Meet Our Writers Week 16 on C. C. Champagne
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Cecilia, but I go by the stage name CC Champagne, which I devised for myself two years ago when I took classes and subsequently performed burlesque in Stockholm, Sweden. I lovingly describe CC as a magnum sized bottle of sparkling attitude (when not a quivering, insecure wreck of a human being who doubts her right to exist) and a former burlesque entertainer, turned obnoxious blogger.
Some of the cockiness in that description that doesn’t always sit well with my private me, but I believe that after almost two years in psychoanalysis we are starting to meld the two of us. Currently I am looking for a new job (I am the eternal Administrator), turn 40 in December (which I will happily forget while sunbathing on a beach in Mexico) and live right where Stockholm, Sweden ends and proper Sweden, Sweden starts.
Having always been a bit of an Anglophile, I am Swedish and spent the first 20-odd years of my life mostly in and around the capital of Stockholm. At 27 my then-husband got offered a trainee-ship in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and moved us there. We were supposed to stay for 18 months, but I ended up falling in love with both Switzerland and myself in a way that was completely new to me and, unfortunately, in that process I fell out of love with him. After 13 months he moved back to Sweden without me.
I really wanted to stay in that beautiful country where I had ‘found myself’, but due to various laws and regulations back then, I was forced to leave 14 months later (I jokingly say that I am the only caucasian Swede I know who’s ever been deported from Switzerland). A few years later I also decided to try my fortune in London and lived there for two and a half years before returning to Sweden in 2005. Since then I have stayed put, partly due to, at times, severe depression and what is so quaintly called ‘burn-out'(there is nothing quaint about it!), but although I am now mostly recovered, I have no plans to move (though I will never say never). The dream would still be to return to Switzerland but I need much more strength (and a bigger bank balance) to do that.
Tell me about your blog(s), name(s), what does it mean to you?
My blog’s name is “A Glass of Bubbly” and I don’t really remember exactly how that came about. I got the account back in 2009, but never used the blog until 12 June this year.
Most of all my blog means freedom and courage. Freedom and overcoming the fears I have had most of my life: fear of making mistakes, fear of not being good enough, fear of being laughed at, fear of expressing myself (though I have always been told I am good at it). A Glass of Bubbly is about me, by me and, to begin with, for me. Between the ages of 15 and earlier this year I hardly wrote at all (Who would want to read? People would laugh! I’m not good enough!), so A Glass of Bubbly is me finally reaching a time in my life where I’m saying ‘Scr*w you, whoever you are! This is me, this is what I have going on in my head and I WILL write it down and put it out there…’, all while raising an ice-cold glass of bubbles in the sun-shine… *smile* Kind of a coward’s way of flipping my own self-doubts the infamous bird.
When did you start blogging?
I started blogging in April 2011, reluctantly, together with some friends. After some really childish disagreements (where I was not in any way an innocent party) I split off from the group and set out on my own in June. In some ways it was probably the best thing that could have happened for me, though it wasn’t easy in the beginning.
What’s the theme(s) of your blog(s)? What do you write most? poetry, fiction or novel, or short stories?
Initially I didn’t have a theme or an organised idea at all, just to get an outlet for 25 years of stored up creativity and somehow quench a burning rage at some bad treatment I had just been on the receiving end of. I never thought I’d have more than maybe 50 views per week and was going to be happy with that since I was writing for me more than anything. It took me a while to get over the feeling that all those people who seem to be reading my scribbles are for real, so when I got to my first 1,000 views I bought a bottle of bubbly to celebrate… Somehow the whole thing kind of exploded and I’ve now had over 16,000 views in four months!!! After a while I just decided to go with the whole Champagne theme (though I no longer celebrate every 1,000 views with bubbles – it simply got too pricey after a while)…
About 95% of my scribbles would be poetry or rhyme, but I do sometimes have opinions about current events, feel I want to get a childhood memory out or just need a good rant, which leads to the occasional essay-style piece too. I also do a daily ‘Did you know?’ piece about historic events on this day, partly to get myself started writing, but also because I genuinely find it interesting to read about these things myself.
What are the inspirations of your writing?
I can find inspiration in the strangest places (or so I think, anyway), from a falling leave just catching my eye, to one of the many prompt memes around to something I see on the news or hear someone say. I have also included some older pieces, referred to as ‘Old Sins’. Sometimes it just takes a second of peace and quiet in my mind for a whole poem to be mostly done. It is very rare that I go through the whole labour process when I give birth to my pieces, but then again sometimes I probably should have let the words actually wait before posting them.
Does music impact your writing?
I can get inspiration from music, but strangely enough I can no longer write while listening to music (or much of anything else for that matter). I like to hear the rhythm of my pieces in my head and heart, and if I’m listening to the rhythm of something else I find that hard to do.
You are involved with Bluebell Books Short Story Slam writing challenge? How do you feel about it so far? What’s the benefits of it?
The first time I was invited I took one look at the prompt and thought ‘there’s no way I can write a piece that would fit in a children’s book!’. About a week later, like a flash from a clear-blue sky I just had a piece for that prompt and it has kind of rolled on since then. I do try, when I write for a Bluebell Books challenge, to aim my words at children, or at least parents, but since I am an only child and don’t have any children of my own it sometimes is a bit of a stretch for me, and that is probably why it usually takes me a bit longer to ‘jump onboard’. *smile* Because of this I feel it is a benefit that the prompts are open a bit longer, but all in all it has been a very positive experience so far.
Do you have a favorite blogging friend to share? Tell us about his/her blog link and the writing in it!
This is hard… There are so many! *smile* I would say that my two favourites at this point in time would be California Ink In Motion and Poet… Maybe?. Both are American poetry blogs and I have ‘met’ both these amazing women through various prompts. California Ink In Motion has recently started putting more emphasis on writing in poetry form (which originally terrified, intimidated and bored me, though she is part of the reason I have started paying more attention to these things myself – that and my bi-weekly ‘Poetry for Dummies’ posts on The Gooseberry Garden). She has also been on a hiatus due to surgery recently, so I hope to see more of her writing soon. Poet… Maybe?, has a way with words that makes me feel totally included in whatever she is describing and I think about ten of my first comments on her poetry was ‘thank you for putting words to my feelings’. I have to admit that both of these ladies are huge sources of inspiration for me, which is why I want to mention both of them.
Do you have a favorite book or author?
I think I’d have to try to act a bit cultural and philosophical to answer this one… I think my favourite book will always be the next book I will read.
If I have to choose one I have already read it would probably be ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger… Then again, I have read J. R. R. Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ about fifty times or so… *blushing* Had you asked me 15 years ago I would not have hesitated for a second to call Stephen King my favourite author… These days, not so much, but no one else has yet claimed the throne he’s vacated in my reading life.
Do you have a favorite quote?
I have several, but none of them would be family-friendly enough for this site, I’m afraid! *big smile*
Any tips for those who started blogging and wish to become successful at it?
Listen to your own rhythm and don’t be afraid to try? I don’t know if I’m the right person to be giving advise in this matter, but that’s what I keep trying to tell myself in any case.
What’s your writing plans in the near future?
I have had a bit of a dry spell lately, so most immediate plans are to try to find my way back to my muses. Sometimes ‘real life’ intrudes, as I’m sure you know, but apart from that I don’t really have any plans for my writing. I am trying to gather up courage to write something for utales.com, a children’s book’s web shop collective that will be launched in a few weeks (currently by invitation only), but as of yet I haven’t been able to persuade myself I can do it (and I would need to find an illustrator too).
Of course, like every single poet out there, the dream would be that someone one day, preferably out of the blue, wants to publish something I have written, but I am sure we all know that THOSE things only happen in proper children’s books, right?