While Lauren Indyk purposely leaves her poetry up to interpretation, even she was surprised by what her friend Nathan Miller produced when he finished the accompanying illustrations for their new self-published book, "Lost in the Attic."
Then again, she also never expected to see her work in printed form in the first place.
"I've been writing poetry just for my own purpose, and I post a lot of them online. Nathan came to me one day and mentioned working with him on this, so it's my first time getting my poetry out there," Indyk, 21, said.
"I've known Nathan for a while, so I know his style of illustration and everything, so in that aspect it was similar to what I thought it would be, but a lot of his choices of drawings were things that I wouldn't necessarily do. But I'm happy with how he interpreted each poem. It was a nice surprise."
After taking a book illustration class at Marywood University, where they both attend, Miller, 22, began looking closer at children's books and wanted to make a Shel Silverstein-inspired tome that was geared more towards young adults with drawings to fit a more "mature" palette.
"The goal for me was to very loosely interpret the poems just to give a little bit of a visual aid to the readers. I wanted to keep Lauren's poems very open to interpretation because her poems, I feel, are very interpretive. They're not very straightforward," Miller acknowledged.
"I'd sit down, read a poem, and just think of what images are directly coming to my head. ‘What loose interpretation am I getting right now?'"
"I do try to make mine very interpretive for the person to make up their own decision on it, so I think that kind of went along with what he was looking for," Indyk agreed.
The 20 poems, inspired by everyday questions of life and love, are paired with "loose" and "whimsical" illustrations in Miller's preferred medium of pen and watercolors. His style seems to compliment Indyk's own erratic muse.
"I definitely am better with speaking through writing. I'm not one to vocally express myself, so there have been certain instances where I've written a poem for one of my friends or my boyfriend that expresses more to them about what I am feeling. Maybe it's just to get my own feelings out there and out of myself," Indyk shared.
Published in-house at Marywood, the book's format was inspired by zines, or do-it-yourself literary magazines often assembled by hand, and was released at The Fanciful Fox soap and candle company, 342 Adams Ave., Scranton, during the First Friday art walk on April 6, where it will continue to be available all month long. Donations to keep it in print are accepted, though they are seeking exposure over monetary gain.
"I picked one zine up and it was called, ‘Fourteen Unrelated Drawings,' and it was just 14 small, simple illustrations and I thought that was really cool. I really liked the format, so I thought, ‘Why not just do it myself?' I can print it cheaply myself. I have the resources. Why not?" Miller explained.
The most difficult part of the process, through, wasn't the book's production, but rather deciding on its title.
"It actually got inspiration from one of the poems that are featured in this book, ‘A Lost Love Letter.' It's a girl talking about how she found this poem in the attic just amongst other books," Miller described.
"So I thought, ‘Some girl or somebody just went up into their attic and started rifling through their parents' or their grandparents' stuff and here were all these love letters or all these poems that were hidden away. These were all just lost.' I don't feel like there's any real organization to them. I can't really put a theme into these."
Indyk found that "Lost in the Attic" not only fit the random selection of work, but it also reflected the accessible technique of her writing.
"One of the hardest things for me after writing a poem is coming up with the title because I don't like the title to give away too much of what's going to be in the poem and I don't want the title to give a certain connotation towards the poem if I'm not going for that. So when Nathan asked me to think of titles, I really was afraid of that, but when Nathan came to me with this idea, I really liked that because I feel like it has a lot of different connotations…and (it's) very open to interpretation."