I can’t draw but I paint pictures. I mix words to create colors, weave threads, and give texture. Though I’ve had my struggles in life with the words I speak, it is with words that I weave fabrics of the pictures in my mind.
Like the purest forms of art, writing is all about feel. It starts with an idea – a brief spark of electricity in the mind that starts to turn like a wheel. Sometimes that spark ignites and flutters out, other times it hits and builds. Most times, I find that I have to place it in my mental garden and give it time to be tilled. The idea needs to be watered, fertilized, and pruned until it’s ready to give life. It may take days or weeks, just a few minutes, or whisper to me in my sleep, but I always know when it’s ripe.
I have to listen for the theme. I have to feel it in the breeze. I have to see it in the swaying of the leaves while I walk the streets. I have to find it in the threads in the words we speak. Like a flash, it hits like lightening with the energy of loud thunder. Sometimes it hits so hard that it often leaves me in wonder.
It starts with a vision and blends into an outline. For most of this blurry part of the process, I find myself lost until I’m found. I can’t see it yet but I start to feel it – the style, the tone, the pace. I feel the threads that I need to connect and put in the right place. My words are my colors and they are like keys, opening doors to memories of the things that I’ve experienced and things that I’ve seen. Each groove in the key is carefully sharpened to unlock and reveal, the lessons that I learn and emotions that I feel.
With my words I create pictures in minds. I tell stories that hopefully teach lessons over time. Through my words I want people to see connections – I want them to feel subtly of moments through the texture. Through my words I want provide insights and inspiration. I want people to step away from the picture and think about it with a slight bit of hesitation. I seek feel, I seek depth. I seek to create contrasts that speak to people even when they are at rest.
When I put the final touches on my tapestries of words, I brush them with a comb. Evenly shaping the threads, so that the fabric feels like a poem. Though words may torment my cords, they are my craft. And with the words I write, I weave threads of colors – mixed with the right amount of tone – such that they shine like no other.
Behind the Pen – Noah
One late April evening back in 2001, I sat on a deck on a beach in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. I looked out over the dark sea that night and saw a couple of people walking along the shore. From that simple image emerged the poem that follows. It begins with the image forever etched in my mind and weaves through the ideas of questioning societies’ lessons passed over time.
The title “Noah” is a nod to the song “Noah’s Dove” by my favorite singer/songwriter, Natalie Merchant. It was one of the first songs that ignited the fire in me to write in a more vivid manner. The poem, in turn, is an example of using the calming effects of nature and time to find the feel of the message.
That night I stared into the midnight wind and listened to the thoughts of the ocean, and in the end, I hoped to create a vivid story to touch those who read it – “outside of any recognition or devotion.” For me, it’s not about “likes”, “thumbs up,” “hearts” or other quantitative, superficial success measures. For me, it’s simply about painting pictures with words that my audience can treasure.
It’s been over 20 years since I first heard that song, and yet it still to gives me goose bumps to this day. I can only hope that my tapestries of words leave such a lasting impact on those who read the words with which I paint.
Staring into the midnight wind,
Listening to the thoughts of the ocean,
They walked until sight was spoken,
Outside of any recognition or devotion.
As animals gathered to say farewell,
The words they speak, we are unable to spell.
Lost within the world, we’ve ponder questions
Passed from ancient times of societies’ lessons.
I can not see within a well-lit room,
For there is nothing in it.
I can not read between the lines,
For it has been disguised and hidden.
No animal could’ve crawled the earth’s distance,
And no amount of rain, could’ve killed everything in it.
Recited over the years, the wine grows sour
And painstakingly enters our minds to devour.
But I can not read between the lines,
For it has been disguised and hidden.
And I can not spread through history,
For my heart tells it’s forbidden.
You watched the way, they chided me
And enjoyed to hide lies within me.
They beat the cross until he passed,
But why it is now, for my soul you ask?
I will not read between the lines
You have disguised and hidden.
Laden within the world, it’s forbidden.
Hidden within me, are only lies
Of which I will not suppress nor hide. – April 26, 2001
Want More – Hit Me Up
If you find this or any of my other work showcased in the “Behind the Pen” series interesting or inspiring, feel free to leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @Jarard29. I’ll happily provide an electronic copy of my entire book of poetry upon request. Be sure to check back from time to time for links to future releases and life stories.