Kara-Sophie is a Canadian Creative Writer living hr dream in Copenhagen, Denmark. In her exclusive interview with LocalBini, she shares advice on how to harness your passion and walks us through her personal journey to living a life she is proud of.
Can you tell us about yourself?
I grew up in Montreal, Canada, with parents who were extremely supportive. They often encouraged my weird creative projects – collecting sticks and making them into houses, or filming hours of useless footage on our family vacations… sorry mom and dad! And because of this, I felt “safe“. I put the word safe in quotation marks because it can have different meanings. For me, it meant safe from judgment, safe to explore different ideas, safe from the harsh realities of the world, safe from harm and, most importantly, safe from rejection. I was very fortunate to have this space, but it made it difficult for me to leave. At this point, my only experience with leaving home was going to a sleep away camp for 2 weeks. I lasted 4 days before my parents came to pick me up.
When I grew up, I had this dream of going to Australia. It seemed feasible, it was just a plane ride away. But, every meeting with the exchange office at my University was a knot of anxiety I struggled to untie.
Fast forward a few months and in February 2009, I went on exchange to Aalborg University, which, in case you’re wondering, is nowhere near Australia. It’s a small city in the north of Denmark. I wanted kangaroos and palm trees, and I got Vikings and snow instead. I didn’t know where Denmark was until I showed up there with a suitcase and no place to stay, knowing I was going to spend the next 5 months there.
I was a young, petrified, 21-year-old girl who was so comfortable in her cocoon that she feared leaving it. Thank goodness my mum came with me. I had a small safety net by my side in case I wanted to hop back in and head back to Canada. I stuck it out, and it was the first time I followed my dream of traveling, despite being scared out of my mind. Looking back, that was the first (and scariest) step that I took towards building a life I wanted.
I moved back to Copenhagen 8 years later, and I am now working on a business, pursuing my dreams as a creative writer and living a life I’m proud of.
What is your passion?
I am passionate about a lot of things. I am someone who absorbs a lot. As a writer, I notice all the small things in my environment: how people interact with each other, people’s attachment to their pets, how the city looks during the day and how it feels at night… I’ve always had an artistic eye and studied psychology as my undergraduate degree. I’m really interested in human behaviour, both emotionally and aesthetically. I love to take pictures and I am also passionate about children’s education. I recently wrote 2 children’s books that are intended to teach kids about social values and self-discovery.
For the past few years I’ve been working on a new style of poetry. This was an emotional process for me as I‘ve been writing about a lot of things that have happened in my personal life. I write a lot about love, heartbreak, hope, death and life, but I write in a way that combines whimsical playful rhymes with dark, difficult topics. It’s like nursery rhymes but for adults. It plays on the irony of this childlike playfulness we carry inside us and the sometimes harsh realities of being an adult.
I started sharing these online under the pen name Plume, so that I could separate myself from feeling vulnerable. By using another persona, I was able to create a person that people can relate to, all the while keeping a distance from myself and the possibility of personal rejection. Then I realized there was no harm in being vulnerable. People can relate to love and heartbreak and even more to honesty. I still keep it though, I think it represents that side of me well.
Can you share a piece with us?
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition of it?
Success for me means accomplishing a goal. No matter how big or small it is. It could be getting outside of the house if you’re feeling down, it could be travelling abroad when you’re afraid to leave, or it could be starting a new business. Right now I’m working on a poetry book with a talented friend of mine. The book is going to be released at the end of April. I am so incredibly excited for this! It’s going to be a collection of poems and written pieces that will take readers on an emotional journey of love, heartbreak and hope. It’s a project that is very personal to me and is all about the emotions and different stages of love and heartbreak. I’ll be posting more updates on my Facebook page so feel free to follow me there!
Do you think there’s such a thing as a “dream job”? If yes, what would it look like for you?
I think there could be many “dream jobs”. The problem with our society nowadays is that we are so focused on finding ‘the one’ or having the ‘perfect career’ or the ‘perfect family’. I’m not sure when this idea of perfection became the ideal situation? Last time I checked, perfection didn’t exist, and if it does, it’s in a moment, not a continuous life event. So, if we constantly try to seek perfection, sure, we may find it for a few weeks or a few months, but then what? Everything has bad elements to it. Personally, I just thought about what I was willing to put up with. Elizabeth Gilbert once said that it’s all about what kind of shit sandwich you’re willing to eat, and I think that’s a great way of looking at it.
I realised that writing is important to me. Photography and art are important to me. Public speaking is important to me. Education is important to me. I’ve managed to combine all of those things into one job. Writing children’s books and poetry involves art, design, writing and education. And well, the public speaking part I get to do by going to writers’ groups and joining different communities. So yes, I am extremely happy with the work I am doing at the moment! I never wake up and question whether or not I’m in the wrong field. I guess sometimes I wonder if I should focus more on education or more on marketing. But I also realise that I’m on a journey and that journey never ends.
So I’ve learned to accept that, today, I am exactly where I should be. And that’s an amazing feeling to have.
What tips would you give someone trying to live his/her passion to the fullest?
Just start. Whatever it is you want to try, just start. Everything that you’re going to say to yourself to justify why it can’t be done is an excuse. If you’re already giving yourself excuses it’s because you’re thinking too big. When I say start, I mean start small. If you’re interested in photography, look at different courses in your city. You don’t have to book one, just look. See what’s out there. If you can’t take a course, look at different photography communities. Just start, somewhere! Anywhere.
Find the child in you that used to dream and make them happy.
You must have met a lot of interesting people on your journey. Is there anyone, in particular, you find very inspiring?
I’ve met so many people on my journey, I wouldn’t be able to pick one. I think everyone who I have met has inspired me in some way. I’ve met a lot of talented, creative people who have inspired me with their free-spirit attitude and their art. I’ve met a lot of business owners or start-up founders who have inspired me with their hard-work and determination. I think it’s important to surround yourself with different personality types because you learn a lot from people and how they function. I like to think I take a little piece of everyone I meet with me and carry it wherever I go.