The Smart Cookie: Shaye, thanks for joining me today. What was the moment you realized you should use poetry to share your story?
S Baker: Thank you. I was in the process of writing a full-length horror novel when my life became its own horror story. I received a world-shattering phone call that my brother died in a car accident. It was sudden, like the snap-of-the-finger. The only platform I had to share my thoughts was, sadly, a journal. I’m an introvert, and don’t do well with a lot of social activity. Poetry allowed me to express everything I was feeling, processing.
The Smart Cookie: What inspires the ideas behind the poems you write?
S.Baker: My brother lived and worked as a musician; he’s a brilliant pianist. He travelled the world, playing for Holland Airlines B. B. King band. When he passed away, I realized how great his impact on this earth was, and wrote my poems to leave my own legacy. He may be physically gone, but his presence, art, photos, memories, are very much alive, fossilized within the people he loved.
The Smart Cookie: Outside of poetry, would you ever consider writing a memoir to share your full story?
I toyed with the idea, in my full-length horror novel there are striking resemblances. I would consider it.
The Smart Cookie: Has writing this collection helped you find peace despite the tragedy?
S. Baker: It has, you couldn’t imagine what this collection has meant to my family and I. So. Yes, it has been cathartic. Great question, by the way
The Smart Cookie: What is a Cerebral Fossil?
S. Baker: Another great question. So. A fossil is any trace or remains of any once living thing. Cerebral Fossil is the memories, art, thoughts, poetry, books, text messages, love notes, social media posts etc. left behind by any once living being. It’s deeper than that, but I’m okay with my concept inspiring personal interpretations for others.
The Smart Cookie: Any advice for anyone who resonates with this collection?
S. Baker: Be vulnerable. Allow yourself to feel and don’t stop yourself from seeing where those feelings take you. If your feelings lead to calling your brother or sister in the middle of night and saying “I love you,” then do it. I’m an introvert, and I don’t always pick up the phone or reach out to people because social settings drain me. Still, I wish I could go back and do more. I am doing more now.