Creative production requires a colorful soul, the one which is frequently beset by demons. The more we are exposed to maelstrom, the more eager to work creatively we become. The kind of work bringing pieces which move not only people’s hearts, but also their imagination. Why does it really happen? For one simple reason, and its source is the inspiration based on true experiences and emotions whose receivers may not only relate to, but also compere them with particular aspects of their own lives.
I’ve always been fascinated by poets who have mastered the skill of putting their feelings down on paper to unbelievable perfection, which is frequently beyond my comprehension. The contemporary times are based not only on a written word. We are more likely to be moved by what we can see and what we can hear, since it makes it easier for us to assess how a given artist may move various strings of our deeply hidden sensitivity.
Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to – Annalisa Jackson – also known as the Beanie Bard, a talented poet and an aspiring children’s book writer, as well as a passionate photographer, who will let you in to her magical world now.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Annalisa: Oh this is the bit I am never good at. So I’m 36 and 47 months old with another birthday looking. My main job is dragging up the two small humans I created and attempting to keep them, a large hairy man child and some pets alive. So far I have a fairly high success rate but I wouldn’t advise asking me to water your plants. I used to be an A and E nurse but am now a reformed character and trying to make a living running my own writing and photography business. In the odd few seconds I get for spare time I enjoy photography and am a massive geek.
Passion Piece: You are a passionate poet and the author of children’s books. How did you start your adventure with writing and poetry as such?
Annalisa: I started from a young age, I can certainly remember writing bad angsty teenage poetry. Thankfully I matured (though not in my family’s eyes as apparently I am a large child). I never really persevered with writing anything but poetry until my eldest daughter was about 2 or 3 and I write a story where she was the main character. After that I developed another idea about using a rainbow as a metaphor to explain big feelings as well as a way to understand bipolar to help small children after I was diagnosed. Without my children I probably never would have gotten into writing for small people. I’ve published one so far. I have others in the pipeline but just need to finish and submit them.
Passion Piece: You gave up writing for a long time. Why did you decide to come back to it after so many years?
Annalisa: Writing is a form of recovery for me. I hit a very bad time prior to being diagnosed and in the darkness it can be very hard to find creativity sometimes. But my psych team encouraged me to try and put my feelings down and between that and picking up my camera again I was able to find a way out. Now I know things are bad if the urge to write goes. That’s when I actually need to do it the most.
Passion Piece: Being diagnosed with mental health problems must have been quite a difficult experience. You’ve had some suicidal attempts and self-harm episodes. Was writing a good therapy for you? What else did you do to feel better and come back to your passions for good?
Annalisa: Yes I’ve had a hard time. I’ve had two major suicide attempts as well as overdoses and self harm. I can be quite self destructive when I am ill. Writing helps me channel that anger and darkness outwards instead of in towards myself. My camera also helps, it reconnects me to the world around me and being alone with my camera gives me quite a measure of peace from the sensory overload of society and the every day. Ive been known to paint as well though I am no artist, its all quite abstract stuff. I have a dog now as well and having him to look after as well as my kids makes me get out of bed.
Passion Piece: You’re widely known as the Beanie Bard. Did you think that you’ll do so well in your first slam poetry competition?
Annalisa: Honestly no I thought I would bomb. I had only started spoken word in the April and attended two mic nights before competing in the May. I was quite surprised at myself to get to the semi finals. I was a complete wreck before I performed. I’m OK at mic nights now but I’m still a mess before I go to the mic to compete.
Passion Piece: How did you manage to overcome your social anxiety during your mic nights? What advice would you give to everyone who struggles with similar problems?
Annalisa: The 1st time I performed I took my glasses off. It helped me see the audience less so I wasn’t so aware of people looking at me. I’m not sure where the beanie came from but for some reason it settled me to put it on. I think it was for the same reason I wear funny T-shirts. It gives me a shield to hide behind, something else for people to focus on that isn’t me, a uniform of sorts in the same way I felt less anxious around people when in my nurse uniform. I put on a persona of another person and kind of hide behind it a bit I guess. I’ve got quite a selection of funny T-shirts, beanies and high-tops now I wear as my uniform. I also freehand the mic instead of using a stand which is unusual but it allows me to pace as I’m an awful fidget. I don’t really know what I would tell someone else. I guess find a way to lessen the impact of the eyes on you and instead focus on your words reaching through to them.. You want to do what makes you able to connect with the audience emotionally but not see them as eyes staring at you, connect with your words not as a person standing in front of them. That’s probably a whole lot of gobbledegook but the only way I can explain it.
Passion Piece: Where do you find your inspirations for the poetry you create?
Annalisa: Mostly I am untangling my brain. My business tagline is ‘Words and photos inspired by life’ which really sums my poetry up, I write about mental health, love, family, the general ridiculousness of life around us.
Passion Piece: What do you love doing in your free time? Is there anything new you’d like to take up?
Annalisa: Free time??? Kidding, I am busy a lot with the kids being schooled at home and trying to keep track of starting a business but I do enjoy watching box sets, I’ve worked my way through Vikings and all the marvel films and am currently bingeing Arrow and Flash at the same time as Flash is me and youngest my daughter’s shared time. I’m also quite a geek and play Pokemon Go.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in the nearest future? Which dreams would you like to come true?
Annalisa: I have a bit of a hero complex and feel like I’m failing if I’m not doing good, making a difference in the world and to people. My nursing career was important to me as it allowed me to do that. Now I’d love my words to get out there in the world and touch people. Most importantly to me is that I’d also like to bring my kids up to be good people who are happy and independent. For myself I’d love to feel I can deal with life and being alive better than I do and have done.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Annalisa: “To achieve immortality you must first live a life worth remembering” – Bruce Lee
“Until then I don’t want to worry if I’m good enough
I just want to be good
I just want to be enough
And I will work on them until I’m imperfect at them” – The Beanie Bard
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I wish you all the best, as well as next remarkable works in store!
No one is deprived of problems, but everyone needs to deal with them on one’s own. Everyone should find a way to lead a happy and fulfilled life. The one filled with the laughter of our close ones and passion, which is a great trigger to work harder to reach for what seems to be totally unavailable for us at first. I hope that Annalisa has inspired you to stand up for yourself at all times and never give up. It’s totally worth winning your own life!
See you around!
Photos by: Annalisa Jackson