Saturday, January 28, 2017

Author Interview: Brandon Jackson

Check out his book! 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

I realized early on, beginning maybe around the 2nd-3rd grade. I used to love drawing pictures of scenes from some of my favorite movies and retelling the stories in my own voice. The Wizard of Oz was one of my favorites as a little kid. I guess because I was always so imaginative. From there I became real interested in the horror genre and would begin writing short stories. Poetry didn’t come into my life until around my early teens and ever since then poetry and spoken word has been my love.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It usually depends on the length of time that I’m feeling overly inspired or if I’m just coming out of a positive or negative experience in my life when the ideas are fresh on my mind. Throughout this time, I’ll write poems periodically and when I feel like a certain chapter in life has come to an end, then I’ll compile all of those poems from that time and put them into a collection to share with the world. So I’d say the entire process usually takes about a year or a year and half for me to go through the motions and complete a project.

What is your writing process?

I never know when inspiration is going to hit me. It can come from something as simple as a conversation between me and a friend. I can be in the car, listening to music and a song lyric will speak to me. Sometimes, a line just pops into my head that I feel has to go into a poem. From then, I might jot down ideas or write down lines that come to me until I get a full concept on what I want to express in the piece. When I’m comfortable enough and feel excited to spill it all out, I’ll sit in front of a computer and type out the poem. I don’t like leaving a poem unfinished but I don’t like forcing its completion either. If I feel like it’s being forced, I’ll stop and come back to it later. Other times, it flows easily and I’m able to complete it all at once.

What would you say is your favorite subject to write about?

I’ve always been a writer that writes about love in some way. Unconditional love and a lot of times heartache. I believe these two feelings are the most universal and everyone can relate to it in some way. I’m a believer that love is everything and acknowledge that the world definitely needs more of it. A lot of writers think it’s such a cliché and will say they don’t like writing love poems but I like to dig deep below the surface to shed light on the emotional and sometimes ugly parts of how we as imperfect people handle something that was made perfectly for us to share with one another. Love.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

My own experiences. Current events. The experiences of people around me. Conversations. Being a poet, you have to be a good listener and an even better observer.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Before poetry, I was big into the horror genre. I loved scary movies and Stephen King was one of my big inspirations back then. I used to dream about writing novels and my books becoming a movie! So around 13-14, I wrote my first book and one of my teachers at the time coached me on the process of shopping the manuscript around to try and get it published. This never happened which I guess everything happens for a reason because looking back I feel I definitely needed more time and growth in my craft. Once I gave up horror novels and short stories, I fell in love with poetry and spoken word. I didn’t publish my first collection of poetry until I was 23 years old called The Parts Medicine Can’t Reach.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? 

I love doing anything artistic. I love going to plays, going to poetry/open mic events and art shows. When I’m not working or moving around so much, I like to just be still and enjoy the peaceful moments whenever and however I can.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

One of the most surprising things about creating a book, especially when you are self-publishing is the time and love you have to put into it in order to make sure it’s everything you want it to be. When they say self-publish, it is actually a do-it-all-yourself thing unless you have people to help you in any way. I’ve seen a lot of people do the same and you can tell the book was rushed. You have to edit, edit and edit again. Once everything is complete, I was amazed at how proud I felt when I had published my first book in 2013 because I had finally reached such a long time goal. If you put love into your work, people will notice that love and will hold it dear for themselves.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

One of the most influential poets I’ve admired is Rumi. His work was so timeless and beautifully written. That’s the kind of impact I want to leave with people…generations, providing work that is timeless. I also love writers like Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, and Maya Angelou. They have such an unapologetic truth planted in their work, not being afraid to go into the deepest, darkest places and exposing that to the readers and listeners. My writing tends to dive into emotional spaces that we don’t speak about out loud because of the fear of being judged or looked at differently but they are spaces we have all been in just the same. I feel it’s a nakedness that writers cherish in order to be a seed in someone else’s life or situation.

Tell me about your latest book of poetry.

From A Sky’s View is my third collection of poetry. Every book I’ve done has been special to me because they reflect a certain period I was in at that stage in life. The prior collections really encompassed Brandon being a writer and also a student. I’ll be the first to admit my shortcomings and the longing in things I wish to understand. I believe we as writers do it, not just to share but because we have the passion to reach an ultimate understanding. My previous work dealt more with my scars, my mistakes, my experiences with love, life and heartbreak. From A Sky’s View includes this as well but it’s more from a self-aware standpoint. I’ve matured more with each collection and I believe the poetry shows it. But I am still learning and with that the work will still grow. My perspective on things now may not be the same a year from now. I embrace that kind of change. I wanted this book to speak to the dreamers. It’s about dealing with pain and letting go of that pain in order to move on and find your freedom again. It’s enlightening when you realize things you didn’t before. You can look back and see things you didn’t see before. That’s what From A Sky’s View is about.

What would you say your mission is as a writer/poet?

I really want to be a representation for those wanting to heal. I am a poet because I want people to recognize that no matter what our differences are, many of our experiences are the same. I’m an advocate of love, self-love as well as spreading it around as much as we can. I want to promote a kind of shamelessness in being vulnerable. You can be vulnerable and strong. It doesn’t make you less of a person. I use writing and poetry as my outlet for my own healing and I want people to take that home with them and apply it to wherever they may be hurting. I am still a student in this thing called life, we all are and I feel it’s important to share for the next person and the next person and the next.

From A Sky's View Review: 

This is such a lovely book of poetry written by a Brandon L. Jackson. From a Sky's View is a selection of various poems of love and it will make you feel so many things. The weight of these poems is beautiful. They are powerful, encompassing and show the deep emotions the poet has. 

I am not very well versed in poetry to be quite honest, but I have never read a better poetry book. This book was very much one of my favorites. I found myself crying and smiling through the various pages. 

This book was incredible! 

"I never knew a smile could be a dangerous thing, until you made me do it, differently...."

I have never heard him read his poems but I feel like I could hear him. The power of his words, they just flow in my head, he has a gift for words, pace, and rhythm. 

From a Sky's View is a very weak powerful read. Invoking all the emotions love brings, and bringing the vision of a great poet to life. 


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