Thomas Swain, whose piece ‘Wonder is Always Around the Corner’ is published in the third issue of Lucent Dreaming, is a creative non-fiction writer.
What inspired your piece, ‘Wonder is Always Around the Corner’ and how did it find its way to Lucent Dreaming?
When I went away to university, I became plagued with a seemingly endless array of mental health problems. I found that university students lacked a voice when it came to psychological problems—we’re all being told it’s meant to be ‘the best years of our lives!’ It was this under-representation, alongside the cathartic release that writing gives me which inspired my piece. I discovered the Lucent Dreaming competition in an email to all the English students, where I thought, ‘what’s the harm, in trying?’
What does creating art mean to you?
For me, art is a means of gaining an insight into someone else’s reality. Because of this, art often leads to a sense of growth within the spectator. Rather than fostering our own tight-knit world-view, art can give us a wholly unique perspective of the world. Therefore, my personal take is that the creation of art helps me to educate others.
What writing/creative projects are you currently working on?
I am currently conceptualising the second chapter of my creative writing dissertation, which is called ‘Love and Hate in a World Obsessed with the Internet.’ It’s an opinion/personal piece about my battle on the technological frontlines, through gaming addiction, insomnia, panic attacks and a breakdown in real-world relationships.
My second ongoing project is a creative nonfiction submission for a university-run publication called ‘INK Journal’, which I am currently planning the ideas for.
What are you most excited about right now and for the future?
Seeing where my writing skills and love for the English language will take me in a professional capacity. I’ve been in education for what feels like millennia, and so I’m really itching to get out there and see what my linguistic skills can offer employers.
How and where do you find inspiration to do your craft?
I find inspiration by living life and seeing what pops up on my ‘writing radar.’ Once a topic is in my crosshairs, I will engross myself with everything about it, from documentaries to interviews to scanning magazines—I will live, eat and breathe my topic. The true inspiration usually emerges from reading other writers’ work. However, in my case, since mental health is still fairly up and coming, the resulting anger and sadness from its under-representation served as an impetus as well.
What advice would you give those who want to do what you do?
As a university student who still has a lot of life to figure out, I am by no means the voice of experience, however I do think that the old proverb of doing what makes you happy is flouted in this day and age. We’re all in such a mad rat-race to clamber onto the job ladder that we often forget about our mental wellbeing and intentions behind why we do what we do. Do we want to make our parents proud? Do we only value money and paying the bills? Is what I’m doing giving me satisfaction when I wake up every morning? My advice is to take our very online world with a grain of salt, and to learn to give our internal voices more significance. Listen to your gut, your inner rationale and your childlike voice of innocence. Think about how you would make that child version of yourself happy, and let your actions follow suit.
Where can people see more of you and your work?
The best place to contact me and keep in touch with my current work is my LinkedIn page.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication! Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.