#RRBC – February 2020 SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR – Forrest Stepnowski @frstepnowski

I am thrilled to be the first host of the first #RRBC SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR Blog tour of 2020! Congratulations to Forrest Stepnowski for landing in this hot seat!

Take it away, Forrest!

Writer’s Q&A

When did you start writing and what inspired you to write?

Answer: I began writing when I was twelve-years-old after experiencing one of the most depressing times of my life. The summer of 1987, I attempted toend my life. I struggled with a great many things, such as identity and traumatic stress caused by events that occurred during my earlier childhood. Events I do not talk about very often, but one day I will put them pen to paper, as they say. Anyways, during the fall of 1987 I was lucky to have an incredible English Teacher by the name of Mrs. Carr. Now our school was not the prettiest or fanciest, but we were lucky to have passionate instructors who truly loved teaching.

Mrs. Carr commented on my writing style during a 1:1 session. She asked me if I ever thought of becoming a writer when I grew up and I fell off my chair laughing at her. She had a great sense of humor generally, however, she made it clear she was being quite sincere. She said she saw great potential in my writing style and with everything I had gone through in my life, she felt it would be quite therapeutic for me. In an effort to appease her, I said I would think about. I will admit I was quite resistant to writing, as we were in an impoverished East San Diego region called “El Barrio Logan.” The school was in the middle of the barrio where is was riddled with drugs and gangs.  Anything artistic was not considered exactly “normal” in this part of town.

The day after Mrs. Carr and I had our conversation, she decided to spring on the class what she called a “pop writers challenge.” Even though it was not much of a contest, she would present these “challenges” with passion and great hype. The challenge that day was to write a poem about our past summer vacation. She implored us to make it lyrical. I remember her words to this day, “I want you to tell me a story through your poem… I want to laugh with you if it was a funny event… I want to cry with you and feel your pain if it was a sad event.” She liked playing music during these challenges and for that day’s challenge she played “Moonlight Sonata”. To be honest, the first couple of minutes of the challenge I froze. My summer was filled with a rollercoaster of emotions as I stated earlier. I let the music take me into my emotions and that day I wrote my first poem titled “Freeze”.

My teacher liked to showcase our work to the class, so the following day Mrs. Carr did her usual impassioned speech on how impressed she was with each and everyone one of us but stated a few of the authors from yesterday’s challenged that stood out. The poetic works that were shared were ranged from romantic, well as romantic as a 12-year-old could be, to the extremely humorous. The last poetic works she shared was “Freeze” however she did not disclose the author to the class. She said, “after I read this poem, I will leave it up to the author whether or not they want to share their identity.” She tearfully read my poem, as if she was in my soul and was feeling the pain I endured. My peers were in awe, making comments like “I want to give them a hug whoever they are” and “That poem should be published.” After the tears shed from my peers and continued statements I slowly stood up. This is how this author was born.

Excerpts from “Journey to the Rainbow’s End” by Forrest Robert Stepnowski

The Embrace

You are the warmth of my embrace, and the endless rhythm of my heart,

The whisper of the wind and the song of endless dreams realized,

How fortunate am I, when I’ve always thought I was one of those unfortunate souls?

You are the angel I have always dreamed of, but always thought never existed,

The sparkle of the heavens and the dance of a falling star,

When did I become the lucky one, to be captured by your light and love?

You are my life, my love, and my laughter during the endless darkness that tries to consume me,

The shield of the knight in shining armor when the dragons and demons appear to be on the attack,

How you make me feel just by your glance and the caress of your touch?

You are the beauty that I never could imagine in my deepest fantasies,

The mystery discovered and the joy of the sunshine upon

the cascading waterfall and the rainbows end,

How incredible I feel when I look at you and know that I am home?

You are the warmth of my embrace, and the endless rhythm of my heart,

The whisper of the wind and the song of endless dreams realized

How fortunate am I, when I’ve always thought I was one of those unfortunate souls?

Unfortunate soul, I am no more.

Freeze (written in 1987)

Feeling sorry for myself,

Freeze.

Seeing death as a way out,

Freeze.

Showing scars in memory,

Freeze.

Feeling sharp steel against my flesh,

Freeze.

Drops of red coloration fall upon the ground,

Freeze.

Life is flying past thy eyes,

Freeze.

Horrible memories come into mind,

Freeze.

Life is healing,

Think.

Loved ones are near,

Care.

Good memories appear,

Care.

Love is in my mind,

Care.

Drops of red fade away,

Care.

I am alive,

Love.

The ice has melted…

Journey to the Rainbow’s End: A Drag Queen’s Odyssey (Available on Kindle and Paperback)


About Forrest Robert Stepnowski

Forrest Robert Stepnowski is an advocate, writer, social worker, and performance artist in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing poetic works and prose for most of his life. He realized how important it would be to share his work with others, who may have tread similar paths of self-hate, self-deprecation, and self-loathing, in the hopes that they find they weren’t alone. Helping others who have been deemed as “different” because of varying sexual orientations or identities to realize that they are not deviants nor are the “against human nature” has always been of grave importance to him. He wants this group of beautiful people to know they are part of a collective, on an island where being different is embraced and accepted.

Social Media Links:

Website/Blog: https://www.forresttakesajourney.press

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/forrestrobertstepnowski

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/frstepnowski

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/forreststepnowski

71 thoughts on “#RRBC – February 2020 SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR – Forrest Stepnowski @frstepnowski

  1. As a retired teacher, I wanted to stand up and give Mrs. Carr a big hug. It warms my heart that there are so many great teachers in the world who make a difference in their students’ lives.

    I love that Forrest shared this story; it is the kind of thing that may help someone else who is struggling.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you for sharing such a personal and inspiring post, Forest. Your poetry is beautiful and powerful. Congratulations to you, and wishing you a fabulous month in the RRBC Spotlight. 🙂
    Many thanks for sharing the love, Jan, as always. xo

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Jan, so wonderful to see you kicking off the 2020 SA tours! Thank you for sharing your beautiful blog with us. A huge CONGRATS to Forrest on this much deserved hot seat. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you are quite the inspiration in telling your story. And your poetry… is beautiful! I look forward to the remainder of your Spotlight month! 🖤

    Liked by 2 people

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