Like many people I know, I fell in love with Tyler Knott Gregson’s poetry via Instagram. Maybe it’s the allure of his Typewriter Series (awesome poems and quotes typed on vintage-looking parchment paper) or the fact that he posts just about every day so people always have something to see, but in the end I think its his raw talent for striking the chords of emotion within us that keep us coming back.
And, let’s face it, stumbling upon a thought-provoking poem and marveling at its simplicity and meaning while you’re thumbing through your friends’ Instagram photos from the weekend brings you back down to earth and back into yourself. Sometimes I find myself reading through the poetry on Tyler’s Instagram and website for hours on end because I feel so connected to it. (Yes, hours.)
Tyler’s words hold special meaning to me because when I moved to NYC a few months ago I left my family and most of my close friends behind. The transition was scary – specifically learning how to live so far from a few of my best friends that I was used to spending more or less every waking moment with.
Some of us started sending these poems back and forth, because in their simplicity they managed to capture exactly what we were feeling. Deep connection to another being, no matter where they are. The most important thing there is. You can be as healthy as you want, eat clean all day long and exercise your butt off… but if you have no one to create memories with and share the intimate moments of life with, what does any of that matter?
People who know me well know that sometimes I have a tendency to share too much of my life. “I’m doing this, and now I’m doing this, and now I’m eating this, and GUESS WHO JUST SAID THIS TO ME, and I just saw the funniest thing on the train…” yeah, you know those people. I’m one of them. So naturally, sending a short poem to condense my feelings is a wonderful blessing when I am far away and only have so many hours in the day to communicate with those I love and miss.
(Hi, Tyler!! ^) Tyler has grown his social media audience to 113k followers on Instagram, over 16,000 Pinterest followers and 26,000 likes on Facebook. That’s a fete in itself, and I am very inspired by it!
Tyler was gracious enough to do a little Q&A with me for the blog, and I won’t lie and say I wasn’t a bit star struck. As a writer, the opportunity to talk to one of your favorite contemporary writers is always beyond exciting.
Q: Where do you currently live?
A: Currently, I live in Helena, Montana, but I’ve lived all over this country.
Q: Where is your favorite place to write?
A: Hmm, honestly, wherever I am. I find that I am inspired all throughout the day and lines, poems, phrases, sentences, pop up all the time, so when they do I’m constantly looking for something to jot it down, or using my phone to email myself.
Q: Are there days you find it harder to write than others?
A: Honestly, not really. I don’t ever treat writing like a job or a chore, I treat it like something I am lucky to get to do, and when that’s the case it makes writing more exciting and more fun. It’s an outlet, a way to leak out what doesn’t fit in.
Q: How do you get inspired?
A: Just by keeping my eyes open and being appreciative of everything around me. By paying attention, truly paying attention to the little things, it’s easy to see that inspiration is everywhere.
Q: Who is your favorite poet? Favorite author?
A: Wow, tough question. For poets, I’ve always been drawn to Walt Whitman, Cummings, Neruda and Brautigan. For authors, the list is huge and tends to change based on the book I’m currently reading. I love language and I love people who can say a lot with a little.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your journey to success. Where did you begin with poetry and how did it end up evolving into something so massively successful?
A: I started writing poetry when I was 12 and just never stopped. When I first began posting it online, no one really followed it, no one responded. It took awhile but it started slowly snowballing and more people led to more people and now we are where we are. I never expected it, and I certainly never ‘tried’ for it to happen and I think that’s what makes it all the more surprising.
Q: To expand off of the last question, how did you grow your online audience to something so huge?
A: Honestly, just by writing, a lot. The content kept coming out so people always had something to read, and a reason to come back, and I think putting it on social media helped that immensely. It let the “your friend tells 10 friends, and those 10 tell 10 and those 10 tell 10” happen organically and rather quickly. I never saw it coming.
Q: Did you study writing/poetry in school? Where did you go to school?
A: I did not. I took the normal core courses for English in high school and college, but never followed up on it. I always believed with any artistic endeavors, being taught jeopardizes your creativity by making you do the things like the person who taught you, so I always steered clear. I went to Gonzaga University for one year, and then finished my degree at the University of Montana to save myself a bundle of money, as I never really saw myself “using” my degree in my future.
Q: If you could throw a dinner party at your house and invite five guests – dead or alive – who would they be?
A: Wow. You know, I feel as though that’s a rabbit hole that’s too difficult to go down, so honestly I would invite my family.
Q: Favorite quote?
A: “To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.” – Whitman.
Q: Can you tell me something funny about you that most people don’t know?
A: I have been struck by lightning. And to get even weirder, so have my Mom and Dad, all 3 of us at separate times in our lives.
Q: Any strange phobias?
A: No, but the sound of people brushing their teeth is enough to drop me to my knees in agony.
Q: Describe yourself in three words:
A: Goodness, this is a tough one. I suppose I would say, Compassionate, Odd, and Amazed.
Q: A word of advice to young writers:
A: Just keep writing. All the time, write Everything. Never slow down or stop and never second guess, just write, and write and write.
Q: Do you have a favorite poem that you’ve written?
A: I really don’t. I do not read my own work very often once it’s finished. I write it, in one big burst, and then I leave it there and try not to revisit it. It’s too easy to wish things were different, or want to change things, and I think that steals from the inspiration that led to that piece in the first place.
Q: Lastly, because my blog is largely a health blog — what role does health play in your life?
A: Fitness is a MASSIVE part of my life, as I work out at least 6 days a week. Even on days I cannot do a normal workout, I do something, anything, to make sure my heart gets racing and my body stays moving. I think fitness is paramount and it is something I absolutely love doing.