Timothy James Cross’ book of poetry, “Ugh,” is available for purchase at Lil’ House Country Biscuits & Coffee, Steaming Bean Coffee Co. and online at www.timothyjamescross.com.
Steamboat Springs It was a dark time in Timothy Cross’ life. Not figuratively — he was a young man happily living out his adventure fantasy in a cabin in the woods in Fairbanks, Alaska — but literally. The winters just outside of the Arctic Circle are long, well below zero and dark, dark, dark.
“You have to be mentally strong, or you just go crazy,” he said about Alaskan winters. “You have to learn to be creative in finding ways to entertain yourself. That was part of why I started with poetry.”
He started to journal, and that journaling sometimes tended to rhyme.
He ranted to the blank page about his disillusionment with government and the woes of growing up and explored his admiration for the beauty of the natural world around him.
He thought no one ever would read those words.
However, next week, the published compilation of his journaling from those four years in Alaska will be on display at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest trade fair for books in the world.
His publishing company helped enter his book into the event, which displays 7,500 exhibitors from 110 countries to more than 200,000 visitors from across the world.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking,” said Cross, who was nervous when his aunt and grandmother wanted to read the book.
Cross moved to Steamboat about two years ago and began working at Lil’ House Country Biscuits & Coffee. His book of poetry, “Ugh,” was released at about the same time through the self-publication company Xlibris after Cross had sent his poems in on a whim.
Cross said he was surprised when Xlibris jumped on the book and helped enter him in book fairs from Chicago to New Orleans.
The 250-poem compilation is a journey through his brutally honest and sometimes angst-filled personal musings on politics, religion, relationships and himself.
“A lot of it is just me talking, ‘Hey, look at it this way because this is so beautiful,’” he explained. “It’s saying, ‘This might be bad, but this is really good.’”
Cross, now 26, was raised in Northern Michigan and attended art school in Cincinnati. He still works in visual art, mostly with watercolor landscapes, but with writing, he found a way to vocalize his coming-of-age torment by walking the line between jaded and hopeful.
That’s where the title comes in.
“Ugh,” he said, is a slang word that helps place his work in the context of his generation. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot but has no specific meaning, either good or bad.
“Ugh” is “usually said in the context of, ‘Hey, it’s not that bad. It needs improvement, but it’s really not that horrible,’” he said.
— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com