Behind ‘A Lilac Mind’ with Bibiane Bisala

In late February, SOON met with Bibiane Bisala- the incredibly talented young woman behind the poetry book ‘A Lilac Mind’, to find out more about her main influencers, her journey as a poet thus far and what her hopes are for the future. 

Introduce yourself.
My name is Bibiane Bisala. That’s pronounced bee-bee-anne but most people call me Bibi. I’m eighteen years old and I’m a Virgo who loves to write poetry, take walks and live inside my head. My Instagram is @bibixne and my Tumblr is alilacmind.tumblr.com. If you want pretentious playlists for 91 different moods, my Spotify is @iambibiane.

Tell us a little bit about A Lilac Mind… Where did it all begin?
‘A Lilac Mind’ is my first born. It’s an anthology that mainly covers love/heartbreak, infatuation, youth, freedom, the idea of the self and many other realms. I don’t even know how it really begun; all I can say now is that it is a product of inevitability. I’ve always been writing poetry ever since I was young, but the actual sharing of it begun when someone simply asked to read my poetry. Everyone knew I kept seven notebooks locked away but no one had ever really asked to read my stuff; perhaps they knew I would say no because I was and still am to an extent, really private about my writing and innermost thoughts. This person though, at the time, I couldn’t say no to and I guess that’s how the idea of sharing my art form stopped seeming so bad. In terms of the concept, it became really evident to me that everyone around me was trying to fit into a mould, to live their life as one thing and this idea that if you were one thing you couldn’t be the other was also so prominent. That is something I’ve struggled with a lot. I mention in my letter to my readers at the beginning of the book, that ‘A Lilac Mind’ is about embracing the polarities within yourself and accepting who you are unapologetically. The fundamental message: It’s okay to think/feel/be one thing and/or another.

What’s next for Bibiane Bisala? 
Right now I’m focusing on ‘A Lilac Mind’ touching a wider audience but as far as working on something new goes, I am working on new things and I am excited about future projects. I don’t want to give too much away but all I can say about the new project I’m currently working on, whenever it will come out, is that it’s more societal than personal (though still a reflection of me) and will hopefully take my poetry to a very visual level. I also want all my work to be cohesive, so it will have the same underlying vibe as A Lilac Mind but it’ll still hopefully be distinctive on its own.

What’s your favourite environment to work in?
I’m really flexible when it comes to the environment I cultivate my creativity in. I can literally work anywhere so long as I can get into my mind and concentrate on connecting and interacting with my thoughts and ideas. I’m a chronicle daydreamer so it’s easy to mentally leave a place whilst being physically there. But if I had to choose an ideal working environment, it would probably be in forests, alone with nothing but the trees watching or when I’m home alone, blasting whatever music I’m into at the moment, in front of my computer with notebooks and magazines out; tumblr on my screen. I also work a lot amidst the chaos public transport on my notes page.

Where do you source most of your inspiration from? Are there any artists, poets or even musicians that heavily influence your work?
This is a really cliché answer but I draw inspiration from everything everywhere. Other writers, magazines and music are my main sources. Lana Del Rey’s lyrics and music videos really pushed me towards the vibe I resonated most with; the dark, romantic, slightly disturbing essence surrounding love. If there’s one thing I can say about Lana’s work is that whether it’s just a song or a song paired with a visual, it is so cinematic and it’s literally this beautiful aesthetic experience for whatever senses it’s targeted at. When I was writing ‘A Lilac Mind’ I really wanted to write in such a way that if a director or someone who creates short films wanted to use my words, it would be easy for them because of how vivid my writing is (or how vivid I hope it is). Anything I’ve ever listened to and felt connected to is seen in ‘A Lilac Mind’, it’s a heavily influenced anthology from musicians such as the funeral suits, the 1975, Carla Bruni, SZA, and other obscure indie bands; it’s a product of eclecticism. Other writers such as Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Lang Leav and Pablo Neruda really shaped my character and perhaps the ‘persona’ that surrounds ‘A Lilac Mind’. As far as magazines go, I am a lover of authenticity, fashion and aesthetic and so simply flicking through a cool magazine such as i-D, DAZED AND CONFUSED or the Messy Heads and staring at a picture is enough for me to come up with an entire concept. Everything in ‘A Lilac Mind’ is real whether it is a direct experience presented just the way it was lived, embellished or understated; it’s the truth subjective to one’s mind. Whether you can even call that the truth is questionable… I guess the point of this tangent is that all my sources of inspiration allow me to ‘clothe’ reality the way I want when writing poetry.

To have published a poetry book already is incredibly impressive, what advice would you give to anyone else hoping to self-publish?
Perseverance is the key. It’s the key for any project in life being executed. There will be days when the idea of going through with your project is less sparkly than when you first engaged with it, but you just have stick it out. Whenever you get into that “meh” head space just think about why you embarked on his journey in the first place. Visualise the feeling you’ll get when it’s done; it’s the most rewarding feeling. As far as technical advice goes I would say just watch a lot of YouTube surrounding self publishing, do your research about it, find an indie self publishing company that is legit and gives you a lot of space to keep your original ideas intact. Also if you know anyone who has self published before just ask them for advice.

And Finally, what’s your ‘Something Out Of Nothing’? 
My something out of nothing has to be… There are so many little pleasures in my life that I literally live for. My favourite has to be my journey back home from school when the sun is setting. When I’m travelling alone, I put my headphones in, sit at the front seat of the upper deck of the bus and put my feet up. My bus goes up this hill everyday on the way home and when it reaches the top you get this breathtaking view. The sky is painted with all these bleeding colours and clouds and you can see all these trees and buildings in the horizon, with their lights. It’s literally the most beautiful thing ever. I normally reach a really good bit in my song when the bus stops there for a minute or so and I hold my breath every single time because it’s just this perfect harmony between nature (the sun/sky/clouds/trees) and industrialisation (the buildings and all their lights). I don’t know; it gets me every time. Then the bus goes downhill and the moment ends.

To keep up to date with Bibiane and her poetry, head over and follow her on Instagram / Tumblr . To purchase ‘A Lilac Mind’ find it on Amazon here.