Something we pride ourselves on in the Vérité Woman community is being able to get deep, quick. When we met Olesya Rulin for the first time, we were charmed by her ability to let you into some of her most innermost concepts of womanhood, littered with personal anecdotes all while preserving her privacy. This is the special gift of the storyteller. Whether it’s on-set — Olesya has a 20+ year career as an actor, or at her typewriter, she knows how to capture a feeling and bottle it up so it’s as impactful and fresh once pried open by the viewer. She’s petite but she fills a room with wisdom beyond her years — significant baby blues that you know have seen some shit, and her souvenirs are her tales. With the release of her new book Hounds of Love, an unbound book of poetry candidly drafted by typewriter, we ask her intimately how the magic of a woman is protected.
Vérité Woman: Olesya, tell us about your writing process, where does the inception of a poem begin?
Olesya Rulin: I write every day regardless if the words become something poetic or not. My mind tends to be hyper-attentive and writing cleans out my thoughts. If the ideas and moments I capture are allowed to live on paper I feel less weight in my mind.
I write on my 1946 Underwood typewriter that was gifted to me by my big brother for my 16th birthday. There’s something about the keys hitting paper. That metal click… the friction it takes to create a word… that I love. It takes time… words and what we say should take time. Everything is instant now and we forget to be careful with our words. I’ll find an image from a blog or site usually of nature and then I start to unravel the details. Instead of trying to explain it allow me to just show you. This is how I wrote Sunday Morning:
I saw the image of this lighthouse. Sat down and time traveled there. What would my day as the lighthouse be? What would I witness? Do I know someone that is a lighthouse? For me? For others. I started writing about a man I love and how he is just like a lighthouse. I blend their similarities usually closing my eyes and playing out the scene. I visualize all of my poems… like a scene in a movie… then it’s easy. I simply describe what I see, smell, feel. I’m sure the visualizing has to do with being an actor. I’m trained to describe a feeling of movement and environment as well as words. Everything has to work together to help the audience time travel with you.
VW: How long have you been writing for?
OR: I’ve been writing since I was 12 years old. I grew up in a home full of love and passion. Unfortunately, that home was also dangerous at times and yes full of abuse. I started writing because it allowed me to share intimate details of what was really happening since I couldn’t tell anyone else. It became a form of therapy. A live stream of consciousness and I do believe writing saved my sanity.
VW: Do poems come when you are in love or when you are in heartbreak?
OR: Love Love Love. I actually can’t write angry… or out of hurt. Isn’t that strange? It’s the same with crying scenes on set. I can’t cry from sad things. The whole “think of loss and dying puppies” trick doesn’t make me shed a tear. Love does though… I bawl feeling love. When I’m on set and my character has to cry, regardless of the scene, to get there I have to feel safe and loved. I usually write on the back of my sides ( the little script of what we are shooting that day) things that I love. It looks like this:
I love my job
I love my planet
I love my mom
I love my heritage
I love my home
I read these out-loud right before the scene starts. Saying those words audibly brings me to a grounded place. One that’s calm. I found I can’t show emotions… I can’t relax into feeling unless I am surrounded by love. Then I can play… with words and emotions. Once I feel grounded I’ll turn to whoever is near. If it’s my director or camera person I ask them to hold my hand and say three things to me ” you are safe, you are loved, everything is going to be ok”. With that, I can burst into tears and be in whatever place I need my character to be. I can dive deep because just like a child playing I am safe and loved. My creativity and my art have room to fly. This applies to poetry. All of my poems are about love… not lacking love… but loving. Regardless if it’s fulfilled or returned. If I’m writing about a specific person I apply the same techniques.
I love the way his shoulders move
I love the way he listens
I love the tone of his voice when he says “thank you ” to the waiter
VW: Love and poetry are synonymous at this point — why do you think it is love that makes us write and love that makes us read?
OR: Love is everything. We do everything from a place of love. I think it is the root of the human soul. We start wars because we love our country, our ideology, our race. We hurt each other from lack of self-love; because someone didn’t give us love. We make babies from love; we die for love. It’s something you can’t avoid… and if you try then you’re running from love. She always catches up even if it has to be on your death bed. Love wins always.
VW: When you are in that wild craze of a freshly broken heart, what is your method of revival?
OR: Alone time. It used to be whiskey. Yoga. A new lover. Depending on my bank account balance I would leave, hop on a plane and disappear. Now that I’m older and dare I say calmer it’s books and meditation. I surround myself with the women in my life and inhale. That helps inhale exhale and pour self-love and self-worth all over me. Into all the cracks and shadowy places… like honey… I make sure to get it everywhere.
VW: You have an amazing new project coming to life in which you will teach young women how to find themselves in such a unique, constructive way. Tell us more about this approach you have created.
OR: I’ve recently started doing speaking engagements. I was given the opportunity to talk to 18-24-year-olds around the country and it dawned on me… what will I talk to them about? What do I know? I’ve played pretend for 20 years. I know how to be other people… how does that help anyone? Is that even interesting?
I gave myself 20 days to think this through and came up with this concept: How being other people taught me how to be myself. My talks engage the audience to find the roots of their behaviors, dreams, desires, through using the same acting techniques I use to break down a character in a script. Instead of a movie, it’s your own life. Instead of a character, it’s your character. We take the time to look at ourselves from an elevated perspective so we can change our attitude. Separate ourselves so we can “study” our characters without passing judgment and thus allow change and better information to freely flow. The whole point is to learn about your own core behaviors… where your ideas come from and why you make the choices you make. Education and information is what changes the world. I hope that by helping young adults better understand themselves without judgment they are more equipped to move forward in making conscious decisions whatever they may be.
VW: That is such a unique and creative way to do the hard self-work that can often get painful. Why do you think it is important that women do this type of self-study?
OR: Women are magic in so many ways. We can reincarnate. Yes, it takes two to tango but women bring life into the world. Imagine if all the women on the planet refused to make babies until the world was a better place. One that could sustain peace. How fast do you think the wars would end? How fast would the pollution stop? If we all stood in our power and united said “No I refuse to create life until…” what would the men do?
Women are given an incredible opportunity by simply being born women to create anything. To love beyond our own bodies… we literally grow another human heart inside of ourselves. Watch it leave our bodies and have a completely different life. That’s just one piece of being a woman. We should all learn to value the miracle that is Woman.
I’ve learned self-worth and self-love later in life. It literally took me 15 or so years of mistakes (mistaking information) and trial and error, therapy, and countless romantic experiences, to learn to love me. Or better put to realize I didn’t know how to love myself. I don’t want another girl/woman to ever have to go through the same stages of discovery. We should raise girl and boys to cherish one another. Girls should know their worth as children. We simply don’t have the time to waste running around trying to fill voids with bad relationships, alcohol, drugs, whatever… the planet needs us to love ourselves enough to save ourselves. #climatechange
VW: What was something you learned about yourself through this process?
OR: That I give little to no credit to myself for my knowledge. I have 20 years of experience in one career and somehow still doubt my ability to succeed. To stand in my power and actually go forth and achieve my goals. I learned I am terrified of my own potential. That if I have gotten this far in my life being scared and self-sabotaging what is possible for me if I just believe in myself? Where would that lead? What amazing things could I do? The possibilities for me. I learned how scared I was of being great… how scared I was of my own power. Now I’m taking the steps to realize I am more than what I have given myself credit for.