My first book “In the Library” has been out on the market now for a little over a month now, but did you know that before it was a book, “In the Library” was the name of a single poem that I wrote? If you read the introduction to the book, then you know this little tidbit, but if you did not it’s an interesting little revelation. Consider this blog post the first post in a little series about the behind the scenes of my writing process (a view probably only slightly more scary than the writing itself). Maybe if we’re lucky, things like this will make it to the DVD extras when the movie comes out. Hey, let a guy dream.
Anyways, gather around the proverbial campfire and I’ll give you a little insight into the origins of “In the Library.” You see, like I’ve said, this story wasn’t always a full length book, it was a mere handful of stanzas. According to my accurate and OCD-ridden records, this poem was originally forged early on in 2014. This may seem like a good ways before the release of the final product of course, but remember, books aren’t written overnight, so it was really wasn’t that long before production began. Sometimes I take my time and really work a poem over before “finalizing” it, but this one was a little bit different; it was written in feverish pace in one sitting. Coincidentally, it was written in an actual library, the USFSP to be exact.
I’d like to share this original poem with you all today:
I stand here lost in question
Nameless books in labeled halls
Countless line this corrupted building
A cry resounds from somewhere
It must be from one of these tomes
After all, one must have my cure
Frenzied by fear and desire
Compromising mental barriers
Running across these shelves
Before I collapse into madness
It has to be among them
These dusty and pristine rogues
Holding the answer that I seek
A weapon to murder a nightmare
And restore idealistic beauty
Heartbeats sync with furious hands
On spines tapped as I pass
And the laughter of phantasms
Trapped within my mind
Desperate for the peace
That comes with luminous love
I follow the echoes here
A title worn, binding stained
Gaped open to reveal
Most pages have been expelled
So only void ones now remain
I shall take this enigma, embrace it
And we’ll write the ending ourselves
I’m sure you can see it right away how this piece evolved into the tragic tale of Neil and his journey through the Library. If you can see past the appalling lack of punctucation, although this does show a different style in my evolution as a poet, you’ll find that thematically, the poem is like a brief summary of the whole book. The speaker, who very well could be Neil, also seeks an answer to a very troubling, yet unknown, question. The different of course is the in the ending, which is different than the present-day “In the Library.” I can’t say much more than that of course without spoilers, *wink*.
So there you have it, the egg from which a legend was born. It probably wouldn’t shock you to find that this poem came from a time in my life when I too was searched for an answer to a panicked question. After all, we write transcribe what we know and draw inspirations from our experiences on the regular. What was I searching an answer for? Well, I can’t give away all of my secrets, now can I? It’s not revelant anyways, as you well know that poetry is about what you get out of it, so I hope this poem, like the finalized incarnation of “In the Library,” speaks to you. And I hope that this gives you a tiny look into the origins of my book and inspires you, as I expanded it, to indulge your mind in a book born from the madness (as we say here).
Thank you for checking out this brief behind the scenes look behind the poet James W. A. Stay tuned for others in this new blog series and other insightful posts. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page and toggle on out to the Purchase Books page above to see where you can find “In the Library” in its modern fullest form. Until then, stay cool, stay sane, and all that fun little conclusory stuff.