As an emerging and aspiring writer, I was thrilled to be accepted to the Diaspora Dialogues Mentorship Program in 2011. Although, at the heart of it, I’ve always been a writer, it’s only in the past few years that I’ve been making more active efforts to turn my writing into a professional endeavour. Being paired with author and poet, Moez Surani, offered me valuable one-to-one attention on my short story, “Birds of Sorrow.” The piece is about a young couple living in Toronto, facing the death of a parent, learning about themselves and the inevitable life cycles no one can escape.
In my writing, I aim to capture the complicated moments that drive us in any particular direction. I focus on the feelings and experiences that force us to make hard choices, more so than the choices themselves. My mentor helped me to not only maintain that emphasis, but to do so with greater clarity about the depth and dimensions of my characters, and the contexts in which these moments occurred. Doing so added layers of complexity to my work. In writing, this is a skill I will carry with me beyond “Birds of Sorrow.”
Working with Diaspora Dialogues has been a great experience, challenging me to propel my writing to a new level and introducing me to a talented community of writers right here in the bustling city of Toronto.