On the meaning of being multi-talented…

For some of us, talent may rest in the genes or be “god-given.”  But for the majority of us, finding our talent is developed through recognition, nurturing, hard work, commitment, perseverance, and dedication that eventually culminate in rewards that enrich our spirit and brings joy to others who we may never meet or get to know. 

Rachael Ikins (Photo Provided)
As I reflect on accomplishment, my mind goes into overdrive and I come to a fast stop on one particular name, Rachael Ikins, poet, writer artist, author, mentor. 

This Saturday, July 30th from 1 to 3 PM at Auburn, NY’s Downtown Books and Coffee (downtownbooksand-coffee.com,) the store will host the book release and launch party for Rachael’s young adult novel, “Totems: Tales from the Edge of the Woods.” It is worth noting that this affair may be “the first book event for a young adult novel…at the store.”

Totems, an imaginative YA fantasy filled with characters “such as a bear wizard named Ambergris and Merthwyn the adopted elven boy,” the novel has captured adult interest who are not necessarily fantasy readers but enjoy good and captivating storytelling.

And we did say Ms. Ikins is multi-talented?!

Her short story “Cellphone” was published in the summer/fall 2015 edition of aaduna, and in that same year she was a Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry.  Her poetry has been presented in several publications and her artwork has received several awards. She serves as social media editor and 1st vice president of the central New York chapter of the National League of American Pen Women.  And not one to rest on past or current creative achievements, Ikins is moving forward with focus and purpose.

Log Cabin Books will release her next book, “From the Edge of the Sea” in a year, and Rachael is in the process of writing her third YA novel tentatively titled, “Through the Hedgerow.”  Her books use poetry to introduce chapters and as prologue and epilogue.  And further down the line, Log Cabin plans to release a full-length collection of her poetry.  For her part, Ikins will use her prize-winning poetry and artwork in these endeavors.  So, what’s the bottom line?

Rachael Ikins compels us not to take the term multi-talented for granted or use the term in a blasé manner. 

This summer, one of Ikins’creative non-fiction pieces, "Stray" was accepted by the journal Breath and Shadow. "Stray" “is about a woman whose son dies of asthma at age 25 and what she does when she gets the phone call from all the way across the country.”  Last year, Rachael read this work at a Pen Women event in Fayetteville, North Carolina and the presentation in Breath and Shadow will be its print debut in the journal’s winter issue. She will also have two poems appearing in its fall issue.

And in recognition and appreciation of her visual arts side, the journal’s editor in chief asked her to design the cover art for their 12th year anniversary anthology which is going to be titled "The Best of Breath and Shadow." While I can’t share the final design, it does appear that whatever artistic vision Rachael came up with, the journal’s editors were quite pleased. 

So if your weekend plans place you in Auburn or the central NY region, drop by Downtown Books and Coffee and meet Rachael Ikins.  And if your weekend plans have you in some other place, pick up her newest book and also read the interview that I did with her last year as part of aaduna’s Conversations series.  Go to http://aaduna.org/summerfall2015/conversations/conversation-with-rachael-ikins/

Stay creative.


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aaduna - a timeless exploration into words and images - is a globally read, multi-cultural, and diverse online literary and visual arts journal established in 2010.  Visit us at www.aaduna.org where we put measurable actions to our words.

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