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Jen Drews Interview

“I never thought that I would be a writer, and in fact I used to struggle with not knowing my life purpose a lot.”

For Jen, there was a certain amount of uncertainty pertaining to a career once she graduated from university.

“I didn’t know what I was doing, there were a lot of things that I liked but nothing really stood out to me.”

It wasn’t until Jen took a trip to the Dominican Republic where she received the clarity she was hoping for, but not in the way she wished. Near the end of her trip she realized that she was completely broke and somehow needed to finish her degree, pay for the cost of living in Canada and essentially survive.

Jen Drews poetry interview for Merrymen Magazine

She began looking for ways to make money online and after a short-lived attempt at teaching English, she began looking for travel writing opportunities. She found a contract job that needed someone to create a guide book about the Dominican Republic. Even though at the time she had very little writing experience, she was awarded the contract and for her first month back in Canada she did nothing but research and write.

As her skills developed she received more contracts for various articles. She was busy travelling and with that undergoing a lot of self-discovery, until a series of traumatic incidences drastically changed her perspective and sent her into a depression.

“Poetry was not a genre I had ever paid attention to, but it was something I was drawn to in my state of brokenness. I began writing my own poetry as I went through the stages of healing and that is essentially what the poetry book is based off of – my journey healing.”

What Has your experience taught you?

There are two very important things that I have learned thus far, the first is that vulnerability is not weakness but it is strength, and the second is that your relationships are the most important things in your life. Never be afraid to be authentic and genuine, and never be afraid to reach out to a friend when you are not okay and more importantly when you think they need someone to talk too.

What is the importance of expression with poetry?

The expression of poetry has a lot of significance behind the specific words chosen to describe a situation or emotion. Poetry gave me more creative freedom to form words into emotional reflections and express myself properly.

What message do you wish to convey with your work?

Through my work I want to encourage people to heal but I also want to represent the voices of those who have been through pain to provide empathy towards their stories.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I used to write for necessity now I write as a cathartic experience and to encourage others. A lot of my inspiration comes from people around me and through everyone’s different view points. I choose what to write based off of what is most fascinating to me. I have always loved psychology and understanding emotions so this is generally what I am drawn to even though I write about a variety of things.

Jen Drews interview for Merrymen Magazine

The aroma of coffee floats through the air as she sits in the corner of the café, surrounding her are pages of scribbled notes and drawings, the visual explosions of her thoughts. Her story was something she desperately wanted to give life through words, but instead each time she lifted her pen to her notebook, her pen wrote emptiness.

There were so many things she could focus on: healing, trauma, acceptance, happiness, but how should the story be told? It was precious and delicate, it wasn’t just a story of overcoming an overwhelming event, it was her story. After pausing to take a long breathe, she picked up her pen one last time and decided to write exactly how she felt:

My story began in a small car, on a long country road, peacefully sitting under the stars that were illuminating the night sky. I was filled with an adventurous courage, that I carried with me as I craved both daring and tender experiences. He was there with me, holding my hand softly while stroking my hair, then pinning me down. It was in that little car, when, in an instant my care free attitude dissolved, and in its place a numbness began to grow.

Afterwards, I really didn’t understand what had happened, something had changed but all I could focus on was the warm water trickling down from the shower above me. And for a very long time I did not want to talk about that night, each time it crossed my mind I was paralyzed by anxiety and my memory responded by erasing fragments of that night from my mind.

Jen Drews interview for Merrymen Magazine

Yet, my story is not a story of sadness, it’s a story of overcoming trauma and pouring my heart out into my words. There was a breaking point of when I could not contain my pain anymore, the impacts of that night were affecting my life and personality in the most unexpected ways.

Although I was at one point very broken, my support system of my friends and family did not allow me to feel alone. They made me realize that my purpose in life was not to be defeated and empty, but instead it was to heal from my experiences and use that familiarity with pain to help others.

Poetry became the way I expressed myself and as I healed each collection of my writings began to represent a stage of overcoming trauma. Soon, each collection became a chapter and finally a book developed called ‘These (Transitional) Words’ that represented the transitional stages I went through. The entire novel was written as a cathartic experience, but after releasing it I realized other people were connecting with the content. This made the whole journey worth it, that other people were benefiting from how I healed.

These are my words,
a reflection of my heart.
Begging you to heal too.
– These (Transitional) Words

Even though there is no magical button to press that makes the impacts of a terrible event go away, there are ways to cope with that hardship. One of the most important things is to not close yourself off from your emotions or people, find your support, and discover a healthy outlet that helps you release how you are feeling. The only thing I can really say is that you are not alone in how you feel and even though it feels unfearingly difficult you will continue to grow and develop into the beautiful unique soul that you are.

For Jen, there was a certain amount of uncertainty pertaining to a career once she graduated from university.

“I didn’t know what I was doing, there were a lot of things that I liked but nothing really stood out to me.”

It wasn’t until Jen took a trip to the Dominican Republic where she received the clarity she was hoping for, but not in the way she wished. Near the end of her trip she realized that she was completely broke and somehow needed to finish her degree, pay for the cost of living in Canada and essentially survive.

Arts & Culture | Vol.3

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