Today, I am guest posting Canadian writer and poet Val B Russell who blogs ferociously at Words.

There is not a blogger like Val. She has led the most extraordinary life and shares snippets of her reality with us via her poetry, prose, ‘diatribes’ (to quote herself) and photography. She is brutally honest, wise, and talented plus she can make you laugh yourself silly.

She is also a writer in need of an agent and publisher – that’s a heads up for any talent scouts out there after a gritty memoir.

Val has kindly allowed me to reproduce her poem:


You cannot gain distance
on the road
with the ball and chain
of wants
of another
You cannot make it from here to there
on the road
carrying the burden of a self made cripple
who envies
your strength
You cannot brace yourself
on the road
against the cold wind of envy
from the storm
in another heart
Sometimes the only method
on the road
is to remain unfettered
and travel in peace as a solitary soul

written by V B Russell


To find out more about Val the blogger, I pitched a couple of questions her way:

Why do you blog?

I started blogging as a way of putting my shingle out as a writer looking for a career.  I’d been away from it for a while and my writing credits and clips were so old they qualified as museum artefacts.  I also felt that blogging would ease me into a daily writing routine and discipline my errant ways.  It worked.

I write everyday and I feel my focus is clearer and my work cleaner than if I’d just cloistered myself away without the input of others, which segues nicely into the most important reason for my blogging: other writers.  There is no resource more important for any artist, than the company of their peers.  To begin any project is daunting for a writer and the self doubt can kill a story before it gets from your head to the paper/screen, therefore it is so important to commiserate with others who share the unique summits and valleys inherent in this profession.

If it weren’t for the other writers I’ve met through my blog, I don’t believe I would have advanced this far on the road to my ultimate goal of supporting myself full-time with my words.  I can never say thank you often enough for the encouragement and honest critiques I’ve received from everyone, in addition to the verbal jousting matches we writers are known for and which keep us on our toes intellectually.

What do you like best about blogging?

It is immediate.  If I write something, I can know if it is utter crap within a matter of hours because the silence in the comment section is deafening.  I have saved myself a lot of time and effort by using the blog as a testing ground for plot lines, character development and of course poetry.  It is planet sized classroom, packed to the rafters with people from everywhere and sometimes they stroll by and stop to drop in their two cents, or they read and leave.

As an artist, it’s priceless to have that sort of access and for your work to reach such an incredible number of souls from all walks of life and cultures.  It is an unbelievable gift our generation is enjoying, exploring and expanding.  It is probably akin to how writers felt when the printing press was invented; we are liberated by the technology.  This technology has allowed me the privilege of being a guest on your blog Gabrielle and the opportunity to connect with you and the other spectacular writers and human beings who teach me what it means to be an artist.


Thanks Val!

24 thoughts on “Guest Blogger – Val B Russell

  1. Love the poem – it made me cry. Love Val’s philosophy too, and have found friendships and new viewpoints on everything – including my own writing – on the internet.


  2. You already know I adore you Gabrielle and this is one of the many reasons why. You never fail to astound me with the bigness of your heart and I’m very fortunate to have met someone so talented and kind. Much love and hugs to you my good friend, and thank you for this.

    1. You’re welcome Val – you know I think you are one of the best bloggers out there (someone has to find the pearls in all those shells) – you’ve made d cry with your poem – that is always a good sign 🙂

  3. Hi Val and Garielle. Thanks so much for this post. Val’s comment: “It is an unbelievable gift our generation is enjoying, exploring and expanding” succintly sums up the jewel that is the blogosphere. Every day I’m astounded by the quality of the writing out there – so many talented people who we’d otherwise never get a chance to read or have inspire us – it’s just fabulous. And yes, the silences are just as valuable as the comments 🙂 Thanks to you both.

  4. I comletely agree with you, Val. Blogging has shaped my writing in a way I never thought it could. It has given me discipline and focus. As well as invaluable critiques. So great to meet you and to read your wonderful poem.

    Thanks, Gabrielle!

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