Exploring the Poetic Genius of Dr. CarolLaine M García

INTERVIEWED BY DHAYANA ALEJANDRINA

 

Welcome, Noire Family,

In this interview, I had the pleasure to sit down with the talented and amazing writer, CarolLaine M. Garcia., as she offers a captivating glimpse into her inspirational journey, delving into her roots, the reasons driving her creative endeavors, exciting future projects, and more.

 

Please join me in welcoming CarolLaine M. Garcia. to Afrique Noire Magazine!

 

Can you share a bit about your background and what initially inspired you to pursue writing/poetry?

 

I’m a first-generation Dominican-American immigrant woman who came to America on my mother’s back to chase the American dream. Much of my family had already emigrated, and my brother, mom, and I arrived on travel visas. Years later, after an encounter with immigration authorities on a summer visit, I was forcibly sent back to the DR for a year while my case cooled off. Upon my reunion with my family in the States, my mom was on a mission to acquire citizenship for us and halted our travels so no one would risk deportation. All of those changes between countries and school were incredibly challenging, as I adjusted to leaving my island and father behind and adjusted to the American life.

It was writing letters to my father that first awakened this gift within me. Through the ups and downs of my life, writing has always kept me connected to myself and the happiness I’ve so desperately sought to find.

 

How does your identity, including cultural background, influence your writing and the themes you explore? In what ways do you navigate the intersection of your personal identity and the broader cultural context in your work?

 

After completing my PhD, I stepped away from writing for quite some time. The rigor of my doctoral studies eventually wore me down, dampening my passion for reading and writing. As I drifted from writing, I lost touch with myself and my ability to connect with my truth and experiences.
Despite always harboring a desire to be a writer, I found myself in a “successful” consulting career, viewing it as a significant milestone in my American success story. However, it was during the pandemic, with the help of modern technology, that I stumbled upon authors who finally resembled me. This discovery sparked a realization that I too possessed a voice and a remarkable story to share.

 

In my writing, I delve into my intersectional identities, the distinctiveness of my upbringing, and my journey through the American experience. Through my words, I strive to break free from the societal labels that confine me, embracing a more expansive version of myself—the divine queen within.

 

In my poetry, I contemplate the experience of belonging to no group but oneself, reveling in appreciating the diversity of nature, whether in human company or not. In essence, my writing allows me to embody my true, multifaceted self.

 

 

How would you describe your creative process? Do you have any specific rituals or routines that help you get into the writing mindset?

 

Crafted over the years, my approach to writing has evolved into a practice of romancing my words. For me, writing is no just a creative outlet; it’s a spiritual and ancestral connection. Through my writing, I honor my ancestor father and other ancestors, recognizing the hurdles they overcame so that I could freely express myself.

In my writing space, I adorn the walls with old family photos, including ones of myself as a baby, alongside inspiring art. Each piece holds significance: a print of a wild mane in a field symbolizes my “untamed” years on the island, while a sunsetty picture of the Brooklyn Bridge represents my entry into the American experience through New York. Another piece depicts just the hips of a thick woman, adorned with a massive butterfly—an allusion to the freedom of expression I cherish.
To enhance my writing experience, I light candles and immerse myself in the soothing sounds of lo-fi or reggaeton. Recently, I’ve come to see my writing as an integral part of my being, a necessary and fulfilling practice that enriches my life.

 

 

Who are your literary or poetic influences, and how have they shaped your work?

 

Since I was a young girl in America, I’ve been an indiscriminate reader. My obsessions lie in genres that depict women overcoming their fears, poetry that explores the gamut of human emotions and experiences, and non-fiction books chronicling authors’ triumphs over their lives and the limiting narratives they faced. I’m also drawn to memoirs that offer diverse perspectives, broadening my understanding of humanity.

Through these writings, I’ve been able to cultivate a more liberated and bold version of myself, almost as a rehearsal for the embodiment that typically follows.

 

What challenges do you face as a writer/poet, and how do you overcome them?

 

The initial challenge was accepting myself as a writer. I had to overcome the notion that pursuing writing, something I hadn’t studied and divergent from the typical American pursuit of maximizing income, was a valid path for me. It required extensive therapy and coaching to believe in my ability to blossom late in my writing journey. Today, I find myself exploring my creative blocks around writing as much as I do my daily experiences and musings.

 

 

Could you share one of your favorite pieces or an excerpt from a project that holds personal significance? What does it mean to you?

 

During my first writer’s retreat, I penned a piece prompted by the task of creating a character embodying our essence rather than a literal self-introduction. This exercise symbolizes to me the essence of freedom as the quest for happiness. Through the struggles of my immigrant journey to the US, a passion ignited within me to explore and understand myself, culminating in the realization of the woman I was destined to become: free.

The Mountain Climber

Her name was Mountain Climber. She just loved the feeling of crowning a peak, even if it led her to a vista of mors mountains to climb. It was hard to explain to others why she wanted to keep touring and conquering new peaks to climb, but it was an ever present flame in her being. She longed to make the most of her precious years on earth, because she’d learned from a young age that death was a necessary duality of living.

It started, as it does for most humans on this planet, in her childhood. She was born to a young mother but an old father, one so old that her paternal grandparents died long before she came into existence. At a young age, she and her mother and brother emigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic, and she spent her youth breaking up with the island and people that had created her. In her 20s, after only seeing her father once in the previous 10 years, her father died. In his absence, she angered, she mourned, she grieved, and she sought to take advantage of every opportunity this new land had given her to soar.

Mountains, with their majestic presence and their tendency to make you feel small, appealed to her core. As a child, she’d grown up seeing them in her neighborhood on the small island where she grew up. And as an adult, she became enthralled with admiring and climbing as many metaphorical mountains as she could.

She visited all 50 states, earned a PhD, traveled to 34 countries, bought a house alone, refused to marry, quit her prestigious job to pursue her dream of writing, speaking, coaching… She climbed mountains to feel small, to feel alive, and to connect with the infinite possibilities of the happiness that can be had in this life.

 

 

What advice would you offer to aspiring writers or poets aiming to leave their imprint on the literary world?

Never give up on your writing. You don’t need to be successful or feel worthy to start; you are worthy as you write. If there’s a story that needs to be told, share it, even if it’s just for yourself. Consider the impact of NOT writing that story would have on the world. Promise to at least try, and keep on keeping on.

 

 

Can you share details about your ongoing writing projects? What themes or ideas are you currently exploring?

 

I’m currently focused on launching my first newsletter to my small but growing subscriber list, as well as working on my memoir. In both, I’m exploring themes that aim to help womxn of color heal from ancestral trauma by healing and elevating their wellness and wealth mindsets. By decolonizing ourselves and centering our uniqueness as our power, we can build a more equitable and happy world, and I’m here to guide. As I build my brand as a speaker, writer, and holistic executive coach, I’m constantly exploring how to leverage my identities and leadership experiences to inspire others to overcome the challenges of daring to live their dreams by being all that they are.

 

 

How do you perceive the role of writers and poets in today’s society?

 

I believe the role of writers and poets is to transform the world into one of strength, balance, and beauty. They have a unique ability to capture the essence of the human experience, touching people in ways they never knew they needed. Writing and poetry allow us to capture the real-time experience of being human in this age, depicting how we both push each other apart and come together as we navigate the complexities of coexistence.

 

Give yourself flowers, what is something you feel proud of when you think about your creative gift?

 

I’m proud of the way I’ve let myself be creative! I’ve had to heal my relationship with creativity, allow myself the freedom to “create just because” and just the fact that I’m here submitting this is proof of how deep that work was. That my story and words can move others in the same way others’ moved me – is the greatest gift of my healing.

 

About CarolLaine M Garcia

 

Dr. CarolLaine M García is a maria-of-all-trades running her own personal brand as an AfroLatina Holistic Executive Coach, Chakras Healer, Keynote Speaker, and Writer. After a decade studying leadership and systemic bias within her PhD in organizational psychology as well as leadership consulting experiences within prominent Fortune 500 firms, Dr. García is on a mission to put the heart + soul back into inclusive leadership.

 

As the first and only female PhD in her Dominican-American immigrant family, Dr. García uses her vibrant cultural herstories and holistic healing experiences to model and teach other Womx of Color how to build Wellness & Wealth leading with Queen Mindset Leadership. Queen Mindset Leadership is a comprehensive philosophy and practical approach created by the author for achieving self-actualization in the modern era, centering holistic healing and self-embodiment to manifest a powerfully abundant, impactful, and happy life and create equitable social impact.

 

She partners with equity-minded organizations to facilitate transformative workshops, holistic leadership retreats, speaking engagements, social impact consulting, and coaches high achieving womxn of color into embodying abundant wellness and wealth mindsets.

 

Watch out for another episode of Noire Poetry Series next week! 🖤


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Stay tuned! ✨

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