For me, fiction holds the strongest therapeutic benefit. The act of entering the mind of another — feeling their emotions and sensations, experiencing what they endure, and how they come out on the other side changed — is like living another life. It offers me an escape from my haunted past.
Not only that, but it offers a feeling of catharsis, a hope that I might one day find myself with my past behind me without the constant fear. It lets me see life in a different light, lets me live vicariously through them.
Many people read to achieve the same therapeutic benefit. That is why I share all my writing — including my books — for free. I don’t want cost to become a factor in preventing someone from experiencing it.
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Poetry has always been a part of who I am. Though the therapeutic benefits are on a much smaller scale than that of fiction, it has helped me develop my craft in ways that fiction never could.
I see poetry as piling up as much emotion as possible into as few words as possible. Fiction is the same thing, but on a much larger scale. It’s helped me see beyond the excess and trim it away to the base parts, bringing out the best of my words and making them shine.
Since I began sharing my writing, my poetry has reached millions of people, and some of those people are avid poetry readers, rather than fiction aficionados. So I wanted to give them something of myself for the same reasons that I share my fiction — a therapeutic reprieve from life. I’ve also been honored to be a part of some amazing anthologies and collaborations, book cover creation, editing, and other actions to bring books to life.