Hello everybody! I’m here again today with YET ANOTHER interview! Today, we’re talking with the oh-so-lovely Ashley Tahg!
Ashley is a developing writer, a part time poet, a still life photographer, as well as an avid journalist, and occasional scrapbooker. When she is not doing any of those things, she can probably be found reading or playing video games (she has an obsession with games that give both a beautiful art style and an immersive story world). She’s a strange Slytherin, an introvert who can masquerade as an extrovert, and an INFJ. Also, while not at all connected (currently), she also has a passion for Korean people, media and music and would love to eventually see her life headed in that direction.
What do you blog about?
I blog mainly about lifestyle and books. For me, blogging is a mix between media journalism (book and movie reviews) and a documented, online journal.
What made you decide to start blogging?
I started blogging in 2008, and honestly, it was a place to practice typing (I was homeschooled, and my mom got creative for typing class). All my friends had blogs, and I wanted one. Through the years, my blogging has been mainly a ‘just for fun’ experience, but this year, my tenth year of blogging, honestly feels like a ‘rebirth’ of my blogging experience. I’ve decided to return to blogging and set a new course. I decided, I have words to say and I want them to be heard and aside from my twitter, this is the best place to do so
Where do you get ideas for what you do?
Oh boy…well, that is something I always struggle with. Mainly, I draw from my life, my personal interests, but sometimes that fails me and leaves me creatively dried out still, in which case I can often find ideas in blogging prompts. No shame, folks, no shame.
If you could talk to yourself when you were starting out, what advice would you give yourself?
Well, I was 11 years old back then, so…there’s an awful lot I would give in the way of advice, but, honestly, there’s not much I would listen to myself on. There was a very heightened period, about three years ago, when I became very successful in book blogging. I had three or four book publishers sending me books almost monthly for me to read and review on my blog. I got distracted, busy with finding and holding a job, and the book reviewing got cut out of my life (and blog). I see that as a massive mistake and, if I could go back to 18/17 year old me, I would encourage her to not be so job-driven, and focus more on her love of reading and sharing books.
What made you decide to start writing?
I don’t think I ever made the conscious decision to start writing. I remember being five, six years old and putting together stories from the pictures I drew. Then, being eight or nine and writing stories full of animals and mischief. Storytelling is a part of who I am, just as strongly as any DNA-bound part of me is.
What is your favorite part about writing?
The creation, definitely! I am a world-builder after Tolkien’s own heart and I have often found myself getting so carried away in creating the world, the people, the setting and society of my book, rather than doing any actual writing. There’s just something relaxing about making a new land and new cultures and immersing yourself in it.
What makes a good story?
Strong relationships between characters. It doesn’t need to be a romance, or even a friendship, exactly, but having that chemistry even between nemeses really propels a story forward. Where would Lord of the Rings be without Sam’s selfless friendship for Frodo? Or where would Star Wars be if Han’s begrudged loyalty couldn’t always be counted on? I could go on and on, but whenever a story has characters who fiercely love, trust or hate each other, I always find it enthralling. Also, food. I write so much food in my books because, we humans are obsessed with eating and yet you try and tell me that on a Hero’s mission NO ONE is concerned about food? Nooo, I write so much food and when I find authors who invest in writing and describing food, I instantly know they are a kindred spirit.
Does writing energize you or exhaust you, and why?
Both, honestly. I go through sprints where I could write all day and never tire, but more often than not, writing is like pulling weeds. I love the worldbuilding, as I mentioned, but writing does not come as easily as creating. I think, honestly, it is because I have this massive, immersive view of how everything is, and sometimes trying to get everything out in word form can tire me.
How many books have you written? (drafts count too!)
What is your biggest challenge?
Lighting. Lighting is always the challenge. But also remembering your self worth. Everybody and their aunt is a photographer, it can easy to look at your photos and think ‘someone else could do this better’. And, it’s true, most of the time. But I also think of the second Mona Lisa painting (done by what historians believe might have been da Vinci’s pupil or lover). It is a gorgeous painting and I prefer it over Leonardo’s original. But it will never be as costly or as precious as the Master’s. While my photography may never be the talk of society, while I may never be remembered as anything more than a student of my art, there will be someone out there, somewhere, who finds it beautiful, and that, and the fact that I do truly enjoy capturing still life, propel me to never give up.
What is the most surprising lesson you’ve learned from your art?
Your favorite image may not be the client’s favorite image. Once, I held a photoshoot for a family where the mother was diagnosed with stage three cancer for the third time in her life. When I showed them the pictures, I showed the artistically prefered ones, the one where everything was flawless, where the wind was perfect, the lighting was optimal, and I was proud. But then I got to a picture that I had included just on a whim, it was far from perfect and honestly, I was a bit self-conscious about it. They loved it. It was their favorite and when I stepped out of my artist’s circle, I saw why. It captured them, in all their imperfect, dysfunctional glory. Sometimes, we photographers get so caught up in the perfect image, that we risk losing the right image.
Where do you get inspiration?
Mostly, photography comes without needing inspiration for me. But theres this guy on twitter (and instagram), Brandon Woelfel (@brandonwoelfel) who is a wizard and photography. His command of light is absolutely magical. He is my greatest inspiration and photography role-model.
What do you want your legacy to be?
“She captured people; their soul, their laugh, their heart.”
What is your favorite book?
Chalice by Robin McKinley (or anything else by McKinley, for that matter)
What is/was your favorite childhood book?
The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques was my obsession (and possibly why I am so infatuated with food in books).
What is your favorite song/artist at the moment?
Absolutely anything that Sleeping At Last puts out is going to get heart-eyes from me. He isn’t just a musician, he’s a real legit artist.
Favorite ice cream flavor?
Halo Top’s Mint Chocolate Chip is to DIE for.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I’ve had so much fun with this interview! I’d love to find more people to connect to and share passions with (I’m legit the friendliest Slytherin you will ever meet). Thank you so much, Hanne, for hosting me!! I’ll have to return the favor sometime. 🙂
Go check out Ashley here!
Blog || Instagram (@pocket.full) || Twitter (@hushashesspeaks) || GoodReads (@AshleyTahg)