Jess Robus – A Few Slivers of Light
What did you spend the hard lockdown doing? If you’re anything like me, you spent it putting on weight, stressing, working, spending a lot of money on home deliveries… but I digress.
14-year-old Jess Robus spent it adding a few slivers of light to this rather tormented world. Quite literally, she wrote a collection of poetry, and published it in a book, called A Few Slivers of Light.
Jess Robus is, among a number of other things, a mental health advocate. She also describes herself, on her website, like this:
I am an avid songwriter, debater, performing arts afficionado, and budding linguist and my dreams include studying English at Cambridge University, writing scripts for Marvel movies (or Netflix ones, I’m not picky), and eventually learning how to skip. I am also terrified of geese. I’m a huge fan of bad jokes and worse puns and absolutely love spending time with my friends.
Reading her book, it’s the mental health advocacy which kept coming back to me. The book is separated into three parts and leads you from the darkness, through the dawn, and into the day. Through clever use of language, literary imagery and emotive connection, Jess tugs on that golden thread of humanity and moves you through one place to the next, leaving you uplifted, looking forward, excited about life and wanting MORE from this young South African find.
Jess states on her website that she uses writing as a way to process the happenings of the world around her. This is a coping mechanism which every child, teenager and adult should know and utilise (in my opinion). It’s something that I personally discovered much later than would have been optimal, however, it’s never too late! And Jess’ writing, as an ACTUAL 14-year-old, was a great way for ME to go back and deal with a number of unhealed teenage issues. At the same time Jess writes with a maturity far beyond the age of 14, which the poem I quote below shows. I’m very sure that both people Jess’ own age and adults can read her book and learn appropriate ways of emotional processing – and also simply enjoy the eloquence and purity of her writing. So, in this way, Jess’ mental health advocacy lives out in her work. I have a number of favourites, and for the sake of brevity I’ll quote one.
The aftertaste of emptiness
all the emotions i bottled up
convinced they couldn’t be real
now i find myself stranded alone in the dark
drunk on what i could never let myself feel
This speaks of difficulties experienced in later life caused by damage done during childhood. For more you’ll have to buy the book!
This book is a great buy for anyone with a teenager in their lives or with their own inner child who needs some attention.
The book is nicely put together in a readable way, written in a modern style. Often times the reader feels that Jess is speaking directly with them. And it contains a lovely foreword by award-winning author, poet and content-creator Raashida Khan