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BCC Shines A Light on: Stephen Jackson

BCC Shines a Light On: Stephen Jackson


Name of the piece published by BCC: “Inkling”


When/where was it originally published: Floodlight Poetry, November 2020


What is the background of the piece? What led you to write it? What’s your process?


In 2017, I was living in a small eco-village in Oregon. I’d taken a year off work to go there and focus solely on my writing. One of the things I began doing around that time, to spark my creativity, was to imagine myself someplace in my past. To just be there, to try to remember as much as I could about where I was.


Growing up in the Midwest, I lived in a lot of apartments with old-fashioned wooden screen doors. It was summer, and I found myself standing in front of one, looking outside. The detail that struck me was a small tear in the old screen. And I saw someone had tried to mend it with grey thread. This may have been something I actually did, as a kid. At least, it sounds like something I’d do.


Then I saw a dandelion seed in the gap. As kids, we’d always try to catch the dandelion parachutes, make a wish, and then release them. So I imagined blowing on it, trying to set it free. As a child, it made perfect sense that a seed on the wind, once captured and released, could carry your wish to whomever it was that granted them. But looking out that screen door, in a state of mind both childlike and adult, I realized the futility of such a game. And the raw material for the poem just flowed out.


The poem went through 28 different revisions. Word-wise, it’s quite close to the original raw material. What made it so unwieldy were the line breaks. The original was two six-line stanzas. A few years later, I’d taken to frequently working in couplets, and upon revisiting it in October of 2020, that’s what it needed to make it finally fall into place.


How did you feel when it was first published and how have your thoughts or feelings on the piece changed from then to now?


The site where it was originally published was having technical difficulties, and so the poem never appeared on the site in its proper form. As it stood, it was unreadable. The editor added a link to allow it to open in a Word document, but I always felt the poem deserved a proper presentation. I’m grateful to BCC for giving it one.


Is there a specific message you’d like readers to take away from reading this piece?


I am just grateful that they’ve read it.


Where can readers find more of your work? (Website/social media, etc)


My website is stephen-jackson.com. With updates on Twitter: @fortyoddcrows

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