Painting with Words: Victoria Erickson

— Expert Interview

Sometimes there are words that stir your soul so deeply, poetry that feels as though it’s been scripted for you, musings that seep into your skin and force you to look inward to find a way forward. Victoria Erickson is a writer we’re magnetically drawn to. She possesses a poetic clairvoyance in both her timing and topic, publishing work that always seems to speak to us at just the right moment, in just the right way.

After being moved and guided by Victoria’s writing for years, she was one of the first minds we wanted to delve a little deeper into when working on The Self Issue this month. We were intrigued by what kind of life and experiences have shaped her poetic view of the world, and what guidance she can provide for honoring ourselves in life, and in love... 

When we read your poetry we’re completely intrigued by your point of view – it feels as though you’ve lived a thousand lives. Can you tell us about some of the moments in your life that have brought you wisdom, and shaped your view of the world?

Thank you so much! Sometimes I truly feel as though I’ve lived a thousand lives! For me, it hasn’t been so much the momentous times that have brought wisdom but the small nuances, from the phases of the moon, to the seed, to every shade of feeling or impulse, sense of wonder, act of courage, depth of connection, width of intimacy, hold of reason, or length of desire. I’ve always been a naturally contemplative person on a search for meaning, and it is through that lens that I’ve begun to see how everything always connects. I feel that when you truly listen and read between the lines, you begin to pick up on patterns, which tend to weave throughout your life. That is the place I share from. It really comes down to paying attention.

We find such a beautiful sense of self-love and self-acceptance in your words. Why are these themes significant to you personally and in your writing?

I spent many years battling some depression and body image issues and have worked really hard to have finally arrived here, in this place of self-acceptance. I want to be a voice of comfort and inspiration people can turn to when they are down, as I believe self-love is the only way to find peace and expansion in all aspects of your life. I know it’s possible to grow self-love over time with mental training and care.

Are there particular relationships in your life that influence your work? How and why do they inspire you?

Every close relationship in my life has greatly shaped, molded, and taught me. Even the ones that have come and gone have remained with me through memory and spirit, so my work tends to be a blend of them all. The areas of inspiration are limitless and can be easily added, built upon and/or seamlessly combined. I’ve always said that creative writing often works like painting – you will pull various colors from across the color spectrum of experience and blend them into one piece.

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From your poetry, we can tell your innate love of travel is as strong as ours. What have been some of your favorite destinations and experiences? How important is travelling to you and your work?

Travelling is essential to me as it is nourishment and writing fuel. Feeling new places, meeting new people, witnessing different cultures, and leaving your comfort zones are instant propellers to finding your edge, and your edge is where the magic happens in art and creativity.

Colorado and New Mexico have always been immensely special to me. Big Bend National Park, Block Island, Peru, and Yosemite National Park are also some of the places that have influenced me most.

How, where, and when do you write?

I write whenever I feel the creative urge – what I refer to as “the muse” – rush through me. I tend to pull over the car quite a bit as it seems to happen while driving. Over time, I’ve learned that when I take creativity seriously by submitting to that creative rush, then, it will then take me seriously by arriving more often.

What is your most distinct childhood memory?

My time with horses stands out from all other times. I spent many years riding them from a very young age. To me, horses were these magical, otherworldly creatures you could communicate with through energy. I still view them as that.

What moves you?

Nature is what moves me most, particularly the mountains and deserts of the western United States. There is so much beauty in wild, untouched land. Love also moves me. Witnessing it. Feeling it. Learning it.

What is the key to happiness?

I think the key to happiness is having a strong connection with your body. Breath is always our direct flight back to this very moment, away from all the ways we overthink and analyze, which naturally leads to anxiety and unhappiness. As soon as we can reconnect with slow, deep breathing, it pours in like a fresh tide, wiping away the built-up debris of tension. Also, unfavorable situations can be avoided or shifted through intuition, movement and action, which all stem from the body.

As well as publishing your own work, you assist people in improving their writing, including couples writing their wedding vows. Could you share a few tips on how people can find those exact words and phrases that express their deepest emotions without using clichés?

The best route is by writing from the body, and there are many ways to access that. I teach writing from the flow state, and that is when writing becomes art. It’s essentially an energy transfer from the writer to the reader when we write from our senses. The reader can’t feel the words unless they come from the place of actual feeling.

Victoria’s books, Edge of Wonder and Rhythms and Roads, are available through her website.

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