Stephen L. Wilson, Welcome, and let us thank you for giving us this honour and opportunity to be part of this cause, before we ask you about yourself, I should say we all know the motives behind this cause, as a kind and caring human being we all want to help each other, but to get things done it needs time, energy and dedication, how difficult was it for you and for the rest of the authors to complete the Angels Cried Anthology?
Stephen L. Wilson Thank you, Mr. Fazli, for hosting this interview. It was difficult to manage time. Fortunately, I was not working for the two weeks following the tragedy, and had the time and energy to devote to the project. I was spending 20-hour days sorting, reading, editing, networking and planning. I know that many contributors spent countless hours helping. While the pace was fast and taxing, the need to dedicate our effort to create an honest, professional outcome kept the group driven.
Shah Fazli Now, we know you by heart as a dedicated, caring and kind person, what else do you want us to know about you, who are you?
Stephen L. Wilson Thank you for those kind words. I am a father of three wonderful children, and have been married to my beautiful wife for 21 years. I live in Eugene, Oregon. I am a tutor/educational assistant at a local middle and high school. I have been writing for most of my life. I enjoy working with dedicated teams of people. I appreciate integrity. I understand that discretion is the better part of valor. I have a wild imagination. I used to dislike broccoli, but now I can stand it a bit. I believe that humor is disarming and charming, if used properly. I don't really like toe socks.
Shah Fazli Thank you, what was the saddest poem or story in the Anthology that made you cry one more time, or made you as sad as you first saw the Sandy Hook massacre, and who in your team has written it?
Stephen L. Wilson Although we all poured our souls into our craft, and all of the contributions were heartfelt and sincere, one definitely stands out. "Here Is My Shoulder - Lean On" touches me profoundly. It was contributed by Daron Chosen Smith of Jamaica. His writing is so raw and pure, and yet so refined and clear.
Shah Fazli Thank you we aim to get the authors of Angels Cried all in one show and we would definitely have you here again as the director, I think it's relevant to ask you about the gun culture in the US, and if there is anything mentioned as poetry or story in Angels Cried, if not what do you personally think about it please?
Stephen L. Wilson There are no contributions written specifically to address any political issues. There are some contributors who are clearly wrestling with the thought of such a tragedy even occurring. As such, a couple of entries in the anthology deal with the nature of the tragedy, and how they would relate to the situation if they were actually there. Most of the contributions are imaginary fictional entries. What would you like to know about my perspective regarding "the gun culture"? I have experienced no other culture, so my perspective would tend to be biased.
Shah Fazli Thank you, can you please read a snippet from Angels Cried, we want to value it in this way by getting into the book and into the actual tragedy, by reading a few lines from it?
Stephen L. Wilson Beloved Little Ones
Lisa Williamson - Ontario, Canada
Sweet and innocent,
just starting your lives.
Looking forward to Santa.
How could it happen?
One moment you were there
the next you were gone,
taken away from us all
in ways most foul.
Look down from above.
Brush your wings close.
Leave a kiss on the brow
of your family grieving.
Forever you will be known.
Forever you will be remembered.
Sweet tiny children.
Beloved little ones.
Shah Fazli Thanks, it is beautiful and profoundly tragic, we will ask you to read one more at some point, it would be appreciated, what was your first reaction on the day of tragedy, of course the whole world was shocked, but did you immediately think that you would make a difference by helping the families, when did you decide to write Angels Cried?
Stephen L. Wilson I heard the news at the middle school where I work. I walked into 6th period, my sixth grade study hall, and immediately noticed the sad faces as I heard the news being played on the radio. The other teacher was there, somber. I was in shock when I came home from work. I decided to do what I always do when I am disturbed with the world - write. But I couldn't. Every time before, when I would write, I would share it a bit and it would wind up in a folder never to be read again. "This time," I thought, "I won't sit back and wish that there was more I could do." I expected that there were others who would appreciate a group where they could grieve and share their emotions in writing. I quickly realized that we could collect the work and create a vehicle to actually contribute. For once, there was a way to actually help by donating to charity with our direct work. Being part of a solution, however small, is part of the healing process for everyone.
Shah Fazli Thank you, now tell us about your part of writing in the Anthology, what have you contributed yourself, poetry, story, what please?
Stephen L. Wilson My contribution is "Angels Were Sent," written on the one-year anniversary of the federal building bombing in Oklahoma City. I wasn't there when that tragedy occurred, but moved to OKC about six months after. The downtown area was still off-limits. Itseemed like everyone we knew was affected by the tragedy. I had personal issues with the idea of good and evil. I needed to write it down. I shared it a bit, back then, but it never got any further than that. I believe that it was serendipitous that I had it available at this time, for this purpose. It is the base by which I constructed the anthology, both in terms of theme as well as organizational layout. I mention some of this in more detail in the preface of Angels Cried.
Shah Fazli Can you please read one more poem from Angels Cried?
Stephen L. Wilson Our Silence
Charlie Giardino - Bronx, New York, USA
Our silence isn't apathy;
we don't know what to say.
Our silence is a living prayer
for help along the way.
Our silence isn't impotence;
it is rooted in great love
for the children that were taken
and for you, dear Lord, above.
Our silence is a desperate plea,
“Oh, the horror that we saw!”
Our silence is our call to you,
“Please, dear God, no more.”
Shah Fazli Thank you so much, my questions are not finished, but we are running out of time, if other guests don't have any questions, I would like to thank you for your time, it was a pleasure, now we leave it for others to ask or comment. Appreciated.
Stephen L. Wilson Thank you for the opportunity, Mr. Fazli. I am looking forward to the interviews with other Angels Cried contributors. I know some of them are looking forward to it, as well. Please feel free to contact me any time. It has been a pleasure.
Shah Fazli http://shahsightshop.blogspot.de/2013/02/angels-cried-stephen-l-wilson.html
ShahSight Literary Book Shop: Angels Cried Stephen L. Wilsonshahsightshop.blogspot.com
Eri Nelson Wonderful interview Shah and Stephen. As the organizer of such a collaboration can you tell us what obstacles you encountered and as a group how you were to overcome to produce such a worthy endeavor?
Catherine Mahoney The sensual instrumental Michael Ortega is concluding the interview at the pre-party link, so when you are finished, come to and enjoy and give silence and wishes and donations for the survivors,https://www.facebook.com/events/613928608624062/
Sandy Hook Elementary School, Angels Cried
February 18 at 5:00pm in PST
Stephen L. Wilson Thanks for the question, Eri Nelson. I knew from past experience that there would be obstacles such as clashing personalities, differences of opinion and strong egos. Part of my task was to manage that energy productively. I enjoy honing this skill setwhen I can, and this project certainly offered plenty of material in this way! lol There was plenty of PM action going on behind the scenes. I tried to make the publishing decisions in a diplomatic way. I took the time to gather input from the group before committing to certain tasks. In this way, the contributors were included as an integral part of the decision-making process, and I felt my decisions were influenced by the actual artists and authors. The main priority in any group such as this is to keep the energy positive.
Eri Nelson I totally agree. A positive light shines brighter when it is shared. Thank you for your response and the time shared with us today.
Catherine Mahoney It was a touching event, I was trying to add the music in, it should be here but my mouse was acting up, Thank you Shah, Stephen and all who contributed and support this dedication. It was a transforming event and I wish as we all that this contribution to be the one of the many catalysts for all to take action and help stop senseless violence. Kudos to all warriors and pioneers.
Elizabeth Castillo Sorry was late I had an early morning English job and just got home It has been an honor being part of this global charity anthology Good job Stephen and to my co-authors
Reyna-Hawk Author I am so sorry I missed this. I was busy finishing up a final essay... Stephen L. Wilson you have really been an inspiration to many and I am honored to have been a part of the project.
Catherine Mahoney Hi Reyna, if you contact Shah, he is looking for guests, the 21st is another event for Sandy Hook, and Matthew Nelson artist is the 19th, and Elizabeth Castillo is the 23rd, so you have an opportunity to schedule an interview if you like.