It’s a feeling he misses. He made lists of things he wanted to feel when he was younger, big things, small things, ice, snow, the sand at the beach, someone else’s hands holding his, feeling him feeling them, a feedback loop of feelings, which is what happens when two people make love. He wanted to feel things that made him feel safe and scared and things that ripped his heart out of his chest, things that made him want to go home and things that made him want to travel, things that made him proud and things that made him regret his choices and he, like all people, slowly ticked these things off the list in his head as he lived, as the world turned until soon, there were very few things left to feel.
He believed the last thing he would feel, would be nothing, as that was nearly impossible to feel unless you were dead or hadn’t been born yet. He wondered what it’d be like to not be able to wonder.”
– Intentional Dissonance
On the surface, Intentional Dissonance is dystopian science fiction book about Jon Salt, a young man obsessed with a drug called Sadness, which is the kind of drug you take if you live in a world that forces you to feel nothing. More than this, it’s a book I wrote about my own struggle with depression.
One of my greatest personal challenges has been to overcome a story I’ve told myself from an early age, that my depression is an important part of my identity and more importantly, my creativity. It’s a story I believe many creative people tell themselves – that their pain is an engine and the driving force behind what they make.
In hindsight, I wrote this book as a way to talk about that idea.
After the book was published, things got worse and in 2013, I stopped writing almost all together because I felt like if I wanted to write, I needed to be in pain and the two things became the same thing. So I stopped because I didn’t know who I was if I wasn’t a writer and some part of me knew that what I was doing wasn’t healthy.
A good friend that I later married, and today I have a beautiful daughter with her, convinced me to look for help and I started going to therapy and slowly but surely, I came back to me and I started to see things as I believe they really are.
If you are a creative person, and I believe that everyone is creative, then you should know this – your talent is not your pain. Your talent is your talent. We romance the idea of the tortured creative person because it’s intriguing but while sadness and depression can be productive emotions, I can honestly tell you that the most resonant, beautiful things I’ve ever written have come from a healthy place.
While the chronically depressed, obsessive poet hiding behind a mask might sound intriguing, and this does seem to be what can best be described as a marketing strategy by some of my contemporaries, it is not healthy space for the reader or the writer to stay in. If you art isn’t helping you move through what you’re feeling, then make different art.
Or at least, that’s my philosophy.
Intentional Dissonance is only 99c in December on Kindle (click here).
If you read it, let me know what you think. I hope you’re well and I send you my best.
– Iain S. Thomas
4 thoughts on “Intentional Dissonance”
beautiful distinction there, between art and pain..
I’ve read intentional dissonance..
great piece of art
On Tue, 4 Dec 2018, 13:42 Here at last, we shall be free., wrote:
> iainthomas posted: ““Awe. It’s a feeling he misses. He made lists of > things he wanted to feel when he was younger, big things, small things, > ice, snow, the sand at the beach, someone else’s hands holding his, feeling > him feeling them, a feedback loop of feelings, which is ” >
Dear Mr. Thomas,
I am a volunteer co-host of a monthly poetry event at Barnes & Noble in Vancouver, WA.
Usually happening on the last Tuesday of each month from 7pm to 8.30pm, our events
have one or more featured books, made available for sale by the store and with the author(s)
invited to read for about 20-25 minutes. The rest of the time is made up with open mic poets.
We do not pay or help with travel or accommodation, but we offer a friendly atmosphere and a
loyal community of poets and poetry enthusiasts, meeting in our city’s premier bookstore with an
I would like to invite you to read for us from I Wrote This For You at one of our readings. The following
are available. Please let me know as soon as possible which one works best for you so that we may reserve it for you:
Mar 26 2019
Jul 30 2019
Aug 27 2019
Sep 24 2019
Oct 29 2019
Nov 26 2019
I’m so sorry for my unforgivable late response – I’m afraid I’m not great at checking comments on this blog and when you sent this, we were about to have our second child and I was about to launch a new book, so in the chaos I missed it. Unfortunately I won’t be traveling anywhere from Cape Town in South Africa any time soon but I sincerely thank you for thinking of me and send you and everyone else involved with the event my best, I hope I do get to attend one day.
Congratulations Mr. Thomas to you and your wife on the birth of your child. I understand that a trip of that nature is not feasible. If you should even have travel plans that bring you this way, please let us know. We would love to have you read at our event. Congratulations again!