About Rose Manuel
Rose is an educator at a Singaporean primary school who enjoys teaching, and sees it as a process of learning about her students to nurture their innate talents and gifts. Recently, she became a published author, and since then, has embarked on her own journey of self-discovery, exploring the beauty of self-expression through writing poems, prose and simple day-to-day reflections of life. Last week, I got a chance to connect with her over a Zoom call to discuss the inspiration behind her works, and find out more about her new book, The Unheard Voice of a Rose through Poems and Prose.
Q: Thank you so much for doing this with me. Let’s find out more about you first. What is your day-to-day job?
A: Hi Ken, thank you for having me. I am a school teacher, and have taught for 20 years. I currently teach English Language and Social Studies as my core teaching areas. I was with MOE (Singapore’s Ministry of Education) HQ for 3 years, and have recently rejoined the fraternity. I find the classroom to be a place where my heart and soul belongs.
Q: How has 2020 been for you? How was your life affected by COVID-19?
A: 2020 was a year of discovery for me. It certainly got me to adapt, rethink and reinvent myself. As an educator, it was tough, I didn’t really enjoy being away from school as I am such a personable individual. I found it tough having to teach virtually, because it took me away from my comfort zone, which was being physically present in a classroom. I missed being around my smart and adorable students. Throughout the period of COVID-19, I really dug deep and wrote about my thoughts, my frustrations, and my joy, because it kept me rooted and grounded.
Q: Were you able to achieve more or less during that period?
A: It’s tough to answer this. Though my daily tasks at hand were completed on time, I felt unfulfilled by not being able to go beyond what was required, due to all the restrictions in place.
Q: In 2020, you were posting poems on LinkedIn. What inspired you to do so?
A: Linkedin is an amazing platform. I actually started just posting poems for fun, and never actually thought much about attracting followers or likes. But as time went on, I realised how I could connect with people from all over the world, and at that point, I recognised I had a voice that could reach out to others. So I carried on expressing myself through my poetry, and till this day I enjoy the camaraderie and intellectual banter with interesting people from all over the world. It’s an edifying experience, and I’ve learnt a lot from some amazing professionals across the globe!
Q: When did you first start writing poems? Are there any rules or structures you follow when writing poems?
A: I am a literature student. I do know the structures of actual poems, but I wanted to break convention and just come up with my own style, not at all wanting to be limited by poetic nuances and devices. I just experimented and wanted the words to come out the way I felt them in my soul. My only rule was “Just be authentic, no fluff!”
Q: What are your poems generally about?
A: My poems are actually stories of my life experiences, which have been a great source of inspiration. Throughout the course of writing poetry, I’ve strangely developed this penchant for visual acuity, where I look at an image and just start expressing what it evokes in me, so I find that the expression “a picture says a thousand words” is strangely proven true for me.
Q: What do you hope to inspire in people through your poetry?
A: Interestingly, writing poems and publishing a book was one of the goals on my bucket list. My blurb says “Dive into this book and read along, and if my poems and reflections inspire you, then my job is done, for yours has just begun”. As an educator, I hold it close to my heart that we need to craft a niche for ourselves, so that we can truly share our passion and gifts with our students. My wish is that my book inspires anyone to start writing their story. We can all leave a positive mark, a legacy in the world.
Q: Eventually, you were noticed by a UK-based publisher. Did you ever expect that posting your poems on LinkedIn would lead to you publishing your first book on Amazon?
A: My meeting with MW Editorial Services was truly a coincidental blessing. I am just so thankful to have met two awesome individuals across the globe. Mathew Warboys is such a humble and awesome human being, and Charlotte Hakes, who assembled this book, is such a talented and gifted editor. They were the ones who nudged me to publish on Amazon, and that was how it happened. I feel truly blessed to have been able to work with them, and at times, I still can’t believe how fortunate I am.
Q: You have a very unique and pretty book cover. Can you tell us more about the story behind its design?
A: I actually received this drawing from a student, who drew me with that actual mask while I was teaching, and presented it to me after the class. I was very touched, and kept it. When my editors asked me for a book design, this drawing just sprung into my mind. I felt that the design really tied in with the title The Unheard voice of a Rose through Poetry and Prose so artfully. Aside from that, as it was released during the time we were dealing with COVID-19, it seemed like a perfect fit.
Q: What is one advice you would give to people when it comes to chasing their dreams?
A: GO for it! We’ve got to quieten ourselves and listen very carefully to the inner stirrings of our heart. I believe it speaks to us while it beats! So make that dream come TRUE.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I am going to write my next book, then my next, then my next and next, until my last breath, for writing has become my fuel, my lifelong passion, and simply a gift for my family, friends, and anyone who feels that I have inspired or touched their lives. So, I shall write.