The Briefest Of Notes is intensely personal, unfiltered and emotive. Written over 8 years firstly only as coping strategy, challenges to the self and reflections upon personal life, but not intended for publishing. That is what makes them unique: all comes straight from the heart and thus without thought of outside judgement. Instead of writing or musing upon what it means to grow up reflexively, James simply wrote with his own pace and perceptions. However, whilst intimate and introspective, reflections upon the wider world occur throughout.
Subject matter ranges from love and heartbreak to mental health struggles, whilst an imbuement of nature and its importance to writing gives the collection an almost romantic era feel for a shorter content age. Simple drawings are added from the poet’s own hand, thus retaining a sense of personal connection and candidness. The poet is very aware of the poetic and artistic culture he is both inheriting and contributing toward: David Bowie, Jeff Buckley and Federico Garcia Lorca are all honoured and have some impact. The influences of Byron, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, T.S Eliot and Edwin Arlington Robinson are also there to see.
Chapters and poems muse on various locations: from isolation in New Zealand to the bustle of Bristol and Birmingham, as well as calmness of the Malvern Hills or The Isle Of Man. Villa Park, home of Aston Villa F.C. also features. This is not only a development of a poetic voice from first writing to publication, but also the development of a young man open about his struggles, passions, mistakes, relationships and emotions.