by Jennifer Sanguano
After being diagnosed with ADHD, New Britain resident, actor and writer Yon The Rhymester decided to share his poetry to help others with the same condition.
Yon, as he likes to be called, preferred to keep his real name private and be identified as Yon the Rhymester for this article. His artistic name was created by him as a combination of the mispronunciation of his name and his ability to compose rhymes.
The Rhymester has been a character in the town for his unconventional and outspoken personality, but mostly for his work as a writer, as a performer and an ADHD advocate.
Some of his acting work in local and big-name Hollywood movies include secondary roles in “Fake” (2009) directed by Gregory Friedle and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2007) directed by Steven Spielberg.
With hundreds of poems, rough drafts and notes with inspiration for future poems, Yon’s writing skills and ability to rhyme has been showcased in various local events such as: CT Annual Writers Festival Open Mike (2008), New Britain Library Open Mike (2010) and he performed six times at the Farmington River Art Center (2010) among others.
Although his poetry has been displayed on artistic and educational events at libraries and public schools, Yon describes himself as a performer who still enjoys improvising rhymes on the street, the bus and in any place where inspiration occurs.
From a young age, Yon enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until his adulthood when his writing would become the most effective way to express his feelings and organize his thoughts.
“I had the gift of writing when I was very young,” Yon said. He was diagnosed with ADHD in 2013 at age 66, but as a child, Yon always knew he was different. He would prefer to read books more compared to other kids of his age; he enjoyed reading Freud and other philosophers instead of comics. Already as an adult, Yon was able to recognize some of his ADHD symptoms when reading a book by ADD/ADHD pioneer author Lynn Weis, “ADHD and Creativity,” which was a gift from his nephew.
“It changed my life before I did anything about it,” Yon said.
His unique amount of creativity and talent could be attributed to ADHD or what he defines as “Attention Surplus.” He explains that just like his case, there are many other ADHD cases out there that have not been diagnosed properly or detected at all. His own experience with this chronic condition resulted in a fervent need to help others who also feel different, especially children. He emphasizes that writing has been essential for dealing with ADHD.
“My poems have been a form of therapy for me, using the audience as therapists,” Yon said. His ease to relate to others with ADHD has been his motivation to write more poems about ADHD, expressing his thoughts and emotions.
Yon has been outspoken about his condition and has offered his written work to schools and other public entities. Yon recalls a time when he presented his poems about ADHD on a public school, after the presentation a group of students approached him to tell him that one their classmates related to his poems, but was not diagnosed with ADHD. Yon acknowledged his responsibility to help this student and reached out to the school superintendent and offered his poems to the school to be used by anybody that would possibly need them or enjoy them.
After this experience, Yon recognized that writing could be an effective therapy for others with ADHD just like it was for him. In 2017, he was able to meet with New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart; he read some of his poems to the mayor and her staff and gave some ideas to implement writing and reading workshops in classrooms to help children express better and treat ADHD.
Yon is currently working on an autobiography, a fiction novel and over 200 to 300 unfinished poems, plays, short stories and monologues. He hopes to keep helping others with his work and inspire other to do so as well.