Fabled Truths Volume 1: Self Portraits and Poetic Essays
by Lurlynn Franklin
BookVenture Publishing LLC

the symbolism
the tangible content
the meaning that you hunger for
has become my mission
of what not to give you"

Fusing poetic essays with photo-collage pieces of art, this artistic debut from the author is designed to contrast and draw a strong response from the reader. Containing 16 self-described self-portraits and 20 essays that function both as verse and prose, Franklin lays her perspective and feelings on the page for all to see. Tackling strong issues such as race, economic disparity, mental health, modern life, and life as an American, each piece whether visual or written focuses on a different subject, sometimes working in tandem to emphasize a point.

Each essay is only a couple of pages long at most, opting to make a point quickly and poignantly rather than examine every potential angle and every bit of history surrounding how we got to where we are today. The end result of each essay and self-portrait is simple and direct: to see the world beyond first impressions and the external layer that everyone puts on to hide the true self. As a result, some of the reading may hit close to home, some will line up exactly with that reader’s worldview, and some will totally challenge one’s perceptions and force them to see humanity in a way that they did not expect to.

At times humorous, other times heartbreaking, this book is constantly raw, honest, and straight to the point, so the audience should be prepared for honesty from beginning to end, even when it might not favor their own perspective. The main underlying point is one that should not be missed, though: at the end of the day everybody is a human being, and we all deserve respect and empathy from one another.

The essays in this collection follow a poetic verse style that keeps them short but no less impactful for the format. At the end of the book, however, there is an afterword from the author that is written more directly and in a long-form style that sheds the formula of the book to that point and allows the author to speak directly about her experiences and the inspirations that led to the creation of this book and what drives her artwork, as well. Speaking of the artwork, it should by no means be glossed over, as each piece is unique, with composite photography and hand-drawn artwork. Each has an evocative name and an iconoclastic style that absolutely pulls the eye in with focus but also has lots of small details and messaging for those that look deeper and search for the full meaning.

It’s easy to try to be provocative or to buck the modern social mores and rules, but to identify the flaws of society in a way that is artistic and productive, not just anarchistic, takes a special kind of insight. To then do the same thing using a mixture of poetry, essays, and visual mediums is ambitious but gives so much gravity to every word and every visual detail in the process. It would be safe to assume that this is unlike any book the audience will have read, and it’s enticing to think that the author has more to offer in its vein in the future. Until that time, there is plenty of meaning and mystery to unpack in not only reading these essays but also in applying their lessons to daily life.

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