By Dakota Parks for Downtown Crowd
As a notable figure in the art scene and a regular in the open mic poetry circles, Sean Seid, 31, has had a fascination with the magic of language since his earliest memories. Throughout his life, he has been captivated and enthralled by poetry, succumbing to inspiration serendipitously sprawling on napkins, receipts and scrap paper when the moment strikes. As an adult, he learned to combat imposter syndrome and self-doubt, rediscovering his creativity and passion for writing. For the last two years, Seid has been working on compiling and archiving his work to publish his first book, The Love Inseid, which he released in June. His book intertwines poetry and photography to examine the power of yoga and meditation, nature, introspection and self-love, while embodying a creative call to arms.
“So much of my poetry is about looking inside of myself and encouraging other people to do the same,” Seid said. “I try to paint a picture of what you're going to find in there. I wanted to showcase the difficulties and shadow work of what’s going to inevitably come up when you dig into yourself—those demons, neuroses and difficult to accept aspects of yourself.”
The catalyst for this introspective and soul-searching poetry came to Seid when he discovered yoga and meditation, which allowed him to examine his belief systems and begin to appreciate creativity for creativity’s sake. Seid went on to enroll in a program to become a yoga instructor and began working as a massage therapist, then later as the receptionist at Empathic Practice.
“One of the great questions that so many people ask in their lives is, ‘What am I here to do? How can I help or make a beneficial change in the world?’ In yogic terms, we call that Dharma,” he said. “Throughout the process of this book, I’m exploring the medium of poetry, words and writing as my Dharma. I want to write something that is authentic to myself and brings something of value or joy to others. I believe that everybody has a dream that they have had since they were children, or that they encountered at some point in their life, and that the voices inside and outside of themselves convinced them not to follow that dream. Or convinced them that they weren't capable or weren't worthy of that dream. One of the primary messages of the book is that very dream and seed inside yourself is the most valuable thing in life.”
Part of his journey toward writing the book began with battling imposter syndrome and the voices telling him he wasn’t capable of publishing a book in the first place. Seid found a mentor and creative support from Felipe Munoz, owner of Empathic Practice, who helped Seid publish his book and established Brainfeed Publishing as an incubator to help authors and creatives embark on the task of getting their work out into the world. Seid explained that he actually wrote and assembled a majority of the book in his down time at work, behind the receptionist desk at Empathic Practice. Between scheduling appointments and answering the phone, Seid would jot down lines to a poem or edit photographs.
“As a creative myself, I know that idle time can lead to demotivation, boredom and lack of satisfaction with what we do,” Munoz explained. “If I can, as an employer, support something that will help my team to be motivated and exercise creativity in their idle time, I think the motivation and joy that comes from it can ripple into how we perform as a company and attend to our clients. I see this as nurturing talent that will bring back to us and our community. To me, it is an investment on the employee to be a company that helps them to achieve their dreams on a personal level.”
Munoz said his dream for Brainfeed Publishing is to serve as an incubator for creatives providing writing and mindset coaching, graphic design services, resources for self-publishing and the intricacies of the publication process that helps people publish their next book, podcast, play or other creative aspirations they might have.
In his book, The Love Inseid, Seid moves effortlessly between photography and poetic musings on strolls through nature, the tribulations of love and slice of life poetry about food, cleaning and day-to-day existence. He explained that his photography often serves as a starting point for a poem and closely inspires the work he writes. Although he began taking photos while traveling, much of the work within his book was captured locally along the Panhandle.
“I didn’t really explore photography seriously until I was living in Costa Rica, working for an ayahuasca center. It was physically, mentally and emotionally taxing to work with a plant medicine that acts almost like therapy to open you up and expose things hidden within your psyche,” Seid said. “We finally got a break from work, and a friend and I went on a road trip. She encouraged me to bring my phone along to take photos of nature on one of our walks. That experience reawakened my love of photography. From there, I started exploring what I love about photography, which is finding something mundane and revealing the magic to the eye. Often, I do that through double and multiple exposures.”
Many of the poems in Seid’s book like “Moon Crooner” and “Technicolor Epiphanies” explore aspects of unrequited love and the stages of connecting and learning how to love another person. Most importantly, however, the book explores the vitality of self-love and learning to embrace loneliness and creativity as a means to know yourself better. This creative call to arms reoccurs as a motif throughout the book to encourage and support the dreams and aspirations of the reader.
“I feel like a sort of microcosm for my beliefs is that I feel like art should be open source,” Seid explained. “We should be able to draw creativity from the commons and nothing should be held as property, because I feel like that is how we allow creativity to keep evolving. Art is the medicine for the soul as we navigate the difficulties of life. I want people to have the freedom to cut apart my poetry and glue it back together to create something new. The creative community in Pensacola, particularly the art, poetry and open mic community has been like the breath that has played through me as a flute. I want people to know this is not an individual accomplishment, instead it is a reflection of a larger creative community that has played through and influenced me. We are all an accumulation of everyone we have ever met.”
Seid pays tribute to this community through his extensive acknowledgements section thanking local creatives, restaurants and the community at large for their inspiration and support. He also gives permission to all readers in the beginning of the book to cut out his poetry, read it at open mics, share it with a friend or even photocopy it and slip them into random nooks and crannies at coffee shops and waiting rooms. Staying true to his philosophy of creative commons, Seid shares all of his photography and poems for free on Instagram at @lookinseid. For those that want a tangible copy of his book, you can purchase a copy from him at Empathic Practice for $33 while he works on distributing copies to local shops. Seid is currently working on a second book, which he hopes to release by the end of the year.