Therapy in the form of Poetry | Local Features

AUTHOR Joel W Frederick is on a personal mission to get more men into the habit of expressing their emotions. The 48-year-old has always used writing as an outlet to vent his feelings from him. He has written four poetry books, If Love Was a Word, Caffeinated Whispers, 70 Per Cent Guilty Decadence and Butterfly on a Purple Moon. Two of his books by him are currently available at RIK Bookstores nationwide and Scribbles and Quills. His books by him are a mixture of his own personal experiences and fiction.

“Simply put, poetry is a unique art form in which the author expresses his thoughts in his own way. It is also a form of storytelling which has the power to evoke emotions of encouragement, sadness, love, loss, triumph and even hope. I don’t really consider myself a poet per se, but a scaled down version of a “griot” to some degree. The difference is that I use the paper as my compelling voice to educate, entertain or to spark the reader’s mind in some way,” he said.

The writer and artist found inspiration in his mother and late stepfather who encouraged his love for art and the written word. Frederick began writing in his preteens; he penned songs before directing his attention to poetry and even wrote poems for his colleagues’ love interests. Frederick writes literally every day. Up until a few years ago, he had amassed a collection of poetry and was persuaded by his wife to have them published. The last two years gave him the opportunity to finally edit and publish his work.

It was a small victory for Frederick who views writing as a form of creativity and therapy.

“Men don’t usually like to talk about their feelings but for me writing is the avenue I choose to express myself. Writing gives me a release through self-expression,” he said.

Frederick wants men to understand that it is okay to be transparent or vulnerable.

“Here in T&T there is a stigma around men who get in touch with their emotional side. Often as little boys, if we cried we were told to toughen up and so the child grows up with all these emotions bottled up, the danger is that one day he can explode. I want men to understand that expressing themselves and their emotions doesn’t make them less of a man. In fact it makes you more of a man,” he said.

Frederick has been writing for as long as he has known himself and it’s a tool he recommends to others. “Writing has worked for me so far and I know it will help others. Like everyone else I go through stressful situations, my job is stressful, I have personal challenges but writing helps me to stay sane. When I go into my writing mode I’m able to find some peace. As long as my pen and paper are willing to listen then I can talk for as long as I want to,” he said.

Despite his busy work schedule, Frederick still finds time to write. His first short novel by him is currently being edited and his first children’s book by him is in the illustrating phase.

“If my work just touches even one person, then it would not be in vain. For me, this is poetry at its essence, the ability to connect to people emotionally, at specific levels of their consciousness,” said Frederick.

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