Sin Eater Now Available on Amazon!

I'm super excited to announce that my first collection of poetry entitled Sin Eater: poems on loss, love, depression, and fatherhood is now available for purchase on Amazon for $10.99. It debuted as the #5 bestseller in it's category and I hope you'll pick up a copy, it truly is a piece of my soul. An e-book version is planned for later in the Fall but for now, get your hands on the real thing in print :) Click HERE to check it out!

Book Announcement!

Hi friends. I'm very excited to let you all know that my first collection of poetry will be available for purchase in print and eBook from Amazon in late August. It is entitled Sin Eater: poems on loss, love, depression, and fatherhood. This is a very personal work that, while most of it was written in a flurry early this year, has pieces that date back a decade making an appearance. If you follow my Instagram (@andrewcoonswriitng) you might recognize a few but for the most part these are previously unreleased writings.

I will have more details available as the release date draws near. If you have any questions don't hesitate to reach out to me. It's looking like the pricing will be coming in around $10.99 for print and $3.99 for digital. 

Happy writing!

Doing Better...

I'm doing a lot better lately. I'm eating better, walking more, watching my sleep habits, and thinking more positive thoughts. Thoughts that feel as foreign to me as an immersion language. In the same way that I trust that chien-chaud does in fact mean hot-dog, I trust that thinking I have value and purpose on this earth is not a lie a generation obsessed with self-help gurus has force fed me.

Having creative outlets is a vital part of my well-being. I'm writing more (and hopefully better) poetry, and even started working on my first novel. I've finished the prologue and chapter one, officially the most I've ever written towards a single novel idea. It's a small victory, a victory composed of roughly 5,000 words, but I'm going to take it. There has to be a "novel novel" joke in here somewhere...

The car still breaks down. The health insurance still lapses. The work projects always come fast and furious. These things don't change, not for me or anyone. They are the daily challenges you have to learn to face with poise. I can't break down every time the car does, once or twice might be ok, but eventually you have to learn to fix whatever part of yourself is most prone to fall apart.

Depression is a curious beast because it can start to blend together the days when you seriously are depressed and just the normal "bad days" that absolutely everyone has to deal with in life. Knowing that distinction is one of the most simple yet profound things I've had to learn. That an unexpected bill is not, in fact, the end of my financial security. Or that a fight with my spouse (don't worry ladies, it was my fault and I owned up to it) doesn't at all signify an erosion of the relationship. After a year of battling my way through therapy and the cloud of my own self loathing and doubt I am finally able to say that I can feel hope and that I have some perspective.

For me the best part about doing better is that for the first time I haven't lost my creative spark when I've started to feel less weighted. New subject matters and ideas are coming to me that feel like a nice change of pace from the normal drudgery. And there is a humor to my book so far that I didn't expect to find. It's cutting, as my humor usually is, but it's lightweight and snappy. It makes me smile to read. Smiling more is a good thing, and something I think is worth fighting for.

You can follow my Instagram at @andrewcoonswriting for more regular poetry posts.

 

 

Goals...

Well it's been over a month since I last wrote on this blog. I'm going to try and not view that as a failure. At least not a failure that affects what I do going forward. But I have been writing. Mostly poetry. Some on rough paper in a leather journal that smells like inspiration. Some on my iPhone. Some still in my head, waiting to take physical form. 

I'm working towards my first chapbook of poetry. It's a slow process. I'm still figuring out all the themes and culling through old work to see what is usable and what is utter crap. There is a lot of crap. But that's ok, because no one knows about the crap except me. 

Lately I've been giving a lot of thought to goals, especially with the idea of self-publishing my first work in the near future. Goals are important to me, I'm a very results oriented person. Which inevitably means I stare failure in the face more often than not, because let's be honest, we fail more than we succeed. And that's ok as long as success is the final outcome. It vindicates failure. But failure without ultimate success? I think that's what I fear more than anything in life.

There is a beautiful line from the song "Type Three" by Anberlin that says "Maybe I just want to hold/Something that was never meant to be mine." That is me more often then not. Not knowing where the boundaries are. Not knowing what my path is. Knowing there are an infinite number of roads to take and hoping I'm headed in the direction of the right one. Praying what I'm chasing wasn't predestined for someone else. 

So tonight I stare failure in the face, I smile, and say it's ok. Until I stop breathing and there are no more chances to succeed I will fight through rejection. I will fight through failure. And I will believe in spite of myself that my goals aren't someone else's destiny.

Structure...

I've been thinking a lot lately about structure. Structure is very important in my job. On a daily basis I am managing client accounts, editing videos, and writing scripts. Without my project management software, dedicated file paths, and operational processes in place things would break down and we would lose track of client assets as well as the vision for what we do. Structure helps us be productive.

At the same time I work in a creative field. There is an expectation upon me to produce original and out of the box ideas. These expectations come from my boss, our clients, and myself (have you caught on that I am "Team Oxford Comma" yet?). Putting my headspace in too rigid or restrained of a mold would be detrimental to my creative process. This is how I justify my desk being as messy as it is.

A lot comes down to not only what you want to produce but how you want to work. And herein lies the paradox. I'm starting to believe that the more boundaries and fences I build for myself the more productive I will be. And that the quality of what I produce will increase as well. This is, in its essence, the constant struggle between brash, uninhibited creation and purposefully and meaningfully applying yourself.

Jack White gave an amazing interview with Conan O'Brien about the nature of creativity. In it he talked about the idea of imposing limitations on yourself in order to be more creative. Essentially putting yourself in a box. For him it was recording on analogue, avoiding the ease of digital technology. In doing so you help avoid the paralyzing blank page syndrome of "I can literally do anything" and start to build off of "what can I do with this?"

When I first started working for the company I'm currently with it was just me and the business owner. I had recently graduated from a very strict private college (shave every day, wear a tie, etc. etc.) and he had left the corporate world in order to start his own business. Neither of us was interested in rules and processes. We wanted that millennial work environment where everyone sits around and drinks lattes and work is magically done without once using the word "synergy." But we found quickly that without some sort of structure, business fell apart. So we embraced the idea of making rules but making them the way we wanted them. Now we know who does what when it needs to get done. And the business is thriving.

How then might incorporating more structure into my daily life be beneficial? Just the thought of mapping out when I wake, eat, write, sleep, and revise gives me a headache. But I also know that some order is due in my life and by making the time to write, I will write 100% more than during the time I didn't make to write. Slap that on a motivational poster.

I've started playing with form more. Putting rhymes into my poems and building the shape of them to be visually appealing. Using paper and pen instead of typing on my iPhone or computer (#pagesnothyperlinks). Living with typos and confining myself to the length and width of my journal pages. These are small ways I can re-write the rules of what structure means to me. What box I want to build around myself. And in doing so I've seen limitations become opportunities. New ideas spring from pre-meditated rejection of old ones. It's been exciting and challenging.

Does structure appeal to you? Does setting aside a quiet hour every day to be creative help you or is it a box that puts too much pressure on your expression. The pressure to perform or produce. I know for myself I don't have a definitive answer to that question yet, which makes it perfect for some exploration.

Edit: This blog post was written in my browser, which crashed the first time I went to save it and erased all my work. I should have structured my saves better...

Progress...

My counselor tells me that I have a difficult time with "endings." Seeing things come to a stop. Relationships. Creative projects. Favorite tv shows and books. I have a lot of unfinished business floating out in the world and I think a big part of it is because being stuck in the limbo of progress is where I'm comfortable. "We're making progress." Easy to say and not a bad thing; except when you know deep down inside that you're using it as an excuse to not finish things that need to be finished. 

Which naturally leads to creating lots of beginnings. From starting new poems before old ones are done, to launching this website, I'm in search of new beginnings every day. Sounds like a damn motivational poster. But if you turn the poster over and read what's scrawled on the back you see it says "at the expense of completing what you started."

So there is a constant battle going on inside of me. The desire to bring things to a close and the need to begin again. The beautiful wonder of taking off down a new creative path and the feelings of futility without a clear goal in sight for what I'm doing. Chasing Instagram likes and Twitter shares for two seconds of validation only to feel empty again when the notifications stop chiming. 

I'm slowly learning to write for myself. To create for me. To give myself over to the process and let things take the time they will take. Start when they start. End when they are supposed to end. And not hold on to the past thinking that it's going to save me somehow. Salvation is down the road somewhere, not behind us. We just have to find that perfect balance of living the moment and striving for progress. 

Hello...

Hello. I'm Andrew. I'm (currently) 27. White. Brown hair usually cut very short. Brown eyes. Glasses. Stocky. On the short side of average. Blue jeans. Gray v-neck t-shirt.

How are you doing today? No seriously, answer out loud. How are you? I hope well. I think we always hope that people are doing well but secretly expect them not to be if honesty prevailed over social niceties and norms. It's been a long time since I've been able to assess my whole life and be content with where I am. Who I am. Where I'm going. But I also have to be objective and know that I have it pretty nice. I have a full time job. A loving family. Creative outlets. Netflix. 

I've done what probably a lot of you have done and tossed around the idea of starting a website (blog, online presence, brain dump, art dump, whatevs) for a while. The time was finally right. 

I think my approach to this will be to just have a space to put my thoughts. To archive my poems somewhere other than my iPhone. Hopefully some of you who stumble across this site find something to identify with. I understand the power of identifying with a stranger. It's like a warm blanket and a cup of cocoa. 

Or maybe you'll just think I'm a pretentious prick and click away. That's fine. I know I get wordy sometimes. It's just who I am. I like language. I like words. I like thinking about a subject in the most roundabout way possible; hoping that by taking the path less traveled we'll stumble across a tangent we hadn't thought of before.

Either way, thank you for being here. I really do appreciate your time. Your time is valuable. You are valuable. And I appreciate that you are reading me. Let's get started...