Featured Writer (Issue 14, 2020)

Interview with Melissa Boles

Editor’s Pick


Damon: How are you doing during these end times?


Melissa: Some days are better than others, I’ll say that. I lost my job, which has been difficult, but I have incredible people around me. As someone who lives with depression and anxiety and ADHD, it hasn’t been easy, but I’m moving through one day at a time.


Damon: Who has influenced you the most, not just in writing, but in life overall?


Melissa: This list can get pretty big for me if I really dive into it, but at the top of the list are: my younger sister, Victoria, who is constantly teaching me new things; my friends Monica and Katie, who have taught me how to respect people and create space for them in your life, even when you’re extremely busy; my friend Jenna, who is honest about her constant work to recover from trauma and who makes beautiful music; actor Tim Daly, whose art has somehow always been waiting for me when I’ve been at my lowest and whose love for and investment in art in general inspires me to create and invest in art myself; and the writers who lay their hearts on the page.


Damon: When do you feel the most free?


Melissa: When I’m listening to music. Whether I’m lying in bed or sitting on the porch or driving down the highway, if it’s the right song it frees every part of me. It’s the feeling I hope I’ll finally experience when I’m in the arms of someone who loves me in the most unconditional way possible.


Damon: Is there one tattoo you haven’t gotten yet and do you think you ever will?


Melissa: I have plans for plenty more, but if I were just to pick one that I haven’t gotten yet it would be the words “what I could not live with were the consequences of my inactions” on my left forearm. I hope it’s my next tattoo.


Damon: Do you believe our traumas make better writers or does it not factor into the process?


Melissa: I think this can depend on the writer, but I would say that generally trauma plays a role in what we write but not how we write. Sometimes the people who have experienced trauma are the ones most willing to write about the tough topics, which is profound, but to me the most beautiful writers are the ones who open their hearts to their readers, and I don’t think you have to have experienced trauma to do that.



Melissa Boles is a writer, storyteller, and impatient optimist from the Pacific Northwest who recently launched thestoryarttells.com to help connect people to art and discuss the intersection of art and mental health. Melissa has been published on thekindredvoice.com, twloha.com, and thewriteteachers.com. You can find her at MelissaBoles.org or at @melloftheball.




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