e first interviewed Christina Sng for the June 2k3 issue of Penumbric
, and at the time she was already an accomplished writer with 200 poems sold in only a few years. But then between then and now, she (as we did) took a break, and she stopped writing for 8 years, for a variety of reasons--having children, and a combination of sleep deprivation and a lack of support. But she never lost her creative spark (even during this time she made toys--for her children, which, she says, "makes me so happy to see my children still cherishing all their Mama-made toys now kept in their treasure boxes"). And now she's definitely back, having won the Bram Stoker Award for A Collection of Nightmares
and being an Elgin Award runner-up for Astropoetry
(amongst many other nominations and awards). She is one of the most prolific writers we know, and that 200 poems has blossomed to a thousand, and in addition she's sold about 20 pieces of art. And of course her books, including the brand new A Collection of Dreamscapes, Astropoetry
, and An Assortment of Sky Things
. (You can find a full list at christinasng.com/bibliography.html
We are very privileged to be able to interview her again as we begin a new journey for Penumbric.
* * *
What's different now about writing (as compared to fifteen years ago)? How is your writing process different now (or is it)? Are there specific events or particular topics that inspire you?
It's been an uncharted, arduous journey for me this past decade and much of my work has documented this. My most joyful moments have been with my children and I've written them into many of my poems. At the same time, my eyes have opened to some of the worst evils man is capable of. These themes are explored in my second book A Collection of Dreamscapes
, and they will possibly spill into my third and fourth books as well.
In what way has the rise of social media changed your writing or approach to it (if it has), or the way you market your work? Have any other technologies changed your work?
Social media has been great for me. It helped me survive those long nights and days, feeling connected to the world and people who cared.
Now we do a lot of our marketing on social media and it has been a wonderful way to get news and information about our work out.
THE PRICE OF PEACE
All my life,
I've been told to keep the peace,
Even if it meant lying down
To let parts of me be cut away,
One by one to be taken as
Someone else's trophy.
My cut parts stopped growing back.
It was then I realized
They were all wrong.
I should not keep the peace.
I should fight.
I should wage war
So my children would never
Have to sacrifice their bodies
For another person's peace.
Because we are not a peaceful species.
In our hearts, we are always at war.
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I use primarily Facebook as I am most familiar with the medium. I also post on Twitter and Instagram but a little less frequently.
The smart phone has been critical to my writing and being digitized, helps my submissions get sent out faster without having to transcribe them.
Recently you've published
A Collection of Dreamscapes, and you have other relatively recent collections from the last few years (for example,
A Collection of Nightmares, Astropoetry, and
An Assortment of Sky Things). How did you end up putting these together?
Long, late nights and a clear mind, which weren't always congruent. There was always a sense of needing to collect the poems, perhaps an innate feeling of organizing things that led to them.
Most writers dream of having a book published. It has been my life's dream since I was a child. I worked whenever I could to organize my poems with countless read-throughs to ensure they flowed and ensuring there were no typos or errors in the formatting.
Do you still publish science and engineering articles? Specifically, are you still interested in nanotechnology? What about the rise of AI?
We'd grown immune
To the acid,
To the searing heat.
Of volcanic protozoans
Over ten generations
From hairless weak humans
From a devastated Earth
To fire creatures thriving
On the metallic mountains
I stand with my daughter
On Maxwell Montes, overlooking
The saffron plains below.
Nourishing our galenic plants
And cyclo-octasulphuric fauna.
She asks, what is that blue orb
Beyond the haze of darkness
Between us and the universe?
She knows this
But I remind her anyway.
There is so much to remember,
We often forget.
That is Earth, I tell her,
Where the first of us came from,
Escaping the world they destroyed
Through selfishness and greed,
Unable to agree as one species,
Battling each other
Till the planet was lost.
Our ancestors swore
We would not make
The same mistakes twice.
So we evolved ourselves,
This time not only
To survive the harsh land,
But constructing for all of us,
A pure mind.
A hive mind.
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Unfortunately, that well has dried up. I'd love to write more articles, but raising kids took up all of my time over the past decade.
I could only write when everyone was asleep, and often I was exhausted by then. Still, I pushed on. I've survived on 4 hours of sleep for many years now just to get some time to myself, but my body can no longer sustain it.
Now, I'm more interested in what nanotechnology and AI can do, their applications and when they will be implemented. Can they mend us, take away our pain, make the world a better place, reverse climate change? The world has changed immensely in the past 15 years and so have I.
We love your art! How do you find that creatively as compared to writing?
It varies. Art takes more extraordinary effort while writing comes more naturally for me.
There is a recurring figure in your art, the "tendrilled girl." Can you tell me more about her?
She's mysterious and alien and lives by a tree with her cat and sometimes her children. It's an image I find comfort in.
You mention toy-making ... That sounds so cool! What kinds of things did you make?
Jack says, as he curls up
On her lap for a cuddle.
"Whenever I tell a story,
It seems to come true."
Grandma raises an eyebrow.
"How can it be? The world
Doesn't work that way,
Not in our world, anyway.
We have to imagine it."
Grandma and Jack sit
On the porch, looking up
Into the dark starry sky,
Into the many worlds
Yet imagined and created.
They close their eyes
And hold hands,
Conjuring in their minds
People can live in.
As he drifts to sleep,
Jack recites a story:
"Once upon a time,
There lived a boy Jack
And his entire family:
Dad, Mom, Grandma,
Grandpa, and his sister Jade.
It didn't matter what world
They were in, as long
As they were together..."
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I made tiny plushies, play sets, wooden blocks. The kids loved them.
I once asked you about your life's ambitions. What do you see yourself doing in the future?
I'd love to be a writer and artist full-time. It's a pipe dream but that's what dreams are. My other dream is to work for Interpol. I have a Criminology degree and am particularly interested in abnormal psychology.
But in reality, I don't know what I'll be doing in the future. My priority is my children and seeing them through these next ten years and beyond. So I will be working towards making that happen.
So writing isn't your day job? I remember you used to maintain an intranet ...
I would love for writing to be my day job. I'm still a coder and I hard code my own websites but no longer an intranet.
What or who are your major influences? Have these changed over the last fifteen years?
Sylvia Plath, Linda Addison, and Marge Simon. It hasn't changed in 15 years.
I asked years ago what favourites you had of your own work. What are your favourites now?
"Allegra," "Little Red," "Jack and the Giants," "Forest Mother," "The Deer," and "Beyond a Hundred Years" from A Collection of Dreamscapes
What advice would you have for aspiring writers? What about those who think that it's too late to start writing, or to restart it?
It's never too late. Start writing.
You can find out more about Christina Sng and her work at christinasng.com. She can be found on Facebook (facebook.com/christinasng), Twitter (twitter.com/christinasng), and Instagram (instagram.com/christinasng). She also has an art page at society6.com/christinasng, and a Patreon page at patreon.com/christinasng. And of course you can find her work in a variety of places--as well as in back issues of