Behind The Scenes

  • Erasmus Cromwell-Smith The story behind the creation of the first volume of The Equilibrist series
  • Erasmus Cromwell-Smith The story behind the creation of the second and third volumes of The Equilibrist series

Sometimes timely gifts come in minute packages. I sincerely hope this is the case with The Equilibrist series. In particular, I feel compelled to share the story about how the first volume was created, as it portrays the many shades of the human condition. The art behind this book’s crafting goes beyond anecdotical tribulations, circumstances, or the environment; these three are another worthy tale yet to be told. But the where, what, and who is not what shaped these writings.

This magical scribble became art because of how it ensued as if guided by absolutely nothing rational but just my core raw essence, unfiltered even exposed. The Equilibrist is very intimate to me because, unintentionally, I was able to express myself through written words in ways that I always dreamed about. It is the book I always wanted to write, the checkmark on my bucket list “write a meaningful book.” Irrespective of its subsequent resonance or not, the journey to create it was a once in a lifetime experience. Its completion was a moment of great personal satisfaction as I realized that feelings, dreams, wisdom, all, literally fused with words becoming pure and simply Art.

It all began with little poems, short essays that I would visualize in my head, sometimes a word here or there, some others a short phrase or even the entire idea. There was no pattern or deliberate effort. Neither could I clearly discern the stimuli that provoked them. It was just myself reacting to Life as it was happening right in front of me through magnifying glasses filtered by my beliefs and wisdom—these inspirational writings accumulated over a three-year period into a pile. As I frequently revisited it, I realized that somehow, I was drawing a full life cycle, describing life subjects and addressing themes that reflected how I felt and intensely perceived Life’s journey.

More and more, I could visualize the difference between the stack and other forms of writing. During the same period, as an aspiring author, I wrote numerous novels where plots and characters were created for entertainment purposes only. I wrote them all in total control of the scripts as I tweaked, changed, and polished the storylines, making fiction fit better into reality. This was a seemingly endless mechanical process that I called perfection by attrition. Towards this end, I created better and better book products, neatly packaged, and ready for consumption. the stacks of poems was different. I had no control over it. It just continued to grow steadily through a series of inspirational moments. Night after night, it kept staring at myself as I tried to figure out where this particular creative process was going?

Then one good day, I knew it was done. Don’t ask me how. I just knew. Hence, the natural question was, “What is this?”, “is it just a collection of poems and short essays?” I asked myself, “the pictures in exhibition syndrome” I answered, “as we seldom get to know what the artist was feeling or thinking. We usually get only the pictures hanging on a wall, while we are left to speculate about it. How much better it would feel if the artist’s views on their art could be present; it would result in a fantastic guiding light that will enrichen the art experience immensely, regardless of whether we would agree with the artist or not.”

With these two building blocks, the stack of poems, and the determination not to present another “pictures in exhibition” poems and essays book, I asked myself what I wanted to do about them? The answer was, “I don’t know. I don’t have a clue.” A couple of months went by, then unexpectedly, one memorable day, literally driven by the hand of God, I simply started to reminiscence back in time, revisiting all those people and places that, since I was a young child, have been magical to me. That’s when the dam broke, and I started to write my narrative in earnest.

From the beginning, in no particular order, the story weaved itself perfectly through the stack. One by one, the poems and essays fit as if they were predestined. At every instance, it was surreal and emotional. Each one dropped into place as if it had always been there, awaiting them. In the end, as opposed to pure fiction, the story was an entire compilation made up of me, including the symbols, little things, and journey companions I’d encountered in Life. It all happened subconsciously and in the form of art. None of it was overly obvious, not even factually the same, but as a series of brief and significant moments that had profound meaning and purpose in my own Life. So much for a little book of just a few pages. I hope you all enjoy The Equilibrist series as much as I did when creating it and as I have continued to do so.

Finally, every word of The Equilibrist series was created with my family as my north star. I continuously gazed at it for inspiration and light. I know they will easily see through the art and will rejoice the journey through The Equilibrist as they will do it while walking alongside me as their guide and companion.

Erasmus Cromwell-Smith II.

While writing The Equilibrist series, my intent has been to craft artful verses that are straight forward, and easy to understand. The emphasis has been on the message, not getting the reader lost in the traditional intricacies, metrics even incomprehensible abstractions of conventional poetry.

Through art that speaks to all, I seek to elicit emotions while provoking reflection. Verses that jump with ease out of the pages of a book, enrapturing anyone's heart. By writing free-verse as if it was a meaningful conversation among friends, I've aimed to break the common apathy or predisposition towards poetry in general.

On every theme, I asked myself many times over the following questions:

- Am I passionate enough about this subject matter?

- Is my vision on the subject somehow different than the norm?

- Can I articulate it through art?

- Have I educated myself sufficiently about each particular source of inspiration?

- Can I write something that could be interpreted and experienced in different dimensions?

- Can I compose versatile poetry that is as light or as deep as the reader may want it to be?

- Can I create a verse that inspires, impacts, even heals others?

If the answers to all these questions were affirmative, I embarked on meditative and introspective journeys searching for the next magic creative moment. From then on, visualization coupled with sensing of the subject matter unleashed torrents of words that became a poem, a fable, an essay, or a scribble.

The poetry of The Equilibrist series draws a circle of life, covering existential ground that brings along inspirational, emotional, and spiritual enrichment to an otherwise mundane life. This particular series is dedicated to all those poetry lovers that want to experience the trilogy's prose without a storyline or a plot framing them. As a special treat, I've included a short play at the end of the book, which is very close to my heart; it is called "No Longer Just A Dream." Additionally, I've incorporated detailed notes at the back of the book. They reflect what I felt when I wrote each verse, essay, scribble, or fable. I sincerely hope you enjoy "Poetry in Equilibrium" as much as I did when creating it.

Erasmus Cromwell Smith II.