Poetry

Observation Of The Moment: Analyzing Moments In Everyday Life Into Poetry

By

This book will launch on Sep 4, 2020. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒

Not for me 😔

Owen Bryan Jr. writes about relatable experiences but lacks creativity and style.

Synopsis

A collection of thought-provoking, inspirational poetry taking readers on a lyrical journey about the importance of finding validation of oneself from within and not through others.


In this collection, Owen Bryan Jr. seeks to motivate and uplift his reader through poems inspired by personal struggles, life’s lessons and words he has read or heard. 


Bryan Jr’s experience is a relatable one and his poems often address the reader to remind us the speaker’s words are for us too. He sets out to remind his reader they are not alone.


In the opening acknowledgements, Owen Bryan Jr. states that in the past, it has been said his poetry has the quality of words delivered by a motivational speaker. Although Bryan Jr’s desire to motivate is undeniable, it meant the ‘poems’ felt constructed as talking points, opinion pieces and soundbites. For me, very few of the pieces felt or read like poetry; this is not because I hold poetry on a pedestal to be formulaic and rhythmic, but I do expect fluidity, variety and originality. Many of the pieces merged into one by the end. The message of motivation became repetitive as the writing lacked creativity and style.


I also felt the term ‘motivational speaker’ soon transformed into ‘preacher’. Bryan Jr’s wish to explain how many of the pieces should be interpreted removed agency from the reader. Moreover, the archaic use of you and your (thy, thou and thee) felt superfluous. Or, Bryan Jr. was attempting to capture a biblical weight in his words which felt incredibly misplaced.


Thus, although Bryan Jr’s intentions are wholesome and hold the reader as integral, the execution was lacking the originality and space required for a reader to feel truly inspired. When reading Observation of the Moment I felt spoken at rather than spoken with.

Reviewed by

I am an English teacher and a writer. I published my first poetry collection, Between the Trees, in May 2019. I read widely and avidly and review through Reedsy Discovery, Amazon Vine and individual review requests. All reviews are published on Amazon, Goodreads and my blog - My Screaming Twenties.

Synopsis

A collection of thought-provoking, inspirational poetry taking readers on a lyrical journey about the importance of finding validation of oneself from within and not through others.

INTRODUCTION


During the summer semester of 2016, I was in the last semester at the University of Central Florida (UCF). I just had to pass my classes this semester and I would receive my bachelor’s in civil engineering.  Life was pretty good and things seemed to be going as planned. I had been in an internship position at a prominent company for a number of months and I was sure I would receive an offer when I graduated. This is a common goal for many—to get a good job after you graduate.

I was passing my classes. I hadn’t had to repeat a course since 2013. (Yeah, getting an engineering degree is no joke! I took a course called Statics three times.) My social life at UCF was vibrant. What could go wrong?

Unexpectedly, I was fired from my internship. Then I started to worry about getting a job after graduating. I was taking a course called Geotechnical II and I had the lowest grade in class after the first exam. In that class, there were only two exams, and that was your grade—nothing else. So after failing the first one as badly as I did, the likelihood of passing the course was very slim.

I was set to be one of the first in my family to graduate from a university. My parents came to the United States from Jamaica, from humble beginnings, and I didn’t want to let them down. But there are times when you wonder if there will be a light at the end of the college tunnel, in terms of graduating.

A lot of weight bowed my shoulders and I was at one of my worst lows in my life. At this point, I decided to visit UCF’s CAPS offices (Counseling And Psychological Services) for the first time. Mental health assistance is provided at UCF, but it had never crossed my mind to visit those offices since I started college in 2010. My student loans are paying for it, I thought, so best to take advantage of it while I’m enrolled. Why not?

I understand the confidentiality between a client and a therapist, so I will summarize the appointments. I had approximately five or seven sessions with a UCF therapist, and I can say that to this day, I am thankful that I did. Those sessions were insightful, helping me to learn more about me. The sessions were also beneficial in keeping my mental health stable while I focused on my schooling. I eventually was able to pass Geotechnical II and graduate in August 2016. 

I bring this story up because of the last appointment I had with my therapist. I haven’t told this to anybody, but I think it suits here. At the end of the session, my therapist expressed with great enthusiasm how much she enjoyed having me as a client. Then she opened her purse and took out a gift. Down to this day, it is unarguably the most meaningful gift I have ever received: her pendant of Saint Stephen. She had received the pendant as a gift and always had it with her for good luck. She passed this pendant off to me. Then she told me something that I will never forget: “Owen, you are the most inspirational person I have ever met in my life.”  

Mind you, I am giving away her age here. This lady was in her early 50s, so she’d been around quite a while. And the fact that I—who was only twenty-four years old at the time—left such a resounding impact on her life in about five to seven sessions was amazing.

At first, I was speechless. Thankful, yes, but I didn’t know what to say. I look back on that story and think about how I can continue inspiring and impacting people’s lives. I look at this book, Observation of the Moment, as a therapeutic session, because writing is an outlet for me. I was able to inspire and affect my therapist with my life experiences and influences during those few appointments. Now I am sharing my experiences, influences, philosophy, and commentary in this book with you.


The How And Why Of Observation Of The Moment

Well, for starters, the title is a double entendre. For those not familiar with a double entendre, it is a phrase that has two meanings.

The first meaning of Observation of the Moment is that the majority of my poems were written from memories of the past, either years before or as close as the day of an event. I reflected on memories or moments in life and analyzed how and why I became anxious, why my thoughts raced, or why my mood swung suddenly. I wrote about them in poetry.

The second meaning of the title refers to how I composed my poems in moments of remembrance—in a way, capturing my thoughts on paper during these reflections.

This book was composed organically, meaning I never planned on writing it. The combination of the enjoyment I experienced while writing poetry as an outlet to my everyday life, and the overwhelming positive feedback I received from friends, co-workers, family, and strangers I didn’t even know, led to my focusing on issues that I could express through poetry. After I had written and compiled a number of poems, the possibility of a book emerged. As I wrote more poetry, I began learning more about myself and discovered the reasons why I felt a certain way in situations. I only noticed this after a phone conversation with my father.

It was the Thursday prior to Labor Day 2019 and I had just parked my car at LA Fitness when Dad called. I answered, and the conversation started off like any typical talk:

“What’s up?”

“Nothing. How are you doing?”

Dad mentioned that my little sister, who at the time was on a Navy ship in the Middle East, had been calling and emailing him about life on the ship. She said her social life was a downer and she was having difficulties fitting in. It was affecting her morale, and my dad was really concerned. He didn’t know what to do, so he told me.

I shared with Dad some nuggets of advice that seemed to apply to the situation that my sister was going through. Dad took notes on my advice so he could pass it along to my sister. My father was worried when I began, but as the conversation unfolded he began to take in what I was telling him. The next conversation we had was the Sunday before Labor Day. Dad said after that last phone call, he thought, I don’t think I was talking to my son.

He told me, “You sound like you can speak in front of group of people, like a motivational speaker.”

I told Dad that through my poetry writing, I was beginning to understand how events in my life were affecting me. I told him I was sure I could help others in similar situations.

Now, I am not a licensed therapist, nor have I taken any psychology courses. And I am definitely not a miracle worker. But I have gained knowledge from working through my self-improvement and depressive states, and I believe I can help others experiencing similar circumstances.

My email contact is info@owenbryanjr.com. I welcome any comments, feedback, questions, or concerns you may have after reading my book.


POEMS

–Reborn–

God fearing, Higher Power bending

Walking, locked in, step by step

Entering the valley of the shadows of death

In this journey, I find myself

Stumbling into the crevices of hopelessness

My mind jaded; drifting into an abyss of misery

I ponder on the brevity of life

I look up… And I speak to God,

“Looking at life, it seems all I know is losing

Will I be able to win one time?

The feeling of winning seems foreign to me”

I hear no answer…

But I continue pushing onward

I keep persevering

Seeing no end in sight

I begin to dig… And I keep digging… And digging… And digging

Until I get to this point

I begin to rise

From this soulless pit I dug

A new life, a new me

Coming through the dirt, emerging from once been

Defeating this specific battle of mental illness

Guys, I have become REBORN


Afterword

The line “Defeating this specific battle of mental illness” refers to a specific form of mental illness, clinical depression. It describes defeating a depressive episode. The song “Reborn” by Kids See Ghosts, comprised of artists Kanye West and Kid Cudi was an inspiration for this poem.


Lines of Inspiration (References)

God fearing, Higher Power bending

Walking, locked in, step by step

Entering the valley of the shadows of death”

These lines were influenced by the song “So Many Tears” by hip-hop artist Tupac. It is one of the deepest hip-hop songs I’ve ever listened to. The first two lines of the track were stuck in my head, and then more lines popped up. I decided to write them down, and that’s how I wrote my first poem “Reborn,” which is about overcoming clinical depression.



–The Fear Of Failure–

My mind is racing, my thoughts are chasing

Distanced

But somehow seems close by

Memories that I reflect

That can leave me in distress

Tossing and turning at night

Coping about; what’s next?

Or what could have been?

Thoughts that are based in fear

Of what the future has in store for me

Second-guessing, triple-guessing

Only got me reminiscing

Of how the scenarios could have potentially been

But it’s when I stop thinking about the outcome

It’s reacting to that gut feeling

Following your instincts

And facing up to these challenges in life

Can be a powerful motivation

To becoming the change you want to be

And becoming more in tune with the infinite

Can be key to overcoming

The fear of failure


Lines of Inspiration (References)

 “Thoughts that are based in fear

Of what the future has in store for me

Second-guessing, triple-guessing

Only got me reminiscing

Of how the scenarios could have potentially been”

I know this describes me, and possibly you as well. We second-guess potential decisions we may be about to make, or have already made.

Discussion

Anxiety also affects me under these conditions. To get past the anxiety, I had to become more self-assured in the decisions I made, and learn to live with them. I’m a work in progress, as we all are, but going out there—living life, making things happen on your own—can make you really appreciate the results of your decision-making, good or bad.

In overcoming one of my biggest fears, the fear of public speaking, I am thankful for my experiences in Toastmasters International. Brian Butler, president of JCB Construction, Inc., always pushed me to join the organization. He was right. This decision changed my whole life. I found my voice. I started writing poetry and I created an opener for when I was the position of toastmaster for the first time. Below is a snippet:

There’s this quote from a famous athlete whom you may be familiar with: Michael Jordan. Jordan states, “Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” Since I started my time in Toastmasters, this club continues to show me that my fear of public speaking is only just an illusion.




–Reaching Your Destination–

Kick back, relax, and close your eyes

I want you to imagine

All the different fantasies, floating through your mind

Many of the places you want to go

Or revisit

Activities or endeavors you wish to accomplish

Or parlay in

Making the kind of money that you want

With the job you love

DREAMS

Your dreams do not have an expiration date

These are dreams that, in the back of your mind

Are your destinations

And it’s going to take your discipline, fused with infinite patience,

To reach your destinations


Lines of Inspiration (References)

“These are dreams that, in the back of your mind

Are your destinations

And it’s going to take your discipline, fused with Infinite Patience

To reach your destinations”

Here is the concept of your dreams being your destination, and it’s going to take discipline, with patience, to reach your destination. This exemplifies delayed gratification.

I was at a Toastmaster International speech area contest and one of the contestants made this point in a segment called Table Topics. (Table Topics is a great exercise to improve your improvisational speaking skills.)

“Your dreams do not have an expiration date”

During my time in a private mentorship group, called Leadership Team Development (LTD), I attended a summit conference in Greensboro, North Carolina, around September 2019. At the conference, there was an assortment of different public speakers, from Dave Martin, a Christian motivational speaker and life coach, to individuals who had lived a fulfilling life of serving others since joining the mentorship group. As they expressed their experiences in the organization, one speaker stated the quote above: “Your dreams do not have an expiration date.” It stuck with me, and I later created this poem around the idea.

One of the biggest killers to pursuing a dream is a lack of support, or having no support at all. The environment you are in and the people you surround yourself with can be a catalyst for unleashing the potential you may not have known was within you. Do not let anything stop you from chasing your dreams.


About the author

Owen Bryan Jr, a Jamaican-American poet, motivational speaker incorporates influences from influential authors and podcasters to take you through a lyrical journey on the importance of finding validation of self from within and not from others in his latest piece the "Observation of the Moment". view profile

Published on February 19, 2020

10000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Poetry

Reviewed by

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