinspiration.com/2019/06/03/featured-book-and-book-review-of-walking-by-inner-vision-by-lynda-mckinney-lambert/
Theme: Take a leisurely year-long journey through the seasons.
Written like journal entries – one chapter for each month of the year.
Each of the sections begins with an introductory poem.
Book Cover Image and additional featured photographs are by Lynda McKinney Lambert.
*** A Poem from this book: “Muddy Hands,” where I explore the shock and challenge of losing my sight almost overnight. Sight loss and blindness are not themes in my work, overall. But this poem puts it in perspective.
By Lynda McKinney Lambert
You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
Breaking News! October 2007
I suddenly lost most of my eyesight.
I did not know night from day.
I could not see a clock. Time vanished.
I could not find a phone number or dial a phone
“Normal” was now upside−down days and nights.
I could dream.
I could still envision wonders.
I could try. I could try, again.
I picked up a piece of wet clay.
Slowly, the muddy substance felt like
a new possibility in my hands.
The clay brought back memories.
My muddy hands began to do the work
Muddy hands gave new confidence inside of me.
Muddy hands brought wholeness.
I dug into the mud, made unexpected treasures. The wet clay gave itself to me. “Magic Spirit Treasure Boxes” emerged. Cherished objects. Wall sculptures to honor the Earth, Nature, and the healing of my broken eyes. When I use my muddy hands, I am completed.
***My FIRST BOOK: Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, Kota Press, 2002.
This book is now out of print, but still available on Amazon.
I have a limited amount of this book at my home and if you want one autographed, please contact me and I can do that for you. My e-mail: email@example.com
You can send a payment of $15. through PayPal, and I will send it with
FREE SHIPPING to YOU!
Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage is a collection of poems and non-fiction stories and memoirs.
5 Historical Notes
Theme: “A profound and humble affirmation of life.” Endorsement quote on back cover, by Bernard D. Freydberg and Akiko Kotani
Book Cover Image is a detail of one of Lynda’s mixed-media paintings that she created in her studio in the Alpine Village of Grödig, Austria.
The book also features a number of drawings she did while traveling.
Drawings and writings in the book were written as she traveled annually in Venice, Italy; Prague, Czech Republic; Villages and cities in Germany, and other locations on her weekend excursions.
For a dozen summers, Lynda created a body of works-on-paper that were later exhibited nationally in a variety of exhibitions in solo and group shows in galleries & museums. Her art is in private and public collections worldwide.
This collection was inspired by the travel journals written by Matsuo Basho, (1644- November 28, 1694) – Basha lived in Iga, which was a province of Japan. One of Lynda’s favorite book by Basho, is Along the Narrow Road.
Like Basho, Lynda wrote on her travels and experiences of a journey that is akin to a Pilgrimage. Lynda presents life as a spiritual quest, to be embraced.
Written as a travel journal during her summers in Austria where she taught a course, “Drawing and Writing in Salzburg.”
***** A Poem from this Book:
“Concert in the Fortress”
“Concert in the Fortress”
By Lynda McKinney Lambert
Red fluted pillars
black ruffles on a swinging skirt
golden metal stars.
Flags of red and white
bouquets of flowers and music
arches frame night skies.
Stone paths, shields, blazons
singing and chess in the town square
Salzburg in July.
Note: Construction on the Hohensalzburg (fortress) began in the year 1077. The Golden Hall was added in 1502.
Concerts are held here under the blue ceiling with the gold leafed buttons symbolizing the stars in heaven. Four spiral columns of red marble support the ceiling.
In this early poem, written as a journal entry, in the summer of 1991, I introduced a theme of stars and the heavens that continues into the present time.
This theme became the inspiration of my 3rd book, Star Signs: New & Selected Poems, KDA, 2019.
Jjspina: Beautiful poetry, Lynda. My heart goes out to you over the loss of your sight. You are truly amazing!
If you could have one wish, what would it be?
I share ONE WISH for each of the OCCUPATIONS I represent in my art, writing, education and personal life.
First – My Author Wish is to serve my audience and keep their memories alive in a way that allows them to be transformed in some way that is unique to each person.
Transformation is a theme in all of my work.
Second – My Educator Wish is that my audience will become aware of their own world view and search to find the connections they have with all that has transpired before them, in our shared human history.
Third – My Visual Artist Wish is to give the world beauty and to bring to life memories of things we forgot. Things we already know from our past, that somehow,we lost contact with.
Fourth – My Personal Wish is that I could spend one more day with my Mother, Father, and my younger brother, David. They each passed through that thin veil that separates the living from the dead – to their eternal home.
I would let them know how much I love them and that I appreciate everything we shared together when they were still here with me. And, I want to hear about each of their transformation stories of their life journeys.
I would also like to have one hour with my son-in-law, Denny, who passed away on July 1, 2019. Our daughter, Salome, is now a widow at the age of 56. My heart aches for them both.
Jjspina: So sorry for your loss of your son-in-law at such a young age. My sympathy to you and your daughter.
What is your favorite food?
I wrote a poem about my favorite food – eggplant.
The poem is in my latest book, Star Sign: New & Selected Poems.
That poem is “Eggplant Parmesan with Spaghetti” (a Tritina poem).
“Eggplant Parmesan with Spaghetti”
By Lynda McKinney Lambert
its early morning and I feel hungry for breakfast
but foods like sunny side up eggs or oatmeal don’t tempt me today
so, I put on my jacket and slipped into my outdoor shoes.
I walked through wet morning grass in my waterproof shoes
when the sun came up in the east, I thought more about breakfast
because this is no ordinary morning, today
O, no! This is Resurrection Morning – today
A voice in the burning bush said, “Take off your Shoes!”
“You can have eggplant parmesan with spaghetti for breakfast.”
Eggplant Parmesan for breakfast? Today? I quickly removed my new shoes.
I write about a variety of the particular aspects of nature and life that I experience and those things that catch my attention. Often, my motifs are mundane and ordinary things that just seem to drift to my field of vision in a moment.
An Aloe Vera plant;
My dogs walking through the snow on a winter day;
A painting in the Andy Warhol Museum;
A picnic lunch delivered by friends;
My jewelry box;
A stone I found while walking home;
My Grandmother’s old cream pitcher;
A walk through the meadow in Autumn…
Ordinary, every-day items.
My professor’s hat is always on and I enjoy sharing insight into those motifs and themes in a way that is educational as well as enlightening to my readers. I hope that my readers find joy, peace, and beauty all around them. And, if I am able to point to things they might have missed along the way – to show them something they never saw or experienced before, then I am successful.
Art history is the most wonderful way to understand the world we live in.
My poems are fragments from art history and from the livingness all around me.
Success, for me, is to feel satisfaction with the smallest things in my world.
As for the French word for eggplant…aubergine… I just love to hear the syllables roll over my tongue and tumble out of my mouth like a hidden brook in the woods. It spills out, through my lips, and flows into the landscape.
Special words do that to us.
A word comes to life when we speak it out loud.
Jjspina: Eggplant is delicious, I agree. Words do come to life when we speak them out loud. Very eloquently said.
Do you love animals?
What can I say? Here are some clues:
We have 2 rescued dogs; 2 rescued cats.
We regularly feed and give shelter to feral cats who drop by for a meal or some rest in a safe place.
We drop bits of bread beside the stone mound in our Zen Meditation Garden,
And we sit on the porch in our Amish Rocking Chairs to glimpse the sparrows arriving and departing from the trees in the yard.
Bob and I also put food out on a rock in the woods for any creature to eat as needed.
I remember the creation story as described in Genesis 1. Where we can find the original intention of God as he created everything that exists. One by one, I think of the creatures and animals and birds he created. What a sense of humor he must have. Just imagine the variety of life on earth and in the universe! I close my eyes and hear God breaking out in laughter as he sang and danced the world into existence. I think this is why I love music dance so much. Those things are imbedded in our DNA from the beginning of time.
Jjspina: Thank you, Lynda, for sharing your beautiful thoughts and words.
Here are my links on Social Media –
Lynda’s Authors Page- Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/author/lyndalambert
Lynda’s Official Authors Page: http://www.dldbooks.com/lyndalambert/
Lynda’s 2 Blogs:
Website & Blog: Walking by Inner Vision – personal blog & website
Scan-A-Blog – A quiet Place of Inspiration, Art, Nature, Literature
I feature other people on this one, and re-blog articles of interest here.
On Facebook, I have the following Pages:
River Road Studio – on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/River-Road-Studio-175785105811956/
SCAN on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SCAN-782814908467623/
Walking by Inner Vision on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/walkingbyinnervision/
Lynda McKinney Lambert (Timeline): https://www.facebook.com/lyndamckinneylambert
Thank you, Lynda, for coming today to share all your books with us and your fascinating life so eloquently. It was a pleasure to have you. I wish you much success with this and all your future endeavors. Now that you are part of Jemsbooks family of authors please feel free to come back again to share any new projects.
Thank you so much for stopping by today to read about this talented author/poet. I hope you will check out her new book and click on her links and visit her.
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