Chasing Shadows is a collection of poems that touch on the small, poignant moments of life. Haunting and profound, Brandon’s words tenderly broach themes of life, love, and loss with each poem possessing a story unto itself.
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What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
Just write and write for yourself.
How I began writing? Well, it just sort of happened. I never studied writing or thought to become a writer. While growing up I always enjoyed reading and focused most on reading fantasy. In my teens I began collecting comic books like the X-Men and a few titles from Jademan comics. When I did start to read with some level of seriousness I was drawn to reading philosophy. As a kid though, I read mostly comic books. I began to write at about age twenty-six and up until then, I did not read poetry except what was required for high school English. I never really got into poetry and was more interested in plays by Shakespeare and the Odyssey and Iliad (both read as plays) but I couldn’t really say I studied them in depth. When I decided to read something other than comic books I took to philosophy, reading Goethe (pretty tough at that age), Kierkegaard, Socrates, Plato and Nietzsche (also pretty tough). I enjoyed the peeling back of the layers and finding what was hidden under the surface. I enjoyed finding the truth within me from self examination and the psychological state of “Man” as expressed in philosophy. Philosophy and plays have had a lasting influence on the poems I write. Goethe’s Faust and Shakespeare’s plays have been the most influential. I like the content from philosophy and the cadence of plays. Plays may not always rhyme but they usually have a meter or cadence similar to a song. Music is another pretty strong influence in my writing from artists/bands VnV Nation, Assemblage 23, Cold, Radiohead, Starsailor, and Tool, to name a few.
When I write a poem I do not have a particular form or style in mind. I get an idea for a line and go from there ending when I feel it’s done. The poem sort of takes on a shape of its own and I never know if it will be completed in a few minutes, or (this is pretty rare) if it will take up to a few weeks. I’ve found it really helps to always have some paper and something to write with around no matter where I am or what I’m doing because I never know when a line will pop into my head. I have tried to remember a line for as many as twelve blocks while walking my dog Ringo because I’ve forgotten to bring paper with me. I’ve imagined if the line is good enough I could hold it in my head until I get to a notebook. I’m still working on that one though. Most often the line is gone by the time the walk is over.
I started writing poetry in 2001 to capture and organize my feelings to help me deal with a relationship break up. I have been writing on and off since. I didn’t handle the break up well and of course I was miserable, but if it had not happened I may not be writing now. So, on that level I have to say I have some gratitude for the hard times. One day while sitting around one day thinking it came to me that I felt a need to write poetry. I’m still not sure why it came to me but it did. I thought, “ What do I know about writing poetry?” I had to be honest with myself that I knew nothing about poetry. After a week or two I came to realize that my knowledge or lack of it did not matter. It only mattered that I start writing, not what I wrote or how I wrote just that I wrote. I find poetry is a good fit for me since all through my English courses the teachers always said my sentences were too fragmented. Well, I figure you have to play to your strengths. Fragments work well in poetry so it’s a natural fit. Here’s a short one to give you an idea of my style.
Three Hundred Ninety Eight
The assumption of the presumption of the first thought
The book read before the pages upend
So sure of our perspective
Judge and jury
With no time for deliberations
For fools they be who are not to our thought receptive
Fact and fiction fall before pretext
A self-conscious guise to feeling
Where ego stands
Right and wrong crumble
I moved to the West Seventh area in 2000 form Moline, IL and found an apartment in the 200 block of Goodrich Avenue. I bought my current home in 2007 roughly 300 feet from the apartment. I really enjoy the area here and explore it regularly walking Ringo. Just don’t ask for directions because I’ll probably just get you lost because I still don’t remember many street names. I work as a heavy equipment operator at a bulk commodities and grain elevator in Saint Paul operating a shovel mostly.
My poems are pretty personal so I felt I had really put myself out there when I published my first book. Mary Hogan Bard and Deborah McWatters Padgett prodded me to do some public reading at Claddagh Coffee. I’m beginning to get used to the vulnerability of sharing my words and now I’ve done three public readings.
After this book I’m looking forward to a second book(in the works), more readings, and, well, just learning what life offers and accepting it with a smile.
“Thanks to Deborah McWatters Padgett, author of SOLVING LONELY, THE SEA IN WINTER & A STORY LIKE TRUTH for editorial & content assistance in writing this profile. Find out about her work at www.padgettstudios.com)
And Thanks to Blake Hoena, owner Flat Sole Studios, Mary Hogan Bard,owner Claddagh Coffee and to everyone else for your support and advice.
Chasing Shadows is my first book. It consists of one hundred poems written between 2001 and 2012 and is available through my website, www.brandonflesher.com or through Flat Sole Studios.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A form of self therapy.
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