Joseph Ashley Eaton, VSU junior and mass media major, has managed to publish two books: “Night’s Ocean View” and “The Imagination Engines,” all while balancing school and playing guitar in two bands.
The 24- year- old found refuge in writing after he lost his dad at a young age. His first published book, “Night’s Ocean View,” is a large collection of poetry Easton compiled since his dad’s suicide.
Eaton has Generalized Anxiety Disorder and uses his writing as a gateway for expressing his emotions.
“I am a person that relies a lot on my emotions, so what happened in ‘Night’s Ocean View’ is I took a lot of those past experiences and I turned them into poetry in a way that was helpful,” Eaton said.
Eaton admits that he spent most of his time creating his poetry in seclusion. He spent around eight months in his room; where his earliest memories started to rise.
During that time, memories like his dad’s death came out onto paper.
“To help me deal with his death I wrote a specific poem in this book, and there are other poems like that, that have an edge of sorrow… but that’s not the kind of message I want to convey,” Eaton said. ” I want to convey the dealing of emotions like that and turning it into something useful.”
“In ‘The Imagination Engines’ I decided to transport the emotion of ‘Night’s Ocean View’ into something fun,” Eaton said.
According to Eaton, works from his favorite authors like Steven King and Rod Serling inspired him to write a work with more a science-fiction and adventurous feel.
“I feel this is the deeper book because it has more complex characters and lifestyles and you really get to see more depth of the human connection,” Eaton said. “This represents my growth as a person.”
The process of transforming “Night’s Ocean View” into a collection of short stories all started with one of Eaton’s favorite poems.
“The Water Mirror,” a poem Eaton wrote in a coffee shop, depicts a little girl who finds a mirror that can transport her to a different world that is completely underwater.
After writing a song after the poem, Eaton decided to write a story off of its characters.
“That ended up being such a long idea, so rather than keep it one poem, I took some of the characters and ideas from the song and poem and ended up putting it into “The Imagination Engines,” Eaton says.
Eaton went on to describe the details of his third book.
“In this one, these characters and ideas all join together”, Eaton said.
As for guitar, Eaton has been playing since he was 17.
He started after becoming a fan of Metallica.
“I became fascinated with the way they played guitar,” Eaton said.
Eaton has played at a variety of places including elementary schools, hospital lobbies, West Hall, and even inside the Valdosta Mall.
Eaton learned tricks from his favorite guitarist Steve Vai, and has also invented his own involving playing with a giant candy cane, toilet paper roll and Freddy Krueger Claw.
“Playing with a toilet paper roll may look weird, but it sounds good,” Eaton said.
Being a guitarist for the bands Obscure Vice and Echelon, Eaton performs at local bars around Valdosta.
“We just recently played a great show at Divided-By-Zero,” Eaton said
As for his books, “The Imagination Engines” and “Ocean’s Night View” are being sold on websites like Amazon.com and Borders.com. Eaton’s books are also stocked around the world in countries like Japan and Italy.