Today we talk about Thoughts from a Damaged Mind, a poetic collection by Gareth Wynne published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Gareth Wynne to get to know him better and to understand how poetry genuinely helped him to express himself and his personal experience, just like he did with his book Thoughts from a Damaged Mind .
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- What particularly significant experiences in your life find expression in your poetic collection?
I think the main theme of my poetry is related to my experiences of depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress. The impact of any one of these conditions can be quite severe and overwhelming but the combination of all three heightens a generalized sense of despair and helplessness. Some of the poems clearly show the total lack of ability to consider a future of any kind, leaving little doubt of my state of mind at times. Specifically, a sense of disbelief regarding the abusive nature of my first marriage shows through along with the feelings of failure that it arouses. Emotions of anger and frustration that I remained in such a destructive marriage for so long, together with the resulting self-blame and low self-esteem are often reflected in the poems. The additional trauma of time spent in prison as someone who believes themselves to be (and is subsequently found) innocent has also had a significant impact on the content and nature of the poetry. Loss of control over life events and a sense of injustice are strong and recurring themes and directly reflect my traumatic life experiences. In this I feel my mind speaks where I have been unable to do so in the past. Sometimes I have written from the opposite and contrasting perspective of love for my new wife, or affection for my dogs, past and present.
- How did you choose the title of the book?
I found selecting a title for the book came quite easily because I wanted it to directly reflect the content and themes of my poems. It might be argued that I have a damaged mind because of the mental illness I experience. My thoughts are certainly not the kind experienced by everyone (nor would they want them to be) and so I suppose my mind could be regarded as being damaged as it wanders outside what is generally accepted by society as being the normal limits. The poetry is indicative of how I feel about aspects of the world at specific times.
- Have you always had a passion for writing?
I have to say no, I haven’t. I have always enjoyed reading a wide range of books, including both fiction and non-fiction, but I had never had any interest in poetry, only really reading it through school. It may sound strange, but only by having experienced the traumas that led to my mental health issues and the crises that then provoked has it presented me with new perspectives on life. Living with mental illness has given me new insights on things I never would have considered before and has in some way kindled my enthusiasm for writing. To be brutally honest, the catalyst for my writing was during my attendance as a psychiatric day hospital patient when on one occasion we were encouraged to engage in some creative writing. Much to my own surprise, I enjoyed it and did receive positive comments from my initial attempts. This prompted me to write more. I still do not really understand why my thoughts are expressed through poetry as it was alien to me before. I now seem to be able to write poems naturally as a way of expressing my thoughts about whatever I am currently feeling. I guess that while much that I previously considered important I think of as lost, I have been given a new form of expression, through which my mind speaks its own language.
- How did it feel to see your book published?
Despite some of my other answers, I do find this quite difficult. I don’t directly know anyone else who has had a book of any sort published and so there is a sense of disbelief. When I started to write poetry I saw it very much just for me as a form of cathartic release, never anticipating that it would be read by others. In addition, of course, the poetry is of a very personal nature, exposing my innermost thoughts and fears. It certainly makes me feel quite exposed in a lot of ways. I think perhaps that my thoughts are not so very different to anyone else in my situation, it is just that I have found a way of expressing them on the page. There is a sense of pride in seeing the finished article but it is also a strong reminder of my struggles. Overall it is rewarding in many ways and I see it as a vindication for all the help I have received in surviving the last few years.
- Are you already working on a new project?
I never stop writing, whether it is short stories or more poetry. I suppose the main thing that I’m working on is a piece of work reflecting my life up to this point. I wouldn’t call it an autobiography because I am concerned about the impact it may have on others if it was too reflective of my personal experiences, so I am writing it as a piece of fiction, but basing it on real events. I’m sure that the individuals referred to in the book may be able to recognise themselves, but what writer doesn’t use people they have encountered or aspects of themselves as bases for their characters? I must admit that I am finding it very challenging. I have mixed feelings as to whether it will ever see the light of day or whether I will want to just keep it for myself. One way or another, my mind always speaks, and more poetry is always emerging.
Europe Books thanks the author Gareth Wynne once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside him on the editorial path that led to the publication of his book Thoughts from a Damaged Mind. We wish him the best of luck for this poetic collection and for his future works, whether it is short stories or poetry.
To you, my dear reader, I wish you to immerse yourself in the pages of this poetic collection and start your personal reflective journey.
So, my dear reader, enjoy your reading and give yourself some food for your thoughts!