By: Lindsay Tisi
For 20 years I’ve met and lived amongst many Christine Weimers. I’ve known the classmate, the best friend, the mother. One thing all of these Christines had in common was the desire to be a published author. Fast forward to 2019. I now get to be alongside her for this brand-new journey. Tainted Lionheart is her first publication. To bring this new Christine to a further level, we became business partners this past August. Co-founders of our very own company, Our Galaxy Publishing.
Tainted Lionheart has officially been out in the world for two weeks and the outpour of support, love and shared stories of Tainted Lionheart’s readers has been surreal.
I felt it fitting as her best friend, and now business partner, to ask her all of the questions that have been on my mind since we started working on putting her collection together. Questions that I know readers would want to know as well.
- What inspired you to write Tainted Lionheart?
I went through some heavy things during my pregnancy that I was fearful of expressing to my family and friends because I did not want to worry them- and because I was ashamed. But, there was a day, shortly after the birth of my daughter, that I had a breaking-point. I was full of so many thoughts that I had no place to channel. So, for the first time in over five years, I sat down and I wrote a poem. From there, I could not stop creating. I even started writing down my dreams. My poem “Dreamscape” is a prose I wrote moments after awaking from the actual dream- or nightmare, I should say. It was the only therapeutic outlet that I had- so I used it and never looked back.
2. What does the title mean and how did you come up with it?
A lion, or lioness, is known for their courage. In writing this book, I learned how brave I was, and how much I had actually endured that I never gave myself credit for. However, I also learned that there were circumstances beyond my control that tarnished me. So, it was important that this book upheld the moral that you can be brave and be tainted. The title represents the concept that despite how life may change you, you are still a lion, or lioness, at heart. If you read my poem “A Letter to My Tainted Lionheart” you will see me lay that message out.
3. What surprised you the most while writing it?
Tainted Lionheart gave me the biggest surprise of my life by showing me I was still a writer. That may sound strange, but I had put my dream of writing on the shelf for five years, and convinced myself I was no longer able to create. So, as I’d write, I’d surprise myself with the way I was able to articulate my own thoughts and feelings. For example, once I finally started healing and realizing my worth again, I wrote a poem called “Menu”. When I was done, I shocked myself with my own words because I had been so raw, yet so honest about the way I saw myself at that point- and I was f*cking proud of the wordplay.
4. Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
I wrote the first poem for the book sitting outside in my driveway in my potted garden. From there, it became habitual for me to put my baby girl to bed, sit outside with my plants, and write. Every poem in Tainted Lionheart was written in the notes of my iPhone, past midnight, in my driveway, coffee in hand. I found it difficult to write anywhere else, or at any other time of day. The environment inspired me, for some reason. For example, my poem “Metamorphosis” was written after finding a caterpillar crawling up my leg at 2am while writing! “Last Spring’s Trees” was inspired by a perennial plant of mine that I had for many years, but did not come back to life that summer and I pondered on it. What’s funny is that the few poems I did write outside of that environment never made it into the book.
5. Is there a particular poem that was the hardest to write?
The most difficult piece for me to write was “Palm Reader.” I knew if I wanted this book to be the most honest expression of my own experiences that I needed a poem to sum-up what I was going through in its most clear and vulnerable form. The poem talks about my dreaming up a life for myself that was never meant to be. And it was debilitating to write, because I was admitting to myself that I had set myself on the wrong course by trying to predict my own future. I often thought of scrapping it for being too personal, but I know it needed to be said.
6. Is there a particular poem that is your favorite?
Definitely. “Pumps.” It was the first time I had ever written about my sexuality. The poem talks about honing your sexuality, and using it to remember your worth and walk away from those who do not see that. It was so freeing for me to express myself regarding that topic. It liberated me to be sure of myself in that light.
7. Is there a particular poem you are most proud of?
I am most proud of “Doves” without a doubt. Not only was it the first poem I had wrote in five years and the whole reason I began writing a book, but it was the moment I decided to let go of what was hurting me at that time. That poem saved my life. It was the piece that allowed me to release myself from the confines of my own mind. I made a huge decision in that moment, and on that very day in real life, and I now have a poetic memory of it. (I am glad I’m not a Dove anymore.)
8. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since writing Tainted Lionheart?
The most important lesson writing this book taught me was that I do not have to be ashamed to tell my own story. Being transparent with the world about the things that do not look most aesthetic in good light used to be something I felt needed to be swept under the rug. My poem “Sweep” talks about how long I spent trying to hide the parts of myself I didn’t think people would like. But once people saw the real me, I built more lasting connections than ever before. It taught me that there is strength in opening yourself up to others, despite how it looks when they see you. There’s a poem I wrote called, “My Story” that talks about being tired of living for other people and wanting to just focus on finding myself. These are the important lessons. Acceptance. Self-discovery. Strength.
9. What do you want people to take away from your writing?
I hope that people read my work and feel a little bit better about admitting the imperfections of their own lives. I hope people feel freer, or less alone. In the Brooding section, I wrote a poem called “Faces” that spoke about the lengths I’d go through to be sure no one saw the real me. I’m so glad I gave up that ghost. I want people to relate to me in a way that makes them want to grow too.
10. Is there anything that you would change about the book now that it’s out in the world?
No. I never expected to create what I did to begin with. I was the writer who didn’t write for five years. So, to have accomplished writing 400 poems condensed into a collection of 115 still doesn’t feel real to me. And to have done so on a topic that is so personal to me? Ha! I’d have laughed at you if, even a year ago, you said this was where I’d be. My poem “Clichés” is a bit of a play on that concept of realizing the answers to the me I needed to be was in front of my face the whole time. Plus, this book is my reminder that that person does not even exist anymore. The person who wrote the Bruising and Brooding sections of that book is now reveling in every ounce that Breathing has to offer it. I don’t even recognize that woman anymore.
You can follow Christine on her writing journey here. Don’t forget to follow Our Galaxy on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with where the stars take us! You can purchase Tainted Lionheart through the platforms here.
Thank you for supporting this collection, and Our Galaxy Publishing. It has been one hell of a take-off.