Interview with Ariane Singer , author of Things that Shine
by Dr Marina Nani
Ariane Signer has been writing her thoughts, fears and dreams in journals since the early 90’s. A personal development and self-help junkie, she has been working as a creative freelance writer since 2016. A native Canadian, she has found her home in a small town in Switzerland, where she lives with her husband and two young sons. Ariane established her blog, The Shadow and The Shimmer, in 2014. The blog afforded her a space to let out her (sometimes complicated) feelings about being in a long- distance relationship, struggles with alcohol and battle with panic disorder.
This year, Ariane compiled some of her writings and published a collection of poems, called Things That Shine.
In Things That Shine, you takes us on a non-linear journey through some of the moments that shaped your life. Writing helped you make sense of the two past decades of traumas and anxious thoughts, ideas and feelings. Your witty humour and refusal to surrender to the dark side, leaves your readers feeling warm and fuzzy, on the inside. Your writing is a testament to the human condition and the depth of emotions women experience becoming mothers and wives. Who inspired you to write and what gave you the courage to embrace writing as a profession?
The first quarter of my life was quite…intense. Although I came from a loving and supportive family, I found myself in abusive relationships, suffering from low self-worth, and battling anxiety. Later, I started to self-medicate with alcohol, and that only exacerbated the feelings of isolation
and fear. I lived my life in the shadows for years, and it took me a long time to see the light. I am a naturally optimistic and loving person, so this darkness wasn’t serving me. Throughout the ups and downs, I turned to my journal to make sense of my feelings and process my thoughts.
What did you do before becoming a writer?
In Canada, I worked in the fashion industry as a production and logistics coordinator. I’m really organized and excel at multi-tasking, so the role was really fulfilling. I was able to communicate and network with people all over the world, which was the best part of the job. I have an academic background in Sociology, so culture, travel and human connection have been big themes in my life. Writing has allowed me to connect all of these passions!
What made you change your career?
When I arrived in Switzerland, I was pregnant with my first son. I knew that a time-out from the corporate world was inevitable, and it gave me a chance to question whether I really wanted to go back to work in an office.
After a second pregnancy, it became clear that I was going to be a SAHM for quite some time, and between naps, diaper changes and meals, I managed to make a little bit of time to write.
What is it about writing that inspires your creativity?
Writing has been my passion since I was a young girl, writing my deepest secrets in diaries at the end of the day. I have always turned to writing to help me solve problems, to find solace in hard times, and to motivate myself when I needed a boost. In many ways, I didn’t choose to write, writing chose me! The only thing that took some time was acknowledging that I could transition the writing from a hobby, to a career.
How do you hope your writing will inspire others?
I naturally gravitate towards empaths, creative souls and the people who have always been told that they are too emotional. Those are my people! I want them to know that they have a beautiful gift that can change the world. Feeling too much and loving too much can be such a heavy weight, when you see all of the darkness around you. That’s why you need to shine brighter, to light the way for everyone who can’t see!
Finally, who do you turn for inspiration when writing?
I turn to the great pioneers of the self-help movement. I love that there are so many powerful and inspirational women in this subculture. Some of my absolute favourites include the late Louise Hay, Oprah Winfrey, Glennon Doyle Melton, Esther Hicks and Brene Brown. Reading from their books, or watching them on YouTube gives me such a boost when I’m feeling uninspired.
Photo credit Álvaro Serrano