I always thought my first published book was going to be some epic Fantasy novel – one with dragons and magic and swords. (Think Game of Thrones but make it Black.) My debut book, however, is a collection of poems, entitled Crossroads.
Recently, I’ve found myself reflecting on this, and on how, up until a few years ago, I never would have imagined myself publishing poetry.
Growing up, Fantasy was the first thing I ever knew, the first thing I ever loved. (Alongside Science Fiction). I’ve been obsessed with things like Lord of the Rings and Mass Effect for as long as I can remember. And to this day, whenever I step into a bookstore, I always make a beeline for the Fantasy section. I think the thing about the genre that has appealed to me the most over the years is the idea of being able to escape.
Whenever I would open a fantasy novel, or turn on shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Fullmetal Alchemist, I found that I could easily slip away into the world I was watching or reading about. I could forget everything and become the main characters for a while. I could pop in my LotR DVD and live in Middle Earth for the next 12 hours. The thought of being able to experience lives that were so far from mine has always been fascinating. And that fascination is exactly what has, more often than not, motivated me to write.
I’ve always loved creating new worlds – worlds filled with magic systems and futuristic technology; worlds so different from our own that I’ve often considered taking a page out of Tolkein’s book of worldbuilding and dedicating an entire book to the history of those worlds.
I never imagined a day would come where I would be doing the exact opposite of that.
When I discovered my passion for poetry, I discovered something lifechanging, albeit intimidating. I discovered the thing that would teach me to stop running away from my feelings.
Over the years, poetry has helped me understand myself. It has helped me understand and process my emotions and the inner workings of my mind. It has taught me that it’s okay to embrace reality and everything that comes with it, both good and bad, even if that means having to wear my heart on my sleeve sometimes.
Writing fiction taught me to embrace my creative side; writing poetry taught me to embrace the emotional one.
Crossroads is made up of poems that touch on topics I never thought I would ever be able to talk about. I’ve never been one to talk about my feelings much. (My mom likes to say I’m secretive). So, when I decided to publish a book of poems that delves into things like my struggle with depression, my journey towards loving myself, grief, heartbreak and more, I wasn’t just surprised. I was terrified. And I still am. The thought of being so emotionally vulnerable and putting that vulnerability out into the world scares me more than anything else. But I also know that there’s the chance that somewhere out there someone might pick up my poems and learn that it’s okay to be vulnerable. And they’ll learn that it’s okay to be going through whatever they are going through now. And even more than that they’ll learn that it’s okay to be open about what they’re going through.
And so, here I am – about to publish a book that is so vulnerable and so emotional and so grounded in reality that my younger self wouldn’t believe it. Sometimes, my present self doesn’t believe it either. But if wearing my heart on my sleeve for a while and putting my own emotions out into the world can help someone, anyone feel a little less alone in the world, then I’m glad I’ve chosen to do so.
CROSSROADS is available in Print and eBook formats on Amazon.