erica shares how to lose all anchors one by one

Posted on Thursday, October 4, 2012

Many of today’s bestselling books, magazines and online articles display innumerable how-tos, steps to success and secrets to unlocking happiness, meaning and mood.  But poet Erica Goss candidly says, “We are who we are.  We are formed at birth.”  Erica suggests we must stop striving to be ‘someone’ and recognize that we already are who we are.  We already are what we are striving to become and that is enough.  The goal is not to find; the goal is to shine the light on what already is.  Erica says she has come to the point where she fully loves and accepts herself:


 We spend our whole lives trying to figure out who we are, especially as women because our culture tells us that we have such a narrow possibility as females.  You have to be yourself and you can’t worry about what other people think.  Once you have accepted yourself and you really love who you really are, and the unique person you were created at birth, your life will flow forward from that decision.  But as long as we try to be who we are not, we will live a life of pain and frustration.


Erica admits her own words have personally taken her a while to believe.  As a young girl, Erica enjoyed writing; it deepened her relationship with her father who first introduced her to poetry.  “Poetry is what moves me,” she says, recalling a time when she was afraid to be honest with herself about the importance of poetry. “It’s almost like coming out,” she says.  Once Erica admitted to herself and others that she was a writer, a poet, and creative artist, there was a freedom that lifted, an anchor that broke free, an acceptance with a part of herself she had previously locked away.


As a significant writer, Erica now enjoys inspiring and teaching others about her love for poetry.  Most encouragingly, Erica confesses, “I love reading young poets under thirty and seeing what kinds of risks they’re taking with their language and the subjects they are choosing to explore.  There is a lot more emotional honesty.”  This desire to teacher others has also seeped into her home life.  As a mother, Erica tries to encourage her children to find their genuine selves, assessing what kind of home life to create to encourage them to become their best selves.


When I was a kid, we didn’t even have television.  It seemed like the forbidden fruit.  I didn’t want to limit my children so severely, but wanted us to have a quiet, stress-free childhood.  I wanted my kids to know themselves before an advertiser could tell them how to think.  A pediatrician said no television, no computer.  I spent a lot of time with them reading books and singing and playing.


Her words sing.  Her words are a game I want to play.  As a maturing woman, shaping my own ideas and hopes as a mother, I intently rise and fall to the rhythm of her voice and the symphony she conducts.  A role model to her children, her students and those she meets, Erica gives thanks to those that have offered a source of comfort and support along her journey.   “I am often even inspired people who aren’t connected to poetry.”  Visual artists such as JR and photographers such as Sally Mann, Edward Weston, and Edward S. Curtis are among her visual library.  Once allowing the images to filter into her hungry brain, Erica’s inspiration is fully lit.  Her writing is honest, and exposed, opening us into her hidden attic of experiences.  As a wife, her husband is often the source of many poems.  At times he asks, “Ouch, are you going to publish that?”  (With a smile and a wink, I’m sure).  Erica laughs, admitting, “He has to come along for the ride too. That’s taking a risk too because now I’m outing both of us.”  Recognizing the union of poetic honesty and shelter, Erica’s words summarize the souls’ struggle:


I’m not a skydiver, but it feels like that emotionally.


As if in the sky, leaping into another poem, we must rip away the ego at some point and jump.  This reminds me of Erica’s lines from Cover. I go back to a the words in her poem, “lose all anchors, one by one.”  The clamping anchors of vulnerability and ego start to slowly release.  I wonder, when did we lose our innocence and start trying to fill the role of what someone else wanted in our lives?  Poignantly, Erica says, “What makes you happy is usually what’s best for everybody else.  If you are doing something that makes you happy, it’s going to be your gift that you give to the rest of the world.”  I sit back and smile, feeling as though I have just landed a free seat at a motivational conference.  Once again, a beautiful rowdy prisoner inspires me.


While we talk, I hear the hustling drones of freeway travelers amidst the soft song of discreet hummingbirds.  As the sun rests high above California mountains, I wonder if the haze is dreamy fog or disheartening smog.  Erica’s voice brings me back in.


Our earth is in a lot of trouble and it is going to be up to the feminine and the female energy, the creative energy that every man and woman has inside of ourselves.  This earth is suffering from a lack of love and we need to fix that.


Feminine acceptance is about radiance, confidence, a blending of gentleness and strength.  Just as the earth needs the sun and the moon, our society needs emotion as much as it needs decision making.  The arts are as crucial as science.  Writing is as impactful as mathematics.  No one person, industry or country is better or right.  Our world strives on the beauty of our true differences.  Erica continues, “The faster you can get to accepting yourself, and your talents of human being, the faster you’ll be a happy person and make the world a better place.”  I pull myself away from this black and white thinking and meld into the colorful guidance Erica offers to everyone. “Your talents are valuable.  The world needs all of the talents that you have.”  And the world is sprinkled with a rainbow of Erica’s talents.  Her words are bright and carry a promise of hope.  A transformed woman over the years that is a rowdy prisoner, flying out of her cage, losing the anchors one by one, she can now say simply say, with great strength and courage, “I’m a poet.  Get over it.”


In Wild Place, Erica Goss travels through one woman’s experience of life, death and nature at its most terrifying.  Her poems are rooted in the landscape of the Santa Cruz Mountains, her home for the past 20 years, as well as her experience as the child of a World War II survivor.  The dead and the living dwell side by side in this collection.  Through it all, the poet’s love for her family, home and the state of California, with all of its tarnished glamour, shines through.


Wild Place is available for purchase from Finishing Line Press.






feature image provided by Sally Mann


  1. Great article/interview! Very inspiring. It was what I needed to hear in this moment in my life.

  2. Miss,

    I am so glad this interview impacted you. Erica has a wonderful way with words and is such a great example as to how to remember to be kind to yourself. I hope each interview offers something you’ve been needing to hear.

  3. Wonderful interview. The only thing missing is one or two of her poems to illustrate her point about being true to oneself by fully stepping into our talents and strengths. Thanks for this!

    • Thank you for your comments! Great feedback. Here are two (of Erica’s many poems) I enjoy.

      The first poem “Strange Land” is from her Chapbook, Wild Place. It has also been published in Eclectica. Literary Magazine

      Strange Land

      Wind brings
      the American desert
      to our front door

      inside the house
      it’s the old country

      America takes practice
      mother prepares
      our daily lessons

      each morning we emigrate
      our fermenting lunchboxes
      ripe with foreign stink

      the war of two languages
      leaves us mute in school
      speak up, the teacher says

      red ants pierce the heart
      of our flimsy suburb
      slip into bags of sugar

      paper wasps ping the house
      build nests from wood
      and their own fierce saliva

      the insatiable wind
      presses against the walls
      America drifts under the doorsill

      mother scrubs the hot windows
      scans the hazy air
      always look up, she says

      how did she outlast her childhood
      in a black cellar
      while bombers inked the sky?

      our questions pain her
      it’s enough to survive
      don’t ask me for more

      The second “Conception” has been published in Hazmat.


      My mother leans back
      against the river stones.
      Above her the sky is a vast
      room she remembers

      from childhood. She thinks
      of flying, of crossing the ocean.
      There is a man whose face
      swims in a swirl of words.

      My mother looks up,
      her body’s plan clear to her now.
      There are debts to be paid,
      and hard days coming.

      Everything has been taken.
      My mother closes her hand
      around a river stone.
      Her eyes are open.

      If you go to her website,, you will find more of her poetry. I’d love to hear some of your favorites – of Erica’s work and others.

There comes a time when one realizes the cage was unlocked all along. Learn More

Copyright © 2012-2016 Rowdy Prisoners. All Rights Reserved.