With the recent launch of her new novel ‘Poemsia’, Lang Leav writes about the woman who inspires her to quill her female characters to life.
“When you’re raised as a feminist, it becomes part of your worldview. You are naturally inclined to write about female empowerment, because this has always been an intrinsic part of who you are.”
I first wrote as a way to express myself. As my work received more recognition, I realised I was mapping out the human experience of love and loss. Many people tell me that my poetry has helped them through a difficult time, or even saved their lives. I believe poetry is like a mirror. Sometimes you read a poem and it doesn’t move you. But when you come across the same poem years later, suddenly you find the poem will deeply resonate. It is not the poem that has changed, but you. This is why poetry is so essential to me. A poem can perfectly articulate your feelings at a certain point in your life, in a way little else can.
The world of dating and relationships can be daunting. Especially since your partner will play such a huge role in shaping your life. I think it’s important to follow your heart, but also to listen to your head. You can’t control who you fall in love with, but you can certainly choose who you want to have in your life. I hope my writing helps illustrate the beautiful, complex and messy nature of love, with the underlying message that although love is powerful and intoxicating, you are more so. You can be in love and still be yourself. I think that’s the most important thing for a woman to distinguish.
I wanted to get deep inside a woman’s psyche with my novel, Sad Girls. Along with the story arch, I wanted to explore relationships and the way they shape our lives. My main character Audrey, had a complex relationship with her mother, and this in turn has affected many of her major decisions, including her choice of romantic partner. I contrasted Audrey’s experience with the women around her. Trinh, a high-achieving journalist, Elsa, a celebrated novelist, Sam, a woman who founded an award-winning magazine publication, and Rosie, a successful business owner. I wanted to put women into roles where they are empowered, not just to set an example for my character Audrey, but for my readers, too.
From an early age, I witnessed my mother occupying the spaces that traditionally belonged to men. For a large part of my childhood she was the breadwinner, and my father, the stay-at-home dad. I suppose when you’re raised as a feminist, it becomes part of your worldview. You are naturally inclined to write about female empowerment, because this has always been an intrinsic part of who you are. For the last ten years, my partner has put aside his own career so we could focus on mine. When feminism is deeply rooted in your upbringing, you surround yourself with people who are like-minded.