Jonathan Johnson and Polly Buckingham
“Shade of the Earth” is a collection of 5 narrative poems: “On The Mountaintop”, “The Burning Boy”, “May Live or Die”, “Must Burn to Feel”, and “Shade of the Earth." The story runs together as one narrative with each poem linking into the next, split up into parts, not to divide but to bring them together. Perhaps in the hope of showing that life is separated yet whole.
This series portrays the state of mind of someone (possibly) self-entitled, the Burning Boy, as they battle against the entity of Night who exists as the complexities of pain and sadness and apathy.
I believe that writing comes from life. That the words are key to understanding and creating your own reality. That the mind is a chaotic dreamer that fills in the places beyond the physical limits with magic. And writing is a way of depicting all of this: what we see and feel and know, but is not real. When I write, it is often in a burst, in an overload, when the life around me is too real and overwhelming and my thoughts dance around my head, trapped and without any release until they suddenly fit together. I write and my mind clears and something, even as tiny as these poems are, makes more sense in the world. In the words, a tiny bit of order is found. The magic of fire and darkness somehow more concrete than the truth.
The first person you tell a story to is yourself. It comes from you, but the worst thing you can do for a piece of writing is put it in a drawer. The words are important to the writer but there is only greater meaning when given to another. These poems are of human emotion. All that is darkly felt and what can come after. If that can mean something to another person then that is the objective. Life is hard, but having a soul lit on fire means you wield a light that can cut through darkness. That is the intended impression of the piece. The medium used is the English language.
Self, Joseph Patrick, ""Shade of the Earth"" (2020). 2020 Symposium Creative Works. 2.
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