McGinnis: Adam Smietana publishes first bookWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | email@example.com
Adam Smietana has been writing for years. He was just never sure if anyone else would read anything he wrote.
“I started in high school, writing kinda poetry to not pay attention in class,” Smietana said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star. “I’ve always wanted to write something that I would kinda put out in front of people, but for years and years it was more of a personal, journaling type thing.”
Fast forward 16 years. The now 33-year-old Smietana has been composing with the written word for all that time — poems, essays — but never really with an eye on publication. “It’s kinda been more of a dream than a reality to put anything out in front of people until just recently,” he said.
“What it came down to is life changes. I was kinda figuring out what to do with my life. I’ve done a lot of really neat, crazy things. And writing the book was kind of tying together all the loose ends and burning all the old bridges that were serving no purpose and just jumping forward into the next phase of — not just getting the writing in front of people, but the next phase of my art.”
The finished product, “An Incalculable Order,” is a self-published collection of three pieces — two essays, one longform poem — that together create a unique picture of a time in Smietana’s life.
“The poem [“Stillness in the Garden”], I wrote over a year, almost exactly,” he said. “I captured my year — all the emotion, all the experience, everything that happened in that one year — and kind of condensed it into poetic expression.
“The three pieces kind of intertwine, because they were all written, more or less, over the same period, as slightly different projects.”
The book will be formally unveiled at a release show March 24 at the Collingwood Arts Center. The event will feature a live reading by Smietana of a portion of “Stillness in the Garden,” and live music — a performance by Smietana’s band, the New Captains.
A collaboration between himself and longtime friend Sean Ball, the Captains are the latest expression of a musical passion that has lived in Adam even longer than writing.
In fact, the book release show is serving almost as a warm-up for the New Captains — Smietana and Ball are planning another big event toward the end of May to commemorate the release of a just-finished album.
“I finished the book last year, and had it printed before the new year,” Smietana said. “We just recently had a baby, my wife and I. So I had to wait a little bit, with the books basically sitting there in a box, not really sure what I was gonna do. And basically, as things were settling down with the baby coming, Sean and I were talking and thought, Let’s do a smaller version of that show idea, with the book, and we’ll perform as well, and get these new musical pieces out.”
Smietana said that he hopes his writings will appeal to a wide audience.
“Kinda scraping away the surfaces of life and looking beneath things a little bit — that would apply to a lot of people across the board.
“But first and foremost for me, it’s an expression, and I think that starting out with the artistic crowd — the poets, the musicians, the other artists — that’s kind of the beginning, at least.”
But in the end, much of the best art comes aimed at one primary audience, he said.
“You do it for yourself, first and foremost. And then, if you put it out there, it’s gotta be because you want people to enjoy themselves.”
Email Toledo Free Press Star Pop Culture Editor Jeff McGinnis at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.