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Being a Writer in a Heartless World–Guest Post by Jaylan Salah

Jaylan is a new friend from Egypt via Twitter. I loved her beautiful prose on her Tumblr, and was so excited when she volunteered to do a guest post here on my blog. I love what she has to say about being a writer.

editing

Being a Writer in a Heartless World

First of all, thank you Delilah Night for having me here. Visiting a blog feels like visiting a friend’s home for the first time. And the first impression, even if it never lasts, always has this tinge of excitement and anti…cipation.

Sorry Dr. Frank-N-Furter. I couldn’t help but quote.

Once upon a time, writers were considered sacred human beings.

They were gods, demi-gods, prophets, creatures everybody got so curious about but knew they were unattainable. Something of the extreme extraordinary, an untouchable, in peculiarly a bad and a good way.

This is not the case nowadays.

Apart from a few people who actually find something that they really want to do, being a writer has become a wish, a desirable profession. Why? I honestly have no fucking clue. But still, as days go by and social media become crazier and more invested in people’s lives, writing becomes even more of an everyday act. How would people fill their Facebook statuses and their Twitter boxes if not with words? Yes, jobs like graphic designers, photographers and actors have also acquired too many admissions to count, but these are all “braggy” professions, ones that could bring their seekers –despite their lack of talent- actual profit.

I mean, even lousy graphic designers could make a living out of designing book covers for amateur writers, or designing logos for startups that have no clue why they started up. Photographers would find it so damn easy to make a living out of taking photos of their friends’ as they get married, get fucked or simply want to celebrate a newborn baby, not to mention how many girls are into modeling and for that they would go through thick and thin to have their sultry, sexy photos taken by an “affordable” professional photographer.

As for actors, well, people have been dying to become actors ever since Hollywood became Hollywood. It’s the easiest way to get girls –and guys- make money and become popular which is –in itself- the epitome of happiness for some.

But why writing?

When did writing become so fucking interesting and alluring? Why is it an object of affection with all the mess that comes along?

And who the Hell am I to speak?

I mean; I am relatively an unknown. In my country I am a struggling film critic and still haven’t published a damn book. Internationally I am a struggling film critic and poet. Who am I to judge or give an intervention?

Let me introduce myself.

Jaylan. Late twenties. Single. Hedonist. Feminist. Wolf (yes I was one in my past life and yes I believe in reincarnation and yes…that shit has also become cool and trendy I have no clue why). Writer.

Other passions include: Cinephile. Dancer. Spiritual. Singer.

That’s it?

Not really, I have a lot to offer the world. For starters, I left a decent –but boring, hellish- government job in November 2014, and ever since then I’ve been a full-time writer.

Do I make money out of this? Yes, I do. Does it offer me social and financial security? Not really, actually not at all, putting in mind I am not as active-proactive as I should be.

Then; why Jaylan? You may ask.

Actually two friends who used to be really close to me warned me against leaving my full-time job. The decent, boring and hellish job where I wasn’t getting paid as much as I wanted but at least I was considered an individual, with a job. It felt more respectful back then. I tried applying to many full-time jobs afterwards but honest to God everytime I set foot in one it felt like death; or even worse.

This doesn’t mean I made a perfectly right decision by becoming a full-time hippie. For starters, I don’t have a permanent source of getting paid. Secondly, I have no clue whatsoever what office politics mean, not that I care but still it kinda seems like a very important quality to acquire, or so I’ve heard. I take side jobs from time to time; content writing, content editing, literary translation, copywriting, etc. They’re all rotating in the same constellation but they’re what I can do to push myself forward without…

Yes, now to we come to the important part.

I cannot not be a full-time writer. Some of my very successful friends have been able to adapt, see what the society wants and BOOM! Go for it. They want me to get married, I could get a husband in a week. They want me to have a respectable job, one where I sign entrance and exit, I could do that in maybe a month or two (even though jobs are only offered to you in times where you are too busy to care, whereas when you are desperate for a job, you rarely find one).

The point is; do I want to?

The answer is no. I don’t want to become anything but a full-time writer. I have taken too many jobs to support myself and always dealt with that writing “thing” like a side dish, but now –as we speak, as I write this long post for my dear friend Delilah- it’s my main fucking course sans aperitif. I have a novel work-in-progress, a short story collection and a poetry collection in English. They are all my babies now. I have to tend for them daily; feed, bathe and change diapers. They changed from being words on blank Word docs into human beings, manifesting in the surrounding space and talking to me, confronting me about words I have or haven’t written about them. Using me as the human vessel that they need to communicate through with the strange ass world.

So writing? Yes, this fire burning within. This muscle that you need to work on and train everyday. This disease that doesn’t leave you. This joke that you make up for yourself with the “writer’s block” myth only to justify laziness or batshit boredom or disappointment from multiple rejections.

typewriter

 

Before I go, I leave you with this piece. A short poem where I wrote extensively about writing and how lonely nights greet me as I sit down and try to write:

“Originally published in theProse.com, May 2015”

Spending the Night Trying to Get Inspired

I close the door
Inspiration is an illusion, you know
Troposphere, smelling gas from a canister
Puffing out smoke
Milk glass moon
All you can do is piss on the mountain
Watch the world go brown
I try to write, but nothing comes out
Inspiration is one tricky bastard
A cobra, dancing right and left
I bend down to write
My spine grows out of my skin
My flesh bursts with a thousand loti
Angular vertebrae bask in the moonlight
Trying to taste the tears of the sacral cacti
My skin has a life of its own
and so does my spine
My armpits grow a forest
of unknown Asteraceae
plaits and plaits of blooming petals
Snakes that reach up to the seventh seal
Cobras that dance to the dreams of lonely writers
spending the nights in handcuffs
under covers, working on their lost inspiration
treading softly on lonely hearts, sleepless souls
and glasses of crescent-shaped milk
dipped in oysters of dark-rimmed moon

jaylan tumblr

 

Feel free to visit my tumblr blog

I swear there’s free booze for everybody and much more craziness than I intend to.

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