I was honoured to write this poem to announce the discovery of The Okavango Blue, the largest and rarest blue diamond ever discovered.
I’m back from my three week whirlwind tour of the United States. I have spent too long running through airports, desperately trying to make connecting flights over the last few days but I won’t say that I didn’t enjoy it. There’s something incredible about meeting the actual-real-life-in-the-flesh people who read my work, who ask for photos and hugs and a conversation, that still blows me away, and I hope it always does. Several people, perhaps wiser than me, have mentioned they don’t see the point in touring anymore as a) people don’t come out because apparently people just don’t go outside anymore, and b) it doesn’t really sell a lot of books – the people who come to your reading were going to buy the book anyway, so why bother? I think it’s still worth it because I sometimes forget who I’m writing for, and meeting you in the flesh, and hearing you say what you say, reminds me that what I do is worth doing.
In saying that, I am always amazed at the kind of people who come to my readings. There are a lot of people who are therapists, or social workers, or teachers, or nurses – just people who help, people who can feel what other people feel and I always say the same thing to these people – YOU are doing the important work. I just wrote a book.
Other times, people will come up to the table and tell me about a particular tough time one of my books helped them through and I say almost the same thing – YOU did the hard work. I just wrote a book. I’m glad my book was there, but you are the one who had to pick yourself up off the floor, and do the work of being you.
And I will never stop respecting you for that.
You are incredible.
My absolute best,
I have no idea if this is going to work or not but we’re busy creating the audio book version of Every Word You Cannot Say – I’d like you to be in it. I just need you to record the words, “Here. Here. Here.” on your phone (in a quiet place) and send the audio to email@example.com
P.S. The deadline is Tuesday 5 February 2019, and it’s obligatory that I say: you’re granting me permission to use the audio recording by sending it to me.
I hope we get to do this and I hope I hear from you soon,
Iain S. Thomas
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.
If you read it, let me know what you think. I hope you’re well and I send you my best.
– Iain S. Thomas
We have some incredibly exciting news.
The I Wrote This For You books are now being published by Andrews McMeel, the same publisher as Rupi Kaur, Lang Leav, Amanda Lovelace and many, many more incredible poets. This means that I Wrote This For You, I Wrote This For You And Only You, I Wrote This For You: Just The Words and I Wrote This For You: 2007 – 2017 will all be available in more places across the globe. I have it on good authority that even here, on the tip of Africa where I live, stores have already ordered in excess of 2000 copies. That means that whether you’re in the Philippines, or England, or anywhere else, it should soon be easier than ever to find these books, for yourself or for a friend. I’d like to thank Kirsty, Allison, Holly and everyone else at Andrews McMeel for their hard work in putting this all together. You should also keep in mind that if you do manage to find an I Wrote This For You book with Central Avenue down the side, that’s about to become a collector’s item. Michelle and the team there helped us get to where we are today and I am forever thankful for her hard work and dedication.
I can’t wait for you to see the new books, thank you for reading and for being you,
I’ve recently started an account on Tinyletter – so now you can sign up and get everything new I create, when I create it and unlike on facebook, twitter or instagram, you’ll be guaranteed to see it.
Click here to get on board, I’ll be showcasing some stuff from new books, stuff that never made it into my books, and everything that doesn’t fit anywhere else on the world wide web.
First I faced the giant
that keeps me in bed
and even though I spent the night
fighting to get to sleep
I fought him too
and I won.
Then I faced the feeling
that no matter what I wore
I wouldn’t like who I saw in the mirror
but I fought that feeling too
and I won.
Then I wrapped my fists up
because no matter where I go
I’ll feel like I don’t belong there
So I had to fight that too.
but I did and I won.
So when I get here
to the front of the line
and I can see you think
I looked tired
I need you to understand:
You do not know what I faced
before I faced you this morning.
And whatever happens after you,
I’ll beat that too.
Because I fight every single day.
And every single day, I have to win.