Kansas City Writer Suffering From Schizophrenia Tells Of Uncertainty And Taking Of Life As It Comes | KCUR 89.3
Alexej Savreux does not hesitate to speak about his diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia – he has had it most of his life and the disorder frames his work and his art.
And the machinations of his brain did not hamper Savreux’s productivity at all. Barnes & Noble has just reissued its 2015 collection of poetry, Graffiti on the window. He has also published three other books, a play, a film for the Fringe Festival, and won the award. Writer’s Digest Poetry Prize.
Savreux’s jobs, interests, and education vary widely and, like his diagnosis, appear in his writings.
He says: “I have done cinema; I did technical sound work; I did audiovisual work; I did poetry; I did journalism; I did some freelance artist stuff; I did artificial intelligence.
A native of Vermont, Savreux has made his home in Kansas City since 2008. During this time, his list of businesses expanded to include fast food, think tanks, the stock market, and the study of linguistics, divinity, communications, math and more.
But just because his various interests and his diagnosis influence and appear in his work doesn’t mean that he exactly defines him. If it is true that Graffiti on the window brimming with religious, philosophical and academic credentials, it’s also filled with the raw emotion of a youngster struggling with broken relationships – he wrote the book almost 10 years ago in his twenties.
“It shows an amalgamation of the way I analyze reality,” he explains.
Among the poems about a red-haired girl named Darcy who broke her heart, there are passages on physics and advanced mathematics.
Savreux says that for nearly a decade he worked under the illusion that he had solved the unified field theory of physics. The title of his re-edited book comes from this illusion.
He writes in the foreword to Graffiti on the window:
“It was during a four month manic episode that I began to experience the transformation of ‘science’ into ‘art’ and spend nights in a manic craze writing on my dining room windows. eating in grease pencil, trying to find a solution to the unified field theory, which is still a running joke and is “tongue in cheek” because I couldn’t care less about particle accelerators. “
Now, sitting outside a cafe near Country Club Plaza on a recent sunny morning, he shrugs and says that the symbol he had been obsessed with for so long turned out to be a Czechoslovak pronoun, not physical notation at all.
It is this type of openness to the interpretation of symbols that he wants to cultivate between his pages and his reader. Savreux says as long as he communicates something, that Something can be interpreted, and he doesn’t want to make decisions about anyone.
His perspective makes his writing fascinating. For example, in a poem called “The Making of a Sherpa,” he includes this mysterious phrase about climbing a mountain: “Climbing may be directionless in theory, but there is a peak and it is is all that really matters.
To explain, he comes back to the idea of a sadness in our culture and the reluctance or inability of many people to give themselves the grace it takes to achieve their full strength in the face of challenges: to survive against to flourish. .
“[The poem] is almost absurd and existentialist where it is to say, you know, I can’t find a discernible purpose in life other than to continue. I can relentlessly pursue the meaning of life, but at the end of the day I have to find my own meaning, ”says Savreux.
He is currently studying for a graduate degree in theater technology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and recently became a sponsored poet at Poetry for personal power. The post uses poetry and art to uplift and support those in need, especially those with a mental health diagnosis.
Still, he says he doesn’t really know what the future holds – the pandemic has wiped out a tuition waiver he relied on.
But that’s how it goes. Savreux is no stranger to uncertainty and has several incomplete degrees; he claims to be a risk taker, both in his personal and professional life.
He used to figure things out as they presented themselves long before the rest of the world had to, and he sees the reissue of his book as a way to contribute to current conversations about challenges.
“I think if there is some kind of sadness in our culture, I think it is because a lot of people don’t give themselves the grace and feel how strong they are or how much they can help it. ‘to be,’ he says.
Rather than hoping his readers will catch all the intoxicating references to the wide array of literary allusions, he says he hopes they “extract the beauty from the ugly.” That’s basically what I want to do with it.
For upcoming events in the book, see the Savreux website: www.alexejsavreux.com.