Jeremy M. Brownlowe is a 34 year old poet/writer known as Typewriter Troubadour (the name under which I first met him). Born into a military family, Jeremy found himself moving around every year or two until he got to high school. Once he graduated, he found himself out on the road again. He ended up here in San Diego just about a year ago, and has just recently published his new book, Typewriter Troubadour, a compilation of poems he has written on the road, “Poems On Various Topics, For Various People, In Various Places," reads it's subtitle. With a couple publications under his belt, Jeremy has plans to continue writing novels with the intention of helping people understand what it is to be human. Although he has found great success, the journey to get to where he is today wasn’t always easy.
Jeremy started writing pretty frequently by the time he entered the 4th grade. He enjoyed reading things like “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, mystery books, and suspense books, and based a lot of his early writings on these frameworks. Once he got older and entered middle school, he began writing poetry to express his feelings as an “angsty teen.” He ended up turning a lot of these poems into songs (as he also plays the guitar), but was very protective over his writing. He even tended to sing in a way where people couldn’t really understand what he was saying, and expressed that he would have felt mortified if anyone were to stumble upon his words and read about his feelings.
Growing up, Jeremy had trouble understanding himself as an individual. A lot of the time, he felt as though he didn’t fit in with the expectations of his family or those around him. As a child, he was placed in sports like baseball, hockey, and basketball, and often times felt like an outsider. Due to his family’s military background, he usually ended up being “the new kid”. Once Jeremy graduated from high school, he hit the ground running on this adventure we call life. When he was 18, he moved to Portland, Oregon for it's inexpensive cost of living and prominent creative environment. He worked hard to find himself as an artist and to come to terms with who he was. Faced with a lot of inner turmoil based on what he thought it meant to be an artist, he often times questioned how much of himself he would have to compromise in order to “make it”.
Through his 20’s, he continued to write songs, and had a job writing articles for a local magazine. He experienced a lot of writer’s block though, which he described as being feelings of self consciousness and significant pressure from within to be unique. He was very caught up in what other people would think, so it was difficult for him to just let the words flow out onto paper. He was constantly “editing” himself as he was writing instead of just letting it happen.
At 28, Jeremy found himself feeling lost and confused with life, and eventually packed his things into his car, grabbed his typewriter, and hit the road for a three month trip across the country. Along the way, he was given the idea to try and create poetry on the fly for people on the streets in order to potentially make a few extra bucks here and there. Jeremy called this journey a “revelational trip” because he had now found a way to make money with poetry. It was a very meaningful and spiritual experience for him, and allowed him to feel as though he was in service of humanity. It also helped him address some of his own internal struggles.
By the time he returned from his trip, Jeremy had awakened to his gender identity, a transgender man. He had felt lost with this aspect of his identity throughout his whole life, but it wasn’t until this point in time that he took action to work toward becoming the person he always felt he was. At 29 years old, Jeremy began going to therapy in order to start to better understand what it was that he was feeling and experiencing, and by 31 he began hormone replacement therapy. He eventually underwent top surgery, a surgery that many transgender men go through, which is a chest reconstruction procedure to give the patient a more desired physical appearance. As he was going through this transition, he had another relationship tragically fell apart, causing him to feel as though the chapter of his life that existed in Portland was coming to an end. It was hard for him to pursue his poetry and to be in service of humanity in this city due to the weather and constant rain, and he began to feel very depressed.
Needing a way out, Jeremy ended up on the road again, trying to find himself and regain meaning in his life. He was grieving over a relationship he lost, and not in the healthiest of ways. While out on the road, he was drinking and partying a lot, sleeping on couches, and was overall very unproductive. He felt homeless and eventually had to snap himself out of this mindset and lifestyle because he “wasn’t living up to his purpose.” Shortly after this healthy revelation, he took matters into his own hands and found himself in San Diego where he has been living out of his van for the past year.
Once Jeremy reached San Diego, he began to settle down and slow things down. He worked hard on reconnecting with himself and becoming healthier both spiritually and physically. He began practicing yoga and eating healthier which has helped him get back on track to meet his goals; putting his personal story out into the world, inspiring people to follow their dreams and pursue their passions, and allowing people to reflect their own life story through his poetry. He hopes to give people a chance to hear the voice of a transgender man that isn’t completely tragic, but still show people that struggle and overcoming obstacles is a necessary aspect of personal growth. Growing up, it was difficult for Jeremy to be comfortable with being vulnerable, so it is a desire of his to try and help people break down those walls and to diminish the inherent fear of opening up and letting your guard down.
Jeremey has worked extremely hard to understand himself and to become the person he is today. There were a lot of ups and downs in his life that caused stress on his writing career, but he has definitely come out on top. With the recent publication of what he imagines being a coffee table book, and plans for a new novel, Jeremy still occasionally has fears over not being taken seriously, over how people will react to how he portrays them in his novel, and over how people will react to his life story. It is difficult to not think about those things when sharing your life to the entire world, but Jeremy is a strong individual with a voice that demands to be heard.