“BRiYA gives readers much more than a book of poetry. She invites us on a journey, nudging us along sometimes gently and sometimes not. We experience her pain, her fear, her anxiety, her joy and her celebration. Ultimately, we experience her growth, and in doing so we may perhaps grow ourselves.”
“From the first page, BRiYA’s words paint the story of her life experience and love for language. I appreciated BRiYA's candor, it felt like an invitation to ruminate on pain, loss, and rebirth...She has bared her soul for the reader courageously; to read [Common Ground] is to witness an artist’s legacy of overcoming obstacles.”
Through the use of Numerology and deep introspection, Common Ground explores feelings such as loneliness, love, and suicidal ideation, because it is through our searching and our struggling that we become strong enough to face reality and provide purpose for our lives.
Common Ground isn’t just a collection of poems, it’s an exploration of the depth and range of human emotions.
I wrote this book as a way to stay sane.
During the days and weeks (months?) of compiling and editing all these poems and writing fresh ones, I was stuck in another one of my existential crises. I couldn’t find any purpose to my life, and repeat thoughts of self-harm lingered longer than normal.
I have struggled with PTSD and empirically understand the gravity it holds in how we feel about and respond to life. You’ll find a whole section based around this, because when trauma takes hold, your world is encumbered and you are consumed. You feel as if you are alone and you’re not safe.
So what saved me? Words.
The impact that they’ve had on my life is monumental. When I was at my lowest point, I would read other works of art as well as interviews about people I admired and it helped me to feel connected to them, as if I wasn’t alone in this life. It showed me that someone else had experienced the similar pain of existence and had created something out of it.
I don’t know about you, but feeling disconnected is, more often than not, rampant in my daily existence.
If you know what it feels like to lie awake at night wondering if there’s any meaning to life, or if you cry yourself to sleep because you don’t think it’ll ever get better, then you’ll relate to the themes in this book.
Even if you feel so disconnected from other people and from who you know you are inside, I wrote this book, these words, to resonate the truth of our shared human experience.
I feel that we are in the midst of what I call, “The Loneliness Crisis”. A time when people are feeling so disconnected from each other that we seek to escape in whatever form suits us best, whether that be alcohol and drugs, food, relationships and sex, Netflix, social media, or an endless list of distractions. And when I was drowning in depression and addiction, I found moments of reprieve—from what I felt was an intolerable existence—through words.
SO I OFFER YOU WORDS.
Words of pain, of heartbreak, of triumph, of questioning, of struggle, of suffering; I offer you words about the human experience.
May you find solace in Common Ground and feel a sense of connection to another human being. Maybe these words will help you put down that bottle of whiskey or pair of scissors and reach out for help. Maybe you’ll find what I did (and still do) through reading others’ words: a sense of connection.
Excerpt from Common Ground:
Dripping like spit as I stumble over words—
Overflowing and overcrowding my mouth:
Thoughts that have escaped from my mind
Want to express how I feel,
But I choke on the vulnerability,
Unable to speak.
Reflexes of dry heaves
And premeditated word vomit
Tense my stomach and make me sick;
Wanting the pain to go away, I feel"…
with an MFA in Physical Theatre. She dropped out of her MFA in Poetry program because she found it to be too critical and out of alignment with what she wanted in life and of herself at the time. After giving up writing poetry for one year, she eventually found her way back to it. As a result of traveling the world, she has accumulated experiences through her own point of view, as well as through the eyes of other cultures. These all shape her perspective about life and what she shares in her new book, Common Ground.