Interview with Meg Hutchinson: A Voice to Be Heard
Meg Hutchinson is an inspiration in so many ways. Not only is she a fabulous poet and fantastic singer-songwriter but she is a champion — an active advocate for mental health awareness. Having suffered from mental health issues herself, she is keenly aware of what it’s like and is a powerful speaker on the subject.
Kathy Sands-Boehmer: When did you first start writing – poems, stories, songs — that weren’t school-related?
Meg Hutchinson: I can remember writing stories and poems from before I could write. My mom is a poet. She would let me dictate stories to her when I was about four or five and she’d patiently write them all out for me. There was an epic saga about losing my doll “Fellow” in the forest. There was a recap of a friend’s birthday party, and various other things that five year olds find worthy of report.
Once I learned how to write, my mom and I had a ritual of leaving each other letters under our pillows on nights where she had to go out. We have a huge folder of our correspondence.
I inherited my paternal grandmother’s guitar when I was about nine years old. I took some lessons for a year. In eighth grade, I wrote my first song. It was about Apartheid and South Africa. I sang it at the school talent show. After I walked offstage, I burst into tears. My friends were patting me on the back saying, “What’s wrong? You did a good job!” But I was crying because it was like coming home. I knew what I was supposed to do. I walked out into the schoolyard with my guitar and I remember it was snowing and I was crying with happiness at having found a familiar place in myself and in the world.
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