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Chat With Les: Courtney Capone

by Call Me Les 20 days ago in Creators · updated 12 days ago

Friendly Vocal Vet Tech, Creator, wife & a woman who considers herself to be 'owned' by seven animals, Courtney delves deep to show you the tough yet vulnerable creator behind the Top Stories.

This interview is part of a series of interviews collected for the ongoing column "Chat with Les" by Vocal Media author Call Me Les in the new Vocal Creators Chronicle. The Vocal Creators Chronicle is a free, online magazine that is comprised of authors from 5 continents and 8 countries. Les is both a columnist and a co-founder. Her column presents candid interviews with people from all backgrounds, and aims to examine the finer points in the lives of those around us, such as Courtney Capone: Friendly Vocal Vet Tech, Creator, wife, & a woman who considers herself to be 'owned' by seven animals.

Ash, my chinchilla, sitting on my head. He likes it there.

Socials: Vocal Writers Sharing Community (Group) & Vocal Media Profile

Be sure to check out her group! Info found here:

Interview

Q1: What is an average day like for you?

A: There’s no such thing as an “average” day in my life. I work open to close at an extremely busy animal hospital and no day is like the one before it—and no day is like the one that will come next. We never know what’s going to come through our doors.

But I suppose I have a routine of sorts. I am completely immune to ALL alarm clocks so my husband wakes me up. He has no snooze button (no matter how many times I smack him) so I get up, get ready, go to work, inevitably stay at least an hour or two after we close, come home, have my seven animals act like I was at war so I have to greet them all individually, eat dinner, watch television with the husband, write a piece or two, inevitably fall asleep on the couch, wake up a few hours later to a cat jumping on me, go to bed and back to sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat.

If it’s one of my days off, I am never truly off. I always have something to do. I only get one weekday off because the hospital is closed Sundays so that’s one of my guaranteed days off. My husband is also off on Sundays so that’s when we go grocery shopping and have a date night.

Date night for us means NO SCREENS. We turn off the television, our phones and our computers while we have dinner and talk. We catch up on anything we didn’t discuss throughout the week, check in on us, talk about the future, our pets, things we need to do in the week ahead, etc.

Wednesday is the day I have doctor’s appointments, run errands or take my pets to the vet. I know that seems weird since I WORK at the vet so why not take them with me? I’m a firm believer that they shouldn’t be trapped in a kennel for 10 hours for my convenience. So yeah, I go to work on my day off if my animals need care. Plus my practice is general practice (cats and dogs only) so my chinchilla has a whole separate vet all his own.

I would really love to use my days off to read, write and stay in my pajamas with intermittent naps and snack foods… but that never seems to happen.

My job is often difficult and under-appreciated. I write about my job a lot but many of those pieces tend to bleed into one another. I think this one speaks the most to what it’s really like…

Q2: What or who inspires you?

A: Everything?

Yeah… pretty much everything. I find inspiration in strange places. I see stories everywhere and I want to tell them. Like, if I have a client that doesn’t know something about their pet, I wonder how many other people don’t know it and I feel a need to share it. (Which is why I’m super excited to be writing a column about it for the magazine!).

Lisa Regan is an author, a friend of mine, and one of the most generous, kind, supportive and encouraging people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. She’s also incredibly true to herself. I like that in a person. She inspires me.

Most published authors in general inspire me. I want their thick skin to get through all the “no” that comes before the “yes”. I want to see my name on a shelf in a bookstore.

I am a HIGHLY competitive person so I think what inspires me the most is my desire to always improve, strive for more, strive to win, and try new avenues of writing that I never have before.

My biggest source of inspiration in my life is my family. I just want to make them proud. If I’ve done that, I’ve won no matter how many challenges I lose.

Outside of the writing realm, my greatest inspiration is Bindi Irwin. She’s my hero.

“Be Like Bindi” is both my life’s motto and goal.

Q3: Do you feel called to a cause of action? If so, what should readers know about it?

A: That one by now, I would think, is fairly obvious.

ANIMALS.

Just a typical day at the office (that’s not really a thing) with four Scottish Fold kittens in my hands

I fight and advocate for animals at every turn, every chance I get and in every way that I can. I am a member of several advocacy and conservation groups and volunteer my time off from work with local shelters and rehabs.

The reason this matters so much to me is because they can’t speak for themselves so someone has to be their voice. Someone has to stand up and say that their lives matter too and they have a right to live it free from torture for our own betterment and free from being poached as prizes or fashion. They don’t deserve to have their homes destroyed and wild animals that aren’t pets, don’t deserve to be forced to become one.

A tiger doesn’t belong in your backyard yet there are currently more tigers living in people’s backyards than there are left in the wild. I find that incredibly disturbing.

What readers need to understand is that animals are sentient beings. Though they can not speak our language they CAN feel things and to assume they are lesser is nothing more than human arrogance.

We need to stop destroying the planet and in turn, killing off the animals that inhabit it alongside us. Balloon releases need to STOP. What goes up, must come down and it usually lands in the oceans. There, they are eaten by creatures that can not digest them. Plastic is going to destroy us all. Save the animals, save the planet, stop doing things to harm both. They go hand in hand.

Also, you don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to be an animal advocate. I’m not, I eat meat, and I’m probably the biggest animal advocate you will ever meet in your life. There’s a food chain and I believe in balance. I don’t however believe in torture for the price of a meal so there are foods I absolutely will not eat (such as veal).

Animals matter. I like them far more than I like people, that’s for sure.

Q4: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen lately?

A: Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby. Incredibly powerful book about two homophobic men who have gay sons that are killed in a hate crime and seek revenge. It’s a page turner, I highly recommend it.

The most interesting new aspect of my current life has been buying a house for the first time. It’s a roller coaster of extreme highs and crushing lows and more stress than I ever could have imagined. People LIE on the internet about the condition of their home which, when they’re selling it, makes NO sense to me. People are going to come look at it and be instantly horrified so why lie? Call it what it is… a horror film set.

I’ll be glad when it’s over, but holy hell is it a nightmare.

Les say, as for reading by fans, Courtney's first column was a huge success!

CLICK HERE to Explore Article Above.

Q5: Why do you write and what is your niche?

A: Simply put… because I have to. Without writing, I don’t feel like myself. It’s like a part of me is missing.

When my fingers are dancing ideas across a keyboard, typing new worlds and imaginary people into existence, I’m alive.

It’s also my biggest source of catharsis. Whatever is happening in my life, I just write it out. I try to add my own brand of twisted humor into it but really, I’m a broken person. We’re all broken in our own ways and it’s those cracks and tears that make us human. The cuts and slices never come from the same knife but they are still what unites us as a species.

We all have stories to tell. Some of us just have the ability to do it in a format that allows us to choose the ending. If you want, you can rewrite your own story. It won’t change what really happened but it might change how you view it.

In terms of my preference/niche, they’re not one in the same.

My preferred genre is fiction but I rarely write fiction for Vocal outside of challenges. Some things I keep to myself. I would have to say my niche would be my narratives. I write very much in the same way that I speak. Reading my narrative writing is like listening in on a conversation (or so I’ve been told). It wasn’t until recently, however, that I dropped the humor and showed a far more vulnerable side of myself.

Q6: What is your best creation?

A: I think that’s more a question for others. Some of my personal favorites would include my Pear Tree story from the SFS challenges, "The Career I Never Had" about my journey with the FBI before an opossum changed my life, the series that I collaborated on for Vocal Creators Saloon for Breast Cancer Awareness with a shared subtitle of ‘You Are Not Alone’, and the word ‘Pink’ being included in every chapter title. The story was fictional but it involved a lot of very real research, links to programs, foundations and resources and important information because early detection is so important.

But when Vocal came out with the Critter Costume challenge and let me show off my pets dressed up for Halloween, I answered that one loudly and proudly!

But if FORCED to choose, I’d go with the love story of my husband and I.

Q7: What is your best accomplishment?

A: Professionally - hasn’t happened yet. I love my job but it’s a stepping stone to my main goal. I WILL open an animal sanctuary one day and I will save as many animals as I can while raising awareness about them. I also plan to open a shelter, which my husband will run. I went to college for something totally different and wasted a lot of time and money on a field I will never be part of but being educated in something doesn’t mean it’s your passion. I found and pursued my passion and I will follow it all the way to a sanctuary and a shelter. I’ve accomplished things, sure. But the greatest is yet to come.

My only male out of my five cats, Fox is my snuggle bug. Whenever I have a bad day, I will sit on the floor with him in my lap and just feel him purr against me.

Personally - I have Borderline Personality Disorder and severe Anxiety Disorder. Overcoming both is a daily achievement for me and BPD makes personal relationships especially difficult for me. It also makes choosing a career path and sticking to it difficult, along with other things… like saving money and ignoring my impulses. Being HAPPILY married, buying a house, working toward a massive career goal in a field that I love and am content in… these are all things I never imagined I could have. I didn’t think I was allowed. My brain wasn’t wired that way. It took a lot to get to where I am now, a place I’m proud of and that my parents are proud of. That means the world to me. I guess I always felt like a failure or like something was missing in me because I didn’t want the things other people wanted.

Until I did.

I struggle. I have stress. I have worries. My anxiety makes things very difficult. But overall, I’m a happy person. And that’s an accomplishment.

Q8: How do you pick yourself up after a failure?

A: I’ll get over it eventually, but first I have to be SUPER dramatic about it.

In short… I don’t.

Typically, someone else has to help me get back up. Remind me that losing isn’t failure, NOT TRYING is failure. It just usually takes a long time for me to see and accept that.

Luckily, I have several people in my life that are really good at picking up the pieces of my shattered chaos. My parents, my brother, my husband… those are obvious. But in terms of my writing it’s been mostly the people on Vocal who have showed up for me time and again to champion me. To encourage me. To tell me I AM actually good enough.

To write a complete list would ensure I would leave people out. But I will name a few…

  • Melissa Ingoldsby
  • Jason Basaraba
  • Judey Kalchik
  • Julie Smith
  • Teisha LeShea
  • And you, Les.

Q9: What quotes get you through the hard times?

A: This quote has been with me for as long as I can remember.

“Tomorrow is still tomorrow no matter how you get there… get there laughing” - My Dad.

I quoted it in my high school senior yearbook. My dad has always tried to turn his cynical pessimistic dramatic daughter into an optimist and remind me that laughter is important, tomorrow is a whole new day and only I can decide how I face the sunrise.

Also,

“Forget regret or life is yours to miss.” - RENT. (Les says, This is one of my favourites, too!)

https://quotesgram.com/angel-rent-movie-quotes/

I do not believe in regret. I believe that everything we do and everything we go through make us the people we become. Regretting the past is regretting who you are. I won’t do that.

Q10: What would you like to have remembered about you?

A: That I mattered in the lives of animals.

The dog I rescued who rescued me right back. Rosie taught me to love again after I lost my heart-dog.

That I excelled at something. I’m not sure what people would choose, but as long as it’s something, I’m happy.

That I was here. And while I was here, I really lived. I didn’t just survive my life, I lived it.

And mostly, I would really like a picture of me hung up in Starbucks.

Q11: If you could have a superpower, what would you choose and why?

A: Teleportation. I would love to be able to have dinner in Italy and be back in time for the shows that I like. I would love it if I hadn’t missed 7 years of holidays and birthdays with my family. I would REALLY love it if moving to Rhode Island with seven animals wouldn’t be an exercise in meowing chaos that cost a fortune but instead we just zap ourselves and our animals and all of our things 1,300 miles as soon as our house closes.

It would also be really cool to have a power that made my neighbor's feral child stop screaming. That kid needs a mute button.

STAT.

Q12: What is one message or piece of advice you would give to your fellow creators?

A: Don’t waste time on things that make you unhappy. No relationship, paycheck, or living situation is worth surrendering your joy. You get one life and you can’t wait for everything to be perfect to choose to be happy because perfect is nothing more than a construct, it will never happen.

There’s a difference between surviving and living. CHOOSE TO LIVE.

Trivia

-My favorite musician of all time : Tie between Billy Joel and Jewel. I like music that tells a story and they’re great story tellers.

-Favorite movie: Fight Club and Princess Bride. Also two of my favorite books and I like the movies because they stuck to the books.

- I’m obsessed with baking competition shows

By Alex Lvrs on Unsplash

- I can act, sing, dance and mimic just about any accent so well you’d never know it was fake.

- I have raging insomnia and write nearly every piece I publish on Vocal on sleeping pills while I wait for them to kick in. Which usually leads to me falling asleep on my couch.

- I speak to my animals as though they’re humans, I believe they completely understand me and they respond. Literally no one will ever convince me otherwise.

- I had a very non-traditional wedding that was a three day event. I also used my new last name to bring humor into it and after the “you may now kiss the bride moment” I held up a sign that said “I CAUGHT CAPONE!”

-I’m deathly allergic to strawberries.

-I absolutely despise doing laundry. It’s the most futile thing in the world because unless you do it stark naked, it’s literally never done and that annoys me. I use this as an excuse to buy more clothes.

By Sarah Brown on Unsplash

-I HATE mouth noises. If I can hear you chewing or my pets grooming themselves, I want to rip out my eardrums with a plastic spoon.

-I can only sleep if I’m freezing. I keep my house at 67 degrees year-round, partly because my chinchilla needs cold temperatures to survive, and partly because hoodies and blankets make me happy.

By Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

Finale*

Q: If you had a theme song that played when you entered a room, what would it be and why?

The Show Must Go On by Queen.

It’s my favorite Queen song and I grew up on a stage so a lot of it just sort of fits my personality. On top of that, I always seem to be going through something, yet I still have to function. That song has gotten me through a lot of work days when I just wanted to slowly rock in a corner somewhere.

“Inside my heart is breaking, my makeup may be flaking but my smile still stays on. My soul is painted like the wings on butterflies. Fairy tales of yesterday, grow but never die. I can fly, my friend. The show must go on.”

“I’ll face it with a grin, I’m never giving in! On with the show! I’ll top the bill, I’ll overkill, I have to find the will to carry on. On with the show.” - Show Must Go On, Queen

~~~

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Previous interviews in this series include:

About Les & Why She Writes Her Column

"Understanding each other is the foundation for many of the great causes in the world. I can’t champion them all, but, like Dr. Roshdy states, I can make a difference by starting with one. Telling one person’s story, starting small by bringing their passions, frailty, hopes and humor into the world, is a way I can make a difference to many." -Call Me Les

~CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO MAIN MAGAZINE~

*This question is dedicated to the memory of Les' writing partner, the late Tom Bradbury.

First Published November 18, 2021 by Call Me Les for The Vocal Creators Chronicle.

Creators

Call Me Les

Keepin' it real since 1987 with 3 cats, a tiny apartment and too many words in my head. Admin at the Vocal Social Society. Find me here.

No words left unspoken. In memory of Tom Bradbury.

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