Welcome to the Dollhouse: An Interview With Jessyca Thibault

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There's something about prose that ties us all together in the most intimate of ways. We seek out these lines to tell our story or to hear it reflected back to us.

It's an outlet. It's self expression. It's soul baring truth and painful realities. It's hope. Jessyca Thibault is one of the newest voices building ground of her own within the community and with the successful releases of "doll eyes." and "glass girl." I have a feeling readers will be hearing her name a lot more in the future.

I recently had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Jessyca Thibault, who I admire greatly.

During the course of this interview we discussed the poetry community, what writing means to her (and what her writing process is), how old she was when she began writing, who we have to thank for giving her an extra push when it came to self-publishing, what her mother almost named her and where she draws the most information from.

I didn’t think anyone would read my book, but you’d be surprised how many people are out there willing to listen. We’re all looking for souls that can voice the things that we can’t. You could be that soul for someone.
--Jessyca Thibault on writing and finding an audience. 

Q: One of the things I find most striking about your poetry is the intimacy you convey in so few words. How challenging do you find the task to be? Do you ever find the idea of opening yourself up to be a bit daunting?
A: Opening myself up is actually my biggest fear ever, and I think people would be really surprised by that. For me, writing honestly is all I know how to do, so that isn’t the challenge, but sharing that honesty with other people is hard. I’m basically facing my biggest fear every day. I’m constantly worried that people are going to read my writing and think that it’s too much or respond with “I can’t believe she said that.” But in the end my passion for writing and connecting with people always wins out, so I face the fear.

Q: Do you remember the first poem you ever wrote? How old were you?
A: I don’t remember the exact poem, but I do remember that it was when I was 10, right after my aunt died. I think that’s what started this – my tendency to use writing as a sort of therapy. I couldn’t say out loud how I was feeling at the time, so I wrote poems to my aunt.

Q: What sparked you to finally put pen to paper, and, eventually, self-publish your work?
A: My best friend can take the credit for that. This all started with my journal. I write in a very lyrical, poetic way even if it’s just for myself. That’s just how the thoughts flow out of my brain. Anyways, I went through a hurtful situation last year and I needed validation for my feelings (I hate saying that, but it’s true). I asked my best friend if she could read my journal since she saw me every day and knew a lot about the situation, and after she was done she said that I needed to turn it into a book. I still have the sticky notes of her telling me that my words could really help people. Helping people is all I want to do with my life, so I decided to go for it.

Q: If you could tell your readers anything about yourself, that isn't found in your work, or on your social media, what would it be?
A: Fun fact: My mom had another name picked out in case I was a boy. She was going to name me Geoffrey, specifically after the Toys R’ Us giraffe. RIP Toys R’ Us.

Q: Everybody has differences in their writing process and we all have a variety of ideas of what gets us motivated. What do you consider the most helpful for yourself?
A: Inspiration always hits me in the most inconvenient places – in the shower or when I’m driving. I’ll think of poems on my way to the store and sometimes I’ll even pull into a random parking lot and type the poem in my Notes app and then get back on the road. I used to write everything in a journal, but after I trusted the wrong person with my last journal I only ever use my phone to store my poems. As far as motivation, it sounds so depressing but I’m more motivated to write when I’m sad, but I’m working on finding inspiration in all of the feelings and not just the ones that hurt me.

Q: In your opinion, what makes a good poem? What qualities do you admire in the community? And who would you say influences you the most?
A: If it makes me feel something then I think it’s a good poem. I think the best poems are honest, they have heart to them. I don’t need rhymes and rules – I’m not a technical writer or reader. I admire people that can say the things that other people are afraid to say and I love that modern poetry is becoming so fearless. Rupi Kaur and Amanda Lovelace are two of my absolute favorites.

Q: If you could read any poet (or poem) again for the very first time, who (or what) would it be? And why?
A: I didn’t read a whole lot of poetry before last year. I’ve always written it, but I stuck more to fantasy novels. Last year though, I read Milk and Honey at one of my lowest points and it helped me for than I can say. I felt less alone. I’d like the chance to read it for the first time now, when I’m not feeling like that. Sometimes when we’re sad we cling to the sad, and so when we read something we sometimes skim over the more inspirational pieces. I want to fully take those in.

Q: Is there a poem that has inspired you through the years? One that, perhaps, you see yourself reflected in? If so, why do you feel this way about it?
A: I tried to think of one, but I couldn’t??? I AM SORRY.


Q: What was it like, holding the first physical copy of “doll eyes.”? What was going through your mind in those first few moments of it being in your possession? And how do you find it differed from your release of “glass girl.”? It must have been surreal having this in-the-flesh proof of all your hard work.
A: I cry every time I order physical copies of my book. The first time I was a mess of happy tears, but recently I did my first bulk order of my book and let me tell you, there is nothing like seeing a stack of your own book sitting in a box. Every time I get that “Is this really real?” thought. “glass girl.” was different just because I knew that I was actually going to go through with publishing. When I first got “doll eyes.” I really did consider stopping there. I had the proof and I thought “This is enough, right? I can just keep this for me.” Of course, I went through with publishing it but there were definitely doubts mixed in with the happiness the first time around.

Q: Of your two collections, and your upcoming third installment, which did you find the most difficult to write?
A: glass girl.” There are a few different reasons. First of all, that book didn’t go the way that I had planned. The plot twist in the book was because of the plot twist in my life and writing about heartbreak when you were happy five minutes ago is emotionally draining. Secondly, I hadn’t been expecting the amazing response that I got from “doll eyes.” and I felt this pressure and expectation with “glass girl.” that I hadn’t felt the first time around. While I was writing I sometimes second-guessed myself and wondered if I was going to disappoint people or if they would compare the books and say that the second wasn’t as good. So that one was definitely the hardest to write.

Q: How did your writing process differ between the three?
A: The first book was written after I had gotten through a situation, so it was kind of like a flashback. The second book was a play-by-play. I was writing as I was going through experiences and feelings. The third book was the most different. I don’t want to give too much away, but I think book 3 is my most personal book and I think that scared me. There was a span of ten days when I didn’t write a single poem, which was weird for me. In the first two books I had a general idea what they would be about, but this last one was a surprise to me. I kept asking myself “what is the point?” and it took me awhile to realize it. This was new to me.

Q: There are so many new and unique voices begging to be heard in the community. For many of them, there's this hesitance in whether or not they should self-publish their work. It's true that we are our own worst enemies, and a lot of second guessing goes into whether or not we share our work with the world. Do you have any advice for these aspiring writers, when it comes to taking the plunge?
A: There’s nothing scarier than putting your heart on paper and handing it to the world, but there’s also nothing more rewarding. My advice would be to give your words the opportunity that you give others. I didn’t think anyone would read my book, but you’d be surprised how many people are out there willing to listen. We’re all looking for souls that can voice the things that we can’t. You could be that soul for someone.

Q: From the two collections that you've released, what poem(s) are you most proud of?
A: Petals from “doll eyes.” and Romanticized from “glass girl.” are two of my favorites. Not going to lie though, there’s a poem in “glass girl.” called Straight A Student and the whole thing is a metaphor and, like I said, I’m not usually a technical writer but I was pretty proud of my creativity with that one. But one thing about my books that people might not know is that there was a poem called Glass Girl in the book “doll eyes.” and the title of book 3 was actually the title of one of the poems in “glass girl.” There are a lot of parallels in my books.

Q: How do you feel you've grown as a writer through the years? Has any one thing triggered that growth? Or do you find it's all in trial and error?
A: I think that through the years I’ve found my style, and I think that has helped me grow. I’ve tried writing fantasy books in the past, but it was always a lot harder for me and (to be really honest) I’m not very good at it. I write best when I write honestly and emotionally and I think that over the years that clicked in my head and it has helped me to grow. I’m much more unapologetic with my writing too. I still worry about what people will think, but that worry doesn’t stop me or hold me back. And it’s more of a quiet worry, and it’s honestly getting quieter with each book.

Q: How do you hope to grow in the future?
A: It would be a dream come true if I could progress from writing poems to performing them. I don’t know if this will ever become a regular thing for me, but poetry is my biggest passion and I really want to be able to connect with audiences and share my books with them.

Q: You recently participated in your very first poetry event. This is a huge milestone in your career! Was the experience surreal to you? At the end of the day, what did it mean to you?
A: This event was both terrifying and absolutely fulfilling. I performed my poems in front of strangers and people that I knew cared about me (honestly, I don’t know which was scarier). I was completely honored to be asking to do this and I was so grateful for the opportunity. It gave me the confidence that I needed to realize that this is what I want to do with my life. For me, someone that has struggled with confidence her whole life, finding this within myself meant everything. The event went better than I could have expected and there really is nothing like having someone come up to you and say that your poems meant something to them.

Q: Finally, after your upcoming third poetry collection, what do you suppose your next writing project will be? Do you have any goals set up for the remainder of 2018 into 2019?
A: Book 3 will be the final release for 2018 but I have a secret novel that I’ve been holding onto for almost three years. I call it the “Bike Book” because it’s the reason behind my bike necklace and bike tattoo. I never had the confidence to self-publish it before, but I’ve been seriously considering making that my first project of 2019. It’s in the young adult – contemporary genre, but with poetry incorporated into it. I also want to start another poetry series. We’ll see


doll eyes. and glass girl. are presently available for free on Kindle Unlimited!

Jessyca Thibault is a 24-year-old writer living in Central Florida. She was born in Connecticut and spent much of her childhood in Rhode Island. Jessyca received her Bachelor's Degree in Business and Organizational Management in 2016 from the College of Central Florida. She has had poetry published in CF's literary magazine "Imprints." 


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