I first stumbled across Olivia’s poetry page on instagram, Lighthouse letters. The more I read the more I was captivated and curious about this writer.
“People said she was filled with a sense of adventure, as though it was a singular sense or notion; how marvellously wrong they were. For she was filled, spilling over in fact, with every little detail and all five senses of wonderful, wonderful adventure.”- Olivia Siebel.
I spent the afternoon getting to know the woman behind the words at Fingal lighthouse, which coincidentally was the exact spot where her idea for Lighthouse Letters blossomed.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are and what excites you?
I'm a Gold Coast gal with too many passions to try and fit them in really… Ahhh soo much excites me; nature, people, sport, books, art, chocolate.
Anything creative mixed with passion and purpose really excites me at the moment. I love the idea that you can create and do something where it is clear that passion expresses itself, and then to have that be able to impact, inspire, encourage or bless someone else is such a cool concept!
You grew up in Coffs Harbour but now live here on the coast. What lead you to call the sunny Gold Coast your home?
I loved growing up in Coffs Harbour it’s so peaceful and quiet. I grew up on a bit of property - our house was on a hill that overlooked a valley and mountains on one side and a fainter view of the ocean on the other side. So it was really different to the Gold Coast. Especially, the surf is so nice and quiet compared to the Gold Coast. I moved to the Gold Coast to study, as there were only a few options at one really small university in Coffs Harbour. It felt like home straight away so I decided to stay. I also moved into a share house where I met my husband, so that was a big bargaining chip to stay on the Gold Coast.
You are one of eleven kids! Tell us a little about growing up in such a big family?
I literally never get over answering this question. It was so so much fun! If you have ever seen 'cheaper by the dozen' it felt a little like that at times, chaotic yet fun and full of love! My siblings are all super sporty and fun. I have so many fond memories of camping, surfing, hiking, board games and making up our own family plays. I think being the youngest can be hard because you get bullied a little more, but I feel like it develops so much character. Plus the fact that we were pretty low on funds (obviously with that many kids) makes you pretty appreciative of the smaller things and the people you are surrounded with rather than things.
I respect and admire all of my siblings so much. I know it’s probably a typical younger sibling thing to see your older brothers and sisters like that, but some of them are my best friends and we all get along really well now that we are a bit older and now that my brothers aren’t ripping my Barbie doll heads off or chucking me off the veranda onto a mattress anymore.
You’re a writer and poet. How and when did your love affair with words begin?
I have always loved story-telling in its various forms and writing became one of those ways where I could get out all the ideas and things going on in my head and around me. I have always loved reading and watching movies and from there I wanted to write, well had to write. I think I would have bursted if I didn’t get all the ideas and words in my head out in some way shape or form. I think journaling way back in the day is where it all began.
You have created “Lighthouse Letters” a space to share your words. Tell us a little about this project and how it came about?
So Lighthouse Letters was an idea that popped into my head one sunset when I was writing at Fingal lighthouse. I thought about the fact that a lighthouse is a beacon to boats, and that shining light and beacon for me when I am a lost little boat, has always been my faith and it’s expression in writing and journaling. It was just really catchy and rolled off my tongue that I was like yep! That’s what I’ll call it!
Where do you draw inspiration from when writing?
EVERYTHING!!! Mostly Creation! I actually don’t often go anywhere in particular or sit down with the purpose of writing unless it’s for a writing job. It’s usually when I’m out surfing, walking on the beach, hiking or just having a moment of peace and quietness that my mind stops worrying and is free to create.
My childhood is another massive thing I get so much inspiration from. The adventures and the stories I remember when I was little that stuck with me. Even the books I read, literally from a kid’s book to the Bible, or movies I watch will always give me an idea or spark something.
Do you have a favourite place to sit and write?
I definitely used to go down the Coastline a fair bit, especially Fingal lighthouse. But usually the beach, or beside a creek in Currumbin Valley. During winter though I’m a bit of a wuss in the cold mornings and I love writing all cosy in bed with a hot chai and some acoustic tunes.
Who are some writers you admire and do you have any must read suggestions for us?
Ah gosh where do I start… I love so many genres and types of writing there is so many! I’m a huge fan of really clever lyrics, so some of my favourite writers are also singer/songwriters too, anything from Ben Howard is my go to at the moment!
I love writers like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien who can write so profoundly and then at the same time write such amazing kids adventure stories. Other authors I love are Oscar Wilde, Khaled Hosseini and Roald Dahl. Poetry books I love at the moment are; ‘The Sun and her Flowers’ by Rupi Kaur and ‘The Poetry of Rilke’ by Rainer Maria Rilke
Do you have any future dreams about where you want “Lighthouse Letters” to go?
I actually never really thought about it until a few months ago to be completely honest. I started it as a creative outlet and space to put my work as a freelance writer. I do however have ideas now. I’d love to sell some prints and quotes and be able to do some content creation with likeminded brands I genuinely love. I would absolutely love in the distant future to put out a poetry book that has proceeds go towards helping women in Sex slavery and is a part of 1% for the planet.
You work as a freelance writer, what would your favourite project be so far?
I’m pretty lucky to say that I haven’t had any jobs I’ve not enjoyed. A few of my favourites would have to be some of the jobs I have done for GC Mag, being able to chat to some artists I admire and going to Moreton island, another place I love! Another favourite was blog writing for Open Heart International in Cambodia; I love missions and helping out those in need, especially kids, and to be able to write about it too was something I felt really lucky and blessed to do.
Apart from writing you have also dabbled in modelling and acting. Tell us a little about this chapter of your life?
I started modelling when I moved to the Gold Coast seven years ago. To be honest I really didn’t ever chase it, I was pretty slack at getting myself to casting. Plus a lot of the girls can be pretty nasty in that industry. I kind of just now do it on the side if somebody happens to find me and like my look. I never super enjoyed it, but I did a couple commercials in that time where there was acting involved and I loved it so much! I did a few classes and auditioned for an agency and they took me in. Ever since then I rock up to every acting audition and have even started writing my own scripts which I hope I can enter into some competitions and see them made one day! Acting is definitely one of those passions I had as a kid and then kind of lost for a while until it plonked itself right in front of me.
What’s next for Olivia Siebel?
Good question! This year for me I wanted to not try and set any huge goals and stress out at all, instead just to listen and be discerning every day with what I should do. I do however have a small business I’ve been working on and hoping to launch this year. As well as some other kids books and scripts I would love to get published and or made into movies that have some cool hidden messages and inspire people in some way. So I guess next for me is really seeing where creating combined with my passions takes me and what I can give back to people through it…
For words to escape with check out Lighthouse Letters