Literally Literary: Spotlight on Tyler Knott Gregson
There are writers and poets who just get it. Then, there are writers and poets who are so on point, you have no choice but to feel like maybe they’ve been reading your diary. If you’re an avid Tumblr user, or just a fan of knowing you’re not alone, you might be familiar with the work of Tyler Knott Gregson. About a year ago, I stumbled upon one of Gregson’s Typewriter Series poems (#514 to be exact) that took my breath away. Intrigued, I did some research and found out that not only is Gregson a well-versed poet (pun intended) but he’s also an incredible artist, photographer and has a big heart for charity. In September, he will be releasing his first book, Chasers of the Light: Poems from The Typewriter Series.
It’s incredibly comforting to find fellow writers who share the same perspective and who know how to play with words in a way no writer has dared to try before. I had the opportunity to interview Tyler Knott Gregson on creativity, those little things we call ‘muses,’ and what kind of legacy he wants to leave.
When and how did you get your start writing?
– I think I’ve been writing just about as long as I can remember. I recently found an old folder of childhood school stuff that my Mom saved, and I got a great laugh about how much I used to write as a little kid. Poems, little stories, just always needing to get on the outside what was stuck on the inside. I think I fell more in love with poetry when I was around 12 and I have never stopped. I always feel like I have too many words inside, and writing is the only pressure release valve I know to feel better. The writing has always been for me, really, and me alone, as it was healing. The fact that people read, relate, and sometimes enjoy, is all new to me, and to be honest, it’s curious to me.
Your writing is very different from anything I’ve ever seen. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words, and your work pinpoints everything beautifully. Describe what’s going through your mind while crafting your poems. How do you feel after you’ve written one?
– I like hearing this, I really do. For me, I think with my writing two things kind of always inherently take place, even if I do not mean them to. I write of big things, big moments, big broad scary overwhelming intense passionate life-changing terrifying and amazing things, in a very small way, reducing them to maybe only a line or two, OR, I take very small things, tiny glances of a moment or a whisper or a millisecond of life, and I write of it as big, broad, huge and life changing. Big into little and little into big. I don’t know why or how this came to be, as I don’t really feel I have control over it. I had a discussion just the other night with my friend Gregory about art, and what it is to create it, and the (what we believe to be) misconception that art is made for others. While some is, in my case, and in his as a musician, we create what we do out of necessity for ourselves. It’s a way for us to cope, and so when we are asked about our processes, or if we plan on improving, we never know how to answer as we do it because we have to, not because we want to get good at something. If this makes any sense. My mind when I am writing one usually isn’t even entirely present, it’s more of a frantic rush to get the thoughts down so I can stop carrying them, so when I am done I feel better. I feel empty, but in the best way.
It’s quite obvious that a muse sparks your creativity. What or whom inspires you?
– Ahh, where’s the fun in that? I am constantly inspired, and I think I have a lot of muses. People I know and love, the love of people I know and love for those that they love, tiny moments that move me in big ways, nature, lightning, living things and the little pulse of life I feel when I interact with them, everything. Clearly some are more pointed than others, and sometimes I am just writing about the life I so desperately want to be living. Some words come from having, some come from needing. It’s more fun to leave which are which up to the person reading. I do apologize if this is cryptic haha.
You work with Sevenly to raise awareness about various causes near to your heart. Tell us how that partnership came about and what we can do to help.
– I actually work with a LOT of charities, large and small, and I do my best to use my social media following for positive things that give back to people that need help, money, love, support. I love “selling out” when it’s for a cause like that. Sevenly and I have worked together for about a year, and actually we are going to be slowing down on our partnership this summer, but they continue to do amazing things for amazing charities. It’s been just as big a blessing to work with charities like Two Wings, a brilliant charity in Southern California run by my friend Elena, that helps women who were victims of sex trafficking, PoverTees, another Los Angeles based charity that helps get homeless people off the streets and empowering them to change their lives. I also work with Cozy Courage, two wonderful women who give away the most ridiculously amazing vintage blankets to gets going through chemotherapy, and Krochet Kids, a charity that employs and empowers women in Peru and Uganda to make hand-knit products and support themselves and their families. I love it. I have so many other charities I am an active part of, from FreeTibet.org to World Wildlife Fund and I hope over the next few years my involvement can grow and grow and grow. I just encourage people to read, research, learn, and give. Maybe it’s the Buddhist in me, but I think compassion is vital. Always.
What do you hope people take away from your work? What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
– Honestly, I have never thought of this. I don’t know if anything I do WILL stick around long enough to leave a legacy. I guess I just want to be known as someone who did the best he could with what he had, and was honest even when it hurt.
Pre-order Chasers of the Light: Poems from The Typewriter Series here.
For more on Tyler Knott Gregson visit TylerKnott.com.