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Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

Bringing visibility to mental health

‘Invisibly Seen’ review and author Q&A
Invisibly Seen, a collection of poems by teen author Arrow Brake, puts a poetic spin on the mental health conversation.
Photo courtesy of Arrow Brake
‘Invisibly Seen,’ a collection of poems by teen author Arrow Brake, puts a poetic spin on the mental health conversation.

“Invisibly Seen” is a book written by Nebraska native Arrow Brake and published in June of 2023. This is Brake’s second book as he also wrote “What We Turned Into.

This book is very meaningful as it’s a collection of poems about living with mental illness, and the author can get really personal at times.

Not only is it personal, but the poems are beautifully written. The words rhyme and flow very well, like you would expect from an Eminem rap.

Pages 95 to 101 cover overdose prevention tips and a couple resources. The author is helping the reader know how to stay safe and keep others safe which is really important.

Little check-ins pop up every few pages which are really nice, and it makes the book more personal. They give the author more personality than just what’s in the poems.

The book title is fitting as it’s about being “invisibly seen” by other people since the struggle with mental health is not always visible.

Overall, I would rate this book five stars. Additionally, I recommend it to anyone who has struggled or is struggling with mental health, likes poems on the emotional side of things, or just likes mental health related books. 


Q: What inspired you to write poems?

A: I started writing when I was fifteen. I was going through a challenging time in my life where I had to be hospitalized for mental health reasons. I had a nurse hand me a red composition notebook, which ties into why my second book looks sort of similar, but she told me to write down anything so I did and just continued from there.


Q: What do you hope your readers gain or learn from reading your books?

A: As I’ve mentioned in my previous books, my goal is for people to gain an inside perspective on mental health to have a better sense of understanding, knowledge and perspective. It’s one thing to read, see and hear about it but I feel it’s very different coming from the person themselves.


Q:What was it like publishing your book as a small author?

A: If I were to say it’s been easy, that would be a complete lie. I published my first book “What We Turned Into” when I was only a junior in high school. I never had any guidance. I figured everything out by trial and error. By doing so, l’ve been able to put myself in a position where I am now a lot more knowledgeable about the publishing industry. I’ve been working since I was fifteen while also being a full time student doing any side gigs I could possibly do. It’s not cheap publishing a book. I’ve been completely on my own since I was fifteen so needless to say money was tight but I had a goal, determination and persistence to see it through.


Q: Did you always want to write poems as a way to express yourself?

A: Before writing poetry, I mostly did sketches and painting. I still do, but I always prefer to write poetry over any other form of self expression because I feel that’s the way I can express myself most clearly.


Q: If you could give one piece of general advice what would it be?

A: If you want to do something in your life, if you have any sort of goal even if it’s the smallest of things, be persistent about it. Always show up for yourself because at the end of the day, you only have yourself that’s going to see your goals through. Nobody else is going to do that for you.


Q: What advice would you give to someone struggling?

A: No matter what the people around you say, no matter what the little voice in your head says, just tune it out and keep going. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, what matters is if you get back up. Something I thought wasn’t true and just something people say is that time heals, but I’m living proof that it does. You have to take each and every day as an individual, not as a collective. Meaning, focus on now, worry about the rest later. By taking each day, one at a time, and focusing on the here rather than there, you’re putting yourself in a position to get there. Everything has a way of working out, you just have to show up and take everything day by day, one at a time.


Q: What can you tell me about your third book?

A: I’m currently in the process of writing my third book. This book is going to be a bit different than my previous two, as I am taking a dive into the criminal justice system. Currently, I am interviewing inmates across the nation actively incarcerated for drug-related offenses. As a college student majoring in journalism and minoring in psychology, I’m looking to explore multiple career options while still in school.


Q: What can you tell me about your first book?

A: My first book was a huge leap into my current career.

Doing everything by trial and error, there’s some things that I wish I would’ve done differently. I took those things and applied them towards my second book. I try to use every opportunity that comes my way as a way to progress and grow in whatever aspect that may be. Publishing my first book while still in high school and persisting through a lot of personal adversities is probably one of my most proudest achievements.


Q: Where can your books be bought?

A: My books can be purchased through any major retailer, for example: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google books, etc.



Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A: I appreciate the time, support, and positive feedback I have received about “Invisibly Seen.” I’m happy to have been able to share more about my journey and experiences as a growing author!

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About the Contributor
Daniel Vanourney
Daniel Vanourney, Lance Staff
I am Daniel Vanourney and this is my second year on Lance. I love movies and pop culture. I also love music and Halloween.
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