Winter is the gasping breath
Winter is the stench of decay
Winter’s touch is like paper mache
Winter is sharp enough to drive the gutless into affray
The sight of winter covers the vivid smiles of its seasonal sisters in shades of grey.
My hearts in my gut
My tears already fall in that tropical fashion
My body already heaves with my breath like a speedy version of listening to the tides pull back and pull in -pushing my head under the ocean and forcing me to taste the entire body of it’s salty tears
Self-care is something that gives you pleasure and nourishes your body, spirit and mind.
Write to Recover is an approved therapy called Bibliotherapy. It is used on people with Eating Disorders, PTSD, Depression and other illnesses. They are prescribed relevant material such as certain poems, novels and encouraged to write to find their inner being. Poetry as a form of healing dates back to Egyptian times in the 4th Millennium BC. Shamans used to write words on bits of papyrus and get their patients to swallow the words on them for the most speedy effective result.
In Roman times -A greek Born physician called Soranus of Ephesus was employed to come to live in Rome (in the 1st century AD) – to treat people with mania and melancholy with words.
The word Mania originates from the Grecians. Melancholia is can be interpreted as meaning ‘black’, bile or gall. Whilst Mania is was broken down into two words Ania- is interpreted as severe mental anguish and the word Manos is attributed as meaning a relaxed state or an extreme preoccupation of the mind and soul. Soranus was the first person on historic record to suggest that mental illness of melancholia and Mania were separate independant entities – it makes sense to understand why in later years Bipolar was referred to as ‘Manic Depression. It is documented Soranus, treated people with Mania by prescribing Tragedies to read and conversely prescribed those displaying a melancholic temperament with Comic works.
During the American civil war- American poet, Walt Whitman, used poetry recitations to treat the wounded before Morphine became the popular choice for pain relief. The humanitarian poet ( author of ‘Leaves of Grass’) also wrote a poem about his experience as a nurse on the battlefields of the American Civil War,
Thus in silence, in dream’s projections,
Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals;
The hurt and the wounded I pacify with soothing hand,
I sit by the restless all the dark night — some are so young;
Some suffer so much — I recall the experience sweet and sad;
(Many a soldier’s loving arms about this neck have cross’d and rested,
Many a soldier’s kiss dwells on these bearded lips.)
Walt Whitman, “The Dresser” (1867, later titled “The Wound-Dresser”)
In modern times Poetry therapy is used to help people express themselves through self-reflection. So,the saying, ‘Words Matter’ – indeed do matter and have a powerful effect on our emotions and cognitive faculties.
Poets such as Alan Watts, Walt Whitman, William Wordsmith and Antonin Artaud works are prescribed to patients as an alternative form of therapy.
An article was written by, Igor Goldkind, called ‘Towards an Uncommon Sense: the Practice of Poetry Therapy goes into greater detail of the breakdown of the three types of the most common approaches used to help people with Mental Health issues.
Towards an Uncommon Sense: the Practice of Poetry Therapy, Igor Goldkind
I identify as a humanitarian, I’m currently doing my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) training. I think I have found my new calling. Perhaps my next career move will be to do training to become a poetry therapist.
So, I will carry on with my ‘Write to Recover’ posts because I benefit from using this creative outlet to consolidate my Emotions and feel energised and purged from the unravelled thoughts I have in one day. My thoughts have a way of discombobulating my emotions and I become ruled by my emotions and thoughts that are not necessarily based on evidence and truth. I have made an ambitious start at using self-therapy DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy)to practice emotions distress tolerance, Wise mind and many other techniques to have more moments of Emotional Wellbeing than non.
I’ve downloaded many helpful apps to help me stay focused -The DBT therapy app, Happily, The recovery app because I do live in my head a lot. Perhaps too much and too often. and in the past when I have been unwell with my Bipolar, Chronic Anorexia and Emotional Unstable Personality Disorder.
Please, can the word labellers of the world reclassify the title of this illness because I hate the Stigma and connotations conjured by the term EUPD?
A post for another day…
I’ve also begun to throw myself into reading and educating myself across the entire spectrum of the Humanity & Arts subjects- Music, I have a Music blog, Photography, Art and reading up about different philosophers -all the subjects I have a great passion for and I never thought I was intelligent enough to grasp.
Reading back on these words,I find this tragic to put myself down to the point I feel that I am not like “normal” people who can enjoy these subjects and write about them (with a degree of credibility).
Momentarily I shall blow my own trumpet to state that I have a post-graduate certificate on the humanities I worked my booty off and received high merit. I received high merit towards my first year studying my MA degree in Advanced Creative Writing focusing on stage scripts! Writing about themes I want to shine a lot on – Homelessness, eradicating the stigma attached to mental illness.
Morality plays covering historical themes- the Russian revolution being a prime example.
I am compelled to volunteer my time in my community on the therapeutic benefits of creative self-expression and the connection with Mental wellbeing being. I have done this in the past. I’ve stood in front of Social workers, schools, NHS workers doing Anti -Stigma Workshops. Co-producing them. I don’t want chuffing letters after my name. I don’t want fame. I loathe it. I’ve been asked many times what it feels like to have so much insight into my mental health issues and “suffer” from them. Sometimes, I scream in frustration, I choose Ignorance!
Perhaps this is the reason why I’ve sought out “bliss” by self-medicating or trying to take my life because I have two live in my head.
I will wrap this post up by affirming my saying
Write to Recover or die to live the day of another
North Carolina born, Johnathan Wyatt, came under my radar under one of his alias names- Fin. His music is a diverse mix of instrumental hip-hop. Jonathan has released house music under the alias, Kaepora Gaebor. He has also released Vapour wave beats under the Alias, Fiji, and prompted me to find him on Instagram.
There were two other reasons I decided I want to find out more about him and his work. Two things about Jonathan stand out.
His collaboration on the track ‘Obsession Depression’ with his close friend, Skyler Nelson, (PKSkyler) a rapper based in San Diago, California on ambient Agape Records vol 1 album for U.K. based label Agape records -all proceeds went to MIND (mental health) Charity.
His dedication and maturity for his passion to create music in the past 5 years are astounding. Fin is 17 years old. He has released 3 albums, 6 EP’S and several demos and his next album –Näherin due to drop on 6th November 2020.
‘Tower’ is taken from his latest album.
When I asked Jonathan to what words came to mind when on MENTAL HEALTH & CREATIVITY) (CREATIVITY his answers were -Process, Inspiration, Expression. Frustration, Anxiety and Depression.
ON DEPRESSION OBSESSION
For Depression Obsession, the song I produced for PKSkyler on
(AGAPE Volume 1), Skyler just messaged me one day asking if I was interested in making a track for a charity compilation. We didn’t have a theme to start with, other than that it was mostly ambient music on the compilation and the person who started it was doing it as a tribute to a friend of theirs who had overdosed a few months prior. The song came together really quickly since we had a deadline to submit.
It was great to be a part of a project that feels so personal, with so many talented musicians as well. I’ve dealt with anxiety since a pretty young age, and have had some issues with depression over the past couple of years, so the links between mental health and creativity are very important to me.
I started with a sample from a song by one of my favourite bands, Azeda Booth. I laid some drums and bass down and had the rough bones of the beat. I sent a snippet of this to PK, and we both figured it should go in a more ambient direction, to fit with the other songs on the compilation. That’s when I thought of the concept of the track having two halves, with the first half being a normal rap structure for his verse and hook, and the second half being entirely beatless and ambient. I put some airy vocal chops from a Frou Frou song, some details, and the droney ambient section for the outro. I sent the instrumental to PK, he liked it, laid his vocals down, sent them back to mix, and the song was done.
FIN ON FIN
I make a lot of different kinds of music, but the sound that’s compelling to me is anything sample-based. I’ll usually buy cheap records from thrift shops and record stores, skim through them, and try to combine as many elements as I can into a cohesive piece. I do play a handful of instruments and write original music, but sampling is something I’m really, really passionate about. I think it deserves a lot of credit not just as a compositional tool, but as an art form all its own. It’s almost post-modern in a way, with the constant recontextualization of recognizable material.
When I was young, maybe around 7 or 8, I was obsessed with Micheal Jackson. I don’t even remember how I got interested in him, lol. I listened to his music religiously, had all the costumes, took a few dance classes, everything. This was before I ever considered playing an instrument, it was probably a big part of me getting deep into music later in life.
I started playing the guitar when I was 11, and about a year later I got obsessed with the idea of writing and recording my music. I got really into the idea of not needing a band or recording studio and doing everything myself. I started taking piano lessons, got a cheap bass, and took over my sister’s drumkit. I made about 3 albums worth of really crappy indie rock before getting interested in electronic music. I messed around with drum & bass, synthwave, and chiptune sounds before I got into sampling and beat-making. This was also around the time I met a few rappers and my friend Skyler (PKSkyler) on Facebook. I was super into the then growing vaporwave and cloud rap scene and was making loads of beats in that style. Those beats ended up on PKSkyler’s first album,Life of Skyler ). I would’ve been around 13 years old at this time.
Probably around age 14 is when I got into buying and sampling records. I was taking drum lessons, and it turned out my teacher was a huge hip-hop head and producer. He really pushed me towards where I’m at musically now. He’d bring stacks of records for me to sample, let me borrow his SP-404 sampler for a few months, and was a massive influence on my album Berkeley.
I’m 17 now, and ever since then I’ve been constantly working on and releasing new music. Over the past 2 years, I’ve released 3 albums, 6 EPs, and 4 beat tapes.
For the stuff I make as Fin, it was lo-fi artists like Mndsgn, Knxwledge, and of course Dilla. About halfway through the production of my first album, Berkeley, I heard DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing, and that changed my path. I was obsessed with the idea of making structured songs out of samples, instead of short beats. Even when I didn’t have the skill or knowledge to pull it off, I’d try to work in shifting structures and distinct sections in my tracks, for better or for worse.
I always try to have a theme to each big project I do, whether it’s just a palette of sounds that the tracks share, or something more focused. My EP, Substance for the Shadow was based around the idea of making something influenced by soundtracks, post-rock, and krautrock, and writing everything from scratch without sampling.
For the beats I was making for PKSkyler as Fiji, it was a lot of cloud rap and vaporwave, like Yung Lean and Blank Banshee. I was also sampling a lot of soundtracks, mostly old JRPGs and Earthbound.
ON INFLUENCES, THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
(In my hometown) the music scene basically non-existent, lol.
It’s a rural area with a pretty small population. It’s not far from Raleigh, which is a pretty big city with plenty of local bands, musicians, and venues, but obviously, I haven’t been able to go to any shows for the better part of this year. I try not to let that stop me, though, I’ve never really collaborated with anyone in person anyway, never been in a band either. I’m very much used to collaborating online, sending stuff back and forth through email, etc.
I’ve met some of my best friends through the internet, and there are so many niche artists and scenes that would’ve never found an audience through the internet. Things like vaporwave netlabels, obscure lo-fi hip hop releases, and the culture surrounding Bandcamp could’ve never existed 20 years ago.
On the other hand, there’s so much music being released right now, it can be hard to break through and find an audience. If there’s a genre you like and want to hear more of, there are hundreds of albums being released online every day in that style. It’s a blessing and a curse.
As far as finding success in music right now, it goes back to what I said before about breaking through the sheer amount of music being made right now. I’ve seen the lengths musicians go to gain listeners, it’s kinda sad.
I’m not the biggest fan of the things a lot of artists are doing right to be seen, like gaming the Spotify algorithms, hiring ad agencies to make songs go viral, etc. It doesn’t feel very genuine. Either way, commercial success isn’t really what I’m looking for in music, that’s never been my goal.
ON LATEST ALBUM AND UPCOMING PROJECTS
I have some songs I’m working on right now is a bit more of a downtempo and electronic-tinged direction. Still sample-based hip hop, but more atmospheric, with a big focus on texture and lo-fi sounds. I also produced and mixed a bunch of the songs on PKSkyler’s newest mixtape, which should be out very soon.
My new album Näherin is out now on my Bandcamp. It’s a 13 track instrumental hip-hop album touching on some elements of trip-hop, boom-bap, and downtempo. It’ll be on Spotify and Apple Music within the next week or two. I’ve also got cassettes that I did in a bootleg-y DIY style. I hand recorded each tape and printed the labels and J-cards myself, instead of going through a duplication service. I also produced 10 of the 16 tracks on PKSkyler’s newest album Lost in Darkness, which came out in April.
Thank you for listening.