What is transparency? Transparent is how my friend and illustrator Leila described my poems the first time I told her about my secret project. Transparency is writing about my own feelings using no filters and no make-up. And yet, I’m not simply turning myself into a character in a novel to tell you about my life. I am expressing my deepest emotions in poetry.
I learned this from Billy Galewood: I am my own work of art, my craft is me. I understand it as finding myself in my art, and making myself as I make my art. Billy keeps saying that whatever you do, you should be passionate about it. Do what you love and invest yourself fully in it. The poems I’m writing for this project are all about emotions, from love to anxiety to happiness to pain. I write those as I experience them. Writing helps me put words on my own emotions.
My illustrator friend Leila is working with me on this secret project. It’s only the second time I collaborate with another artist on one of my books (Joshua Paul has contributed to The Complete Red-Hot Saga). I love Leila’s style because it expresses intense emotions. She likes having a text as inspiration for her drawings, and her interpretation of the words becomes her own art. Just like I transform my feelings into words, she turns words into feelings before laying them on paper.
What is transparency? It’s using my own feelings instead of literary conventions to make my poetry. And I believe this makes the art more powerful.