BWS 05.11.14: : Sheniz Janmohamed 


Sheniz Janmohamed is a spoken word artist, author, artist educator and the Artistic Director of Sufi Poets Series. Her work has been featured at the TedXYouth Conference (Toronto, 2010), Indian Summer Festival (Vancouver, 2012) and the Jaipur Literature Festival (India, 2013). Sheniz has been published in a variety of journals including West Coast Line, Catamaran Literary Reader and SUFI Journal. She has published two collections of poetry: Bleeding Light (2010) and Firesmoke (2014).

Sheniz drops by the blog today to answer some questions she’s commonly asked… and asking.

“So what do you do full-time?”
Yes, Sheniz, what DO you do full-time?

Borrow books from the library, get fined for overdue books, and return them–unread.
Drink coffee and sit in front of my blank screen, and write one paragraph before surrendering to Buzzfeed.
Sit around whining about the fact that there is no work for writers, poets and arts educators in this city.
Lug myself out of bed and find myself doing everything I can possibly do without writing.
Take photos of leaves. Instagram them.
Sink into my seat on the GO bus, reading a back issue of a magazine I thought I’d read the minute it arrived in the mail.
Ask myself what I’m doing with my life.
Silence my phone (text me).
Think about the next book. Not write, but think. Think, think, think.
Stay up until 3 a.m. doing “research,” which undoubtedly involves an old sitcom featuring Dame Judi Dench.
Realize I have deadlines. Swear at my laptop. Write. Press send. Realize I made a grammatical mistake. Re-send.

“But writing must be easier for you, it’s what you do.”

It took me a week to figure out how to write an eloquent email response to another writer.
After I published my latest blog post, I realized there was a typo. This happened five times.
I read poems I’ve written (and published) and think about how I could’ve written them differently.
Birthday cards have become my responsibility. I have to prove that I can write greetings worthy of my “writer” status.

“So what inspires you?”
Too many things to even begin to understand.

Today, it’s the dog barking outside my window.
Tomorrow, it could be the perfect cup of coffee.
Yesterday, it was the Lord of the Rings soundtrack.
Last week, it was a red leaf on the sidewalk.

“So how do you pay your bills?”
I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Speaking of which, can you lend me a twenty?

Sheniz Janmohamed visits the Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 — full of beans Coffee House & Roastery, 1348 Dundas St. W., Toronto (7pm, PWYC) — along with Carole Giangrande, IF the Poet and Zoe Whittall. Come early, too (6:30) for for Rock Your Cover Design: How to Create a Captivating Cover that Captures Your Book’s Vision, a special talk by Suzanne Alyssa Andrew, author of Circle of Stones (Dundurn, 2015).


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