Sean O’Brien (a.k.a. William H. Jones/Willie Jones) is a Canadian-born poet currently living in Nayarit, Mexico, where he shares his poetry at different readings and open mics. He likes to prepare his collections in batches of seven or eleven and leave the original behind after performing it. Sean has been conceptualizing and reimagining a novel for the past eleven years. He’s not sure if the project will ever be refined enough for him to call it complete, but he’s steadily getting closer to that goal. He plans on self-publishing and distributing his work organically.
Sean has a lot to say, and he’s been putting in the work to make sure people hear it. His novel is incredibly special to him; lately, his time spent writing has seen an uptick in commitment and urgency, and he aims to be more public and confident with his poetry. He hasn’t published any books yet, but he has scattered small guerilla-published collections of poems across diners and truck stops. Once he finishes his novel, he has five fun and clever short story ideas just waiting to come to life! Sean’s writing process is also incredibly unique. He takes notes throughout the day, and when he’s feeling creative, he’ll go for a walk or drive with his notebook. He’ll try to get lost or see an old place from a new perspective or vantage point. If he finds a spot that elicits a particular emotion, he’ll brainstorm and write drafts for an hour or two. Nature especially inspires and fuels his writing.
For Sean, writing only takes place after dark, usually after a few drinks, and reading and editing is easier for him in the morning. His writing starts with a notebook, followed by a typewriter. After that, he creates photocopies or transcribes it into a text document, then stores it on a hard drive or physical folder. While he enjoys working on poetry at the kitchen table or a local bar with friends, most of his writing takes place alone on an adventure or in his study. The majority of his shared work is short collections of poetry. With smaller poetry, Sean likes creating long-winded titles and sometimes even a subtitle. He enjoys things that aren't straightforward, things that like to blur the lines. He is particularly fond of making the poetry in his collections reference each other. He believes that it allows the poetry to witness itself, realize its existence, and develop its own self-awareness; this makes it important and worthy, even if nobody else agrees. Sean’s titles are designed to make you want to know what's inside. When it comes to writing challenges, he finds patience and consistency to be an obstacle.
Sean was always a top student in his English classes throughout high school and university. Whenever he chose to perform spoken word at an event. it was well-received. However, it was during a rough time in his early twenties that he found himself lost and searching for meaning; that’s when writing became even more special to him. He was questioning the purpose of life, death, and the afterlife when he stumbled upon Love Is a Dog From Hell by Bukowski, and the rest is history. Bukowski’s writing made him believe his own writing could matter no matter how distraught his words were. This opened up the gateway to a plethora of other authors, such as Thompson, Hemingway, and Vonnegut, who have had a profound influence on his style and desire to be a writer. In fact, if he had to choose, he’d love for Vonnegut to be his writing mentor. Sean writes whenever it feels good and doesn’t force inspiration when writing poetry, but still tries to take at least thirty minutes a day to work on his novel.
Sean believes that being able to handle his emotions is crucial for a good life. He tries to embrace every emotion that comes to the surface while writing or reading and views that emotion from an egoless perspective. He reminds himself of two things when he’s feeling overly emotional: One, it's not that serious, and two, words carry power. He writes until he no longer enjoys the quality of his work, or when he begins struggling with the structure. His favorite poem from his collection The Lingering Pain of Self Mercy (Strong Worded Poems for Weak Men) is “This”. Sean also finds joy in reading, whether it's the newspaper, sports opinion columns, album reviews, history articles, or outlandish conspiracy Reddit threads. He reads poetry online to keep his mind poetically active. His favorite book genres are metafiction, postmodern, and philosophical dystopian, and he’s currently reading Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach, Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton, and Still Life For Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. He doesn’t find much appeal in self-help books.
He’s been playing basketball since he was 6 years old and coaching since he was 20. He is the Director of Operations for a Youth Basketball Club based in Nayarit. He also likes to surf and play golf and recently purchased a skateboard to ride around Juneau, Alaska, where he is currently working. When he’s on the clock, he’s a professional bartender. However, literary success to Sean means finishing his first novel and self-publishing it. He hopes to continue taking on open mic opportunities, no matter who’s in the crowd, and leaving poems in small-town diners and rest stops throughout North America. He simply wants to be remembered by at least one aspiring writer. He believes that new writers should be critical of themselves, let their friends read and edit their work, and be brave. You can find Sean O’Brien on whiskeyjesuspoetry.com, on Instagram as @williejonespoetry, or email him via firstname.lastname@example.org.