Ugly People Beautiful Hearts

Ugly People Beautiful HeartsHi everyone! Today, I’m very pleased to introduce to you my blogger friend Marlen from Chicago. She’s not only a blogger extraordinaire at Messages on a Napkin, a woman with impeccable style, and the ultimate queen of layering, but also a super talented poet and author of Ugly People Beautiful Hearts, a collection of over 70 poems and verses “moving between the feelings of loving someone, feeling loss, trusting the night sky, losing your light, resolving that hurt is beautiful, and finding compassion in a stranger’s smile.”

Marlen’s poems are so contemporary, relevant and honest, they really manage to touch my heart on a level I never knew existed, and because I don’t want any one of you to miss out on so much beauty, I asked Marlen to tell me a little bit more about her book and the creative process behind it.  Enjoy! 🙂

Ugly People Beautiful Hearts1. Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?
I draw it from a little bit of everything- from songs I hear, from little moments in my life, from other poems I’ve read. Sometimes if the light hits my eyes a certain way I get this whole romantic scene in my head; or if the sound of my boots sound soft enough against the pavement, I start to hear a story in the quick echoes. I find that to keep the creative process going, you have to do two things: 1) Surround yourself with your art and 2) act on it *immediately. *Since I’m a poet I make sure to read poetry almost every day, getting familiar with all the different ways you can work with words and play with imagery. And when I do get an idea or when a pretty sentence forms in my head, I make sure to drop everything and write it down immediately. Usually my instinct is to be all “eh, I’ll write it later” and then I immediately forget it. Some of my favorite poems were ones that I scribbled down super hastily on the backs of receipts! You never know what you’re letting slip away.

Ugly People Beautiful Hearts2. What made you decide to sit down and actually write your first book?
Well, this was a long time coming- I’ve literally known I was going to do this since the first grade, haha. But wanting to do it and actually doing it are two different things. The thing that finally made me do it was a frank talk with myself. At that point I was working at an office, hating every moment I was forced to create a spread sheet, and making no real strides towards a career I wanted. I was in this self-created rut, and it was obvious I could change it if only I tried. So I asked myself what I really wanted to do. I answered,* to write*. So, I asked,* uh, why aren’t I writing then?*

It was simple: to be a writer I had to write. So I forced myself to sit down and get in the habit of doing just that, every day for a few hours a day. It didn’t matter if I had no inspiration or all my words sounded like crap for the full three hours- it was a habit I had to be diligent in creating in order to succeed. And eventually, it stuck!

Ugly People Beautiful Hearts3. How did you come up with the title for your book?
It came to me while I was hella tired at two in the morning! It’s funny because everything I write sort of comes out with no real form or purpose. With this book I was just writing poems as they came to me, and when it was all finished I knew I had to pinpoint a theme. And the one thing I was struggling with that year (and it came out in my words) was my realization that we’re all beautiful on the inside and have something wonderful to contribute…but at the same time, we’re sort of terrible people. Myself included. There have been so many times where I was selfish or chose myself over other people, and other times where others hurt me or treated me poorly without hesitation. We’re all ugly people, but we have beautiful hearts.

Ugly People Beautiful Hearts4. Did you learn anything from writing Ugly people Beautiful Hearts? If so, what was it?
I learned that it’s up to me to get the things that I want. Nothing comes easily- it’s very rare when something falls into your lap by pure luck. For the longest time I thought that being a writer was this lofty dream that I’d never be able to achieve. I’d probably become a teacher or an office manager and just think of what could have been. But I mean…all I had to do was try until it actually happened. It’s still a rough time coming- not even my dad bought my book, and most of my friends just smile in support when I talk about it. But that doesn’t matter all too much to me- this is my beginning and even the small failures are exciting. I have *years *to convince you my words are beautiful. I’ll wear you guys down eventually 😉

Ugly People Beautiful Hearts5. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you
about their work?
Ahhh so hard to choose just one! I love classic books, but my favorite writers are all poets. It amazes me how much emotion they can capture in just a few short sentences. My absolute favorite is Tyler Knott Gregson, followed by Shinji Moon, Christopher Poindexter, and Iain S. Thomas. Most of them write short, 5-12 sentence poems, but the way they describe small interactions- seemingly insignificant scenes- is border-line heart-breaking, that’s how beautiful it is. I’ve reread their books ten
times over and I’m still not bored with their words.

6. What book are you reading at the moment?
Right now I’m reading Lang Leav’s poetry book, Love & Misadventure. They’re short five sentence poems that rhyme, and they take you from the beginning of a relationship up to the end. It’s really cute and touching.

Ugly People Beautiful Hearts7. You give so much valuable fashion advice on your blog and on external websites, would you ever consider writing a book about fashion?
I would love to! I was actually tinkering around with the idea of creating an ebook on how to find your personal style, but that’s more on the back burner right now. Though now that you have me thinking about it…it does sound pretty fun to put together, doesn’t it? Finding a style that fits you is something really hard to do, and it would be lovely to help navigate some women on how to find a look that fits how they feel on the inside.

8. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Surround yourself with other inspiring writers! Find your peers and create friendships with the ones you truly admire and respect. This whole endeavor seemed so big and scary and lonely when I started out- it felt like I was working with a pipe dream. But when I took my words to Instagram and found a dozen other people working on the same dream I was- and working *hard- *I became re-inspired. All of a sudden, it all felt more tangible. Not only did I admire the way their minds worked when it came to words, but I also wanted to be as driven and relentless as they were. It seemed like they were writing all day long, and then working on a thousand other side projects that had to do with words. It made me feel like I was doing too little, and I could definitely handle more work. Who needs sleep, right? I’m grateful for their push, but also for their friendship and encouraging words. It’s always really nice to hear that your work matters 🙂

Watch out for this talented lady, or you might just miss the rise of the next Emily Dickinson.

Ugly People Beautiful Hearts is now available on Amazon for instant download.

  • PerceivedStyle

    She seems lovely! I cannot wait to see what kind of personal style book she comes up with. I do love the easiness her style invokes. Anyway, great interview hun. Inspired me to want to colab with a blogger too. yay 😀


    • Jasmin

      Yay…thank you! Us bloggers…we need to support each other, right? 🙂 xx

      • PerceivedStyle

        I completely agree 🙂

  • shanaz@ReverieSanctuary

    I like Marlen’s advice on being a writer! I used to read a lot of Anita Shreve’s books for the very reason that her words have this poetic cadence and I’m glad you’ve introduced Marlen as I’ll definitely be checking out her blog and get lost in her beautiful words. Thanks, Jasmin! <3 =)

    Shanaz | Fashionista NOW

    • Jasmin

      I’m so happy you liked the interview! You have to let me know what you think of Marlen’s poetry once you’ve checked it out 🙂 xx

      • shanaz@ReverieSanctuary

        I’ve downloaded her pdf containing 10 free poems and I’m too excited to read them that I’m putting reading them on hold (#bookwormproblems). I will say that Marlen’s way with words has made me pick up my imaginary pen and write some short poems, myself. She has inspired me to open up more with words and, I love it! Thank you for introducing her, Jasmin. <3 I need her book in my life right now! :3

        • Jasmin

          My pleasure! I’m so happy you enjoy her poems just as much as I do 🙂 xx

  • Lubka Christova

    Great interview and what a lovely person she is. Love insights from other creatives!!

    • Jasmin

      Glad you enjoyed reading the interview 🙂 xx

  • sprinklesofstyle

    Such a lovely post!!! Really inspiring and a lovely read! No matter how beautiful someone is on the outside – it’s what’s on the inside that counts!! 🙂

    Layla xx

    • Jasmin

      I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for reading 🙂 xx

  • officialmahryska

    great feature 🙂 love her style 🙂

    kisses from dubai ♥

    • Jasmin

      Happy you liked it 🙂 xx

  • Feline Creatures

    Love Marlen’s style, she can take a trend and make it her own. What an inspiring artist! Thanks for sharing this Jasmin! 🙂 xo~ Lena

    • Jasmin

      I know right? Marlen could literally make a potato sack work 😀 xx

  • Marlen

    Aww yaaay, loved seeing this on my feed! Your sweet intro had me grinning ear to ear. Thank you so much for interviewing me and sharing my work with others- you’re one amazing friend 😀

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

    • Jasmin

      The biggest crime a woman can commit is not supporting other women…and I loved doing it 🙂 xx

  • Alyssa Martinez

    I love her style and her book sounds interesting! I love reading but I’m not into poetry but I have a friend who does love and writes poems too. I’ll recommend her book 🙂


    • Jasmin

      Please do! I’m sure your friend will love the book 🙂 xx

  • Beauty Follower

    She is got great style!

    • Jasmin

      She does indeed 🙂 xx

  • LeDeSociale

    What a lovely interview post! Thanks for sharing. I’ll be sure to drop by



    • Jasmin

      I’m so glad you liked it 🙂 xx

  • Reshma

    I recently started following Marlen and love her blog. I think the title of her book is really beautiful and so true! I love her fashion posts… so I second the book about finding your personal style!
    Great interview and feature, Jasmin! 🙂

    • Jasmin

      Yay…we need to convince her to write that book asap! I’d definitely buy it 🙂 xx

  • vanessaah92

    So nice post and interview, I enjoyed to reading you!

    • Jasmin

      I’m so happy you enjoyed reading the interview 🙂 xx

  • 365hangers

    Such a wonderful interview!! We adore Marlen and her book sounds lovely. We may just have to snap it up. So glad you did this interview!!

    xx 365Hangers

    • Jasmin

      Yes!! You have to. She’s such a talented poet 🙂 xx

  • Jonathan Zegbe

    nice interview about this poet…loved reading about her. Nice post! 😉

    New Post on

    Greets Jon

    • Jasmin

      Thanks Jon 🙂 xx

      • Jonathan Zegbe

        You’re welcome Jasmin.

  • Ivana Džidić

    I absolutely enjoyed reading this interview. She is such a wonderful woman, I’m sure she must be a great writer as well. I love what she wrote about getting into a habit of writing. Most people don’t realize what a hard job writing is. If you want for inspiration to hit you, you’ll never get anywhere…you’ll end up with a few poems and unfinished novel….but if you work hard, really hard and learn to edit your own writings, you might get somewhere. There are no guarantees in life, some writers had their work rejected by every publisher they could find for decades before they actually managed to publish anything….and those are some brilliant writers….so we must keep on, boats against the current.

    • Jasmin

      I’m so happy you enjoyed reading the interview. When you want to make it as a creative – any kind of creative – persistence is key. Just think of J.K. Rowling who had her book rejected so many times before somebody believed in her and made her one of the richest women in the UK. xx

      • Ivana Džidić

        true, persistence is key.

  • officialmahryska

    nice 🙂

    kisses from dubai ♥

    • Jasmin

      Thanks Mahryska 🙂 xx

  • Laura Jane Atelier

    I follow her blog, she’s great


    • Jasmin

      She is indeed 🙂 xx