It’s the beginning of a new week, and as we’re drawing closer to the release of my new poetry collection, Real Big American Zen, I wanted to share some thoughts on the new book and how it came together.
The first poems began to reveal themselves in early April of 2020; I was gearing up for the release of The Year that Stole the Light Away and experienced a roller coaster of emotions revisiting the loss of my Father. Covid had only been considered a global pandemic for a few weeks, and while promoting my then-new collection, I was wondering where I’d go next? I intended to continue writing, creating, but now that my still present grief wasn’t fueling my every thought, I felt a bit directionless.
I knew early in the process that I wasn’t interested in writing pandemic poetry. We were all experiencing this together; we knew the stats, we saw the press conferences, we all had friends who were suddenly experts on infectious diseases. I’ve always found writing to headlines to be a dull and lazy way forward.
As the days passed and the world fell into lockdown, I became increasingly concerned about the effects these things would have on my family and mental health. I knew I would do everything in my power to keep them safe, but was it possible to protect them fully? How would I keep myself above water with depression always lurking just out of sight? What would become of the life we’d worked so hard to build?
These thoughts became the fuel for the poetry that would come in bursts over the next several months.
There are no political lines drawn in the book’s pages; there were/are enough of those everywhere I look.
I worked at these pieces to make sure there was room for you, that you could take and use them as needed, that they would continue to feel vital long after the pandemic had faded from memory.
I’m now trying my best to spread the word about the book and find it more and more challenging. Word-of-mouth means the world to a writer, so feel free to share these posts with your followers.