Please help me welcome Guest Author this week on the Writer's Journey Blog, Mr. Jay M. His is quite a journey... Enjoy! (I would like to call your attention to the Special Request at the end of the article.)
For as long as I can remember, I have been good friends with words, and since they call me a typical Gemini - I feel obliged to perform a swinging act between moments of quiet intensity, and a penchant to revel in the ridiculous. Over a quagmire - never forget the quagmire of embarrassment.
I come from a family of readers; of everything from fine literature to the day before yesterday's newspaper (some I suspect, biscuit packets too, secretly) and since this is a respectable publication, and in deference to Elaine's grace, I shall endeavour to rein in the ridiculous, and make sense.
Coming from a typical 70's middle class family in India, where being able to speak English well was regarded as a matter of pride, my parents, especially my mother, fed my natural childhood curiosity for languages (we spoke 4 languages at home), and my sense of wonder and amazement, with children’s books all the way from distant England, where a kind relative resided, and who was gracious enough to provide an endless supply for years on end. I was enraptured, but my curiosity was insatiable, and soon I found myself trying to write rhymes and little tales which made no sense to anyone, but seemed like refined work to me; and before long, I found myself trying to read and translate my father’s poems written in Gujarati, into English, borrowing from my older sisters erudition, and my mother’s persistence (if you begin, finish - the pages should keep turning)
This lesson in persistence from my mother helped me write through all kinds of weather, and I think of her, the only member of my family who couldn't speak English, as my first teacher; and by the time I was in the fourth grade, I began to suffer the misfortune of being a budding poet in an all-boys school. A day without a black eye felt strange.
Encouraged by Father Giles, the school principal and a Jesuit priest, I began to write essays for inter school competitions, coming back every year with fresh ideas gleaned from the 36 hour, 2 thousand km. one way train journeys undertaken to grandma's home for summer vacations. The ever changing landscape and imagery, the variety of language, smells, dress, people - left an indelible imprint upon my mind, fed my wanderlust, and forms the basis of my poetry and stories now. Not to forget the dappled sunlight streaming through the mango tree grove amidst which my childhood home was situated, and the birdsong - which provided the perfect setting for long, lazy afternoon writing sessions. Ah! Solitude.
High school, and misfortune ended - Miss fortune smiled. My words gained popularity as foes became friends and writing sappy love poems to help them woo the ladies, or writing creative, funny little insults on a rival’s behalf to derail a particular wooing bid became my first paying gigs. The pockets jingled, Father Giles frowned in his beard, a wooing of my own happened, and that was the end of my budding career as a love guru/ divorce lawyer. Words! What will you do...
College, and I began writing satire and travel pieces for the local newspapers, thank you P.G. Wodehouse, and Paul Theroux. Then, the perennially annoying thing called making a living happened, and writing took a back seat, but never stopped backseat driving; and here we are, tossing words in the air, hoping they rain down as flowers, or laughter - The pages should keep turning.
"Creativity is conjuring magic from the mundane"
JayM is a writer from Mumbai, India - who strives to make sense of the increasingly ambiguous, multiple, paradoxical, and intolerant world around him through his verse, and prose. He writes poetry - free verse and Haiku; and satire based upon his travels across India. He likes to think he's funny, writes longhand, has bad handwriting, loves trains, and has been passionate about words for as long as he can remember.
A communications professional by profession, Jay is also a trained speech therapist (he works as a volunteer for children with cleft chins and other speech impediments among the tribal population in the forested regions near his city); is an avid reader, and an intrepid traveller. His love for reading began at an early age (a family of readers), and writing, not long after. Jay's poetry is inspired by the birdsong from amongst the mango tree groves near his childhood home, Keats, and Wordsworth. His satire, as he likes to say - by the long funny bone, or the funny long bone his family tree picked with Tarak Mehta - the famous Indian playwright and humorist, his grand uncle removed once; and P.G. Wodehouse. He blames his worn shoes, and the hole in his socks on Paul Theroux.
A loving husband, and a doting father to his four-year-old daughter, Jay's poetry has an element of melancholy within its intensity. Occasionally his works will spring a surprise with streaks of passion - which forms the base of his nature. With his poetry, Jay hopes to partake in the daily lives of people through his words and imagery - to bring a moment of respite at the end of a stressful day; maybe momentary, but elemental.
His work has appeared in several international publications of note. His humorous novel " Great Rail Tales - The First Peal" is a work in progress, to be ready soon (read written, to be typed) He has also written several travel, and satirical pieces for English dailies in India in the past, in another life.
Armed with an MA in English Literature, a Masters in Marketing Communications, and a wry sense of humour, JayM takes life with a pinch of salt, and advocates that doing so makes it highly palatable.
Best Poetry: https://www.bestpoetryonline.com/?s=jaym
Poetica - Anthology by Clarendon House Books
/Inner Circle Writers Magazine: www.claredonhousebooks.com
The Writers Club: https://greythoughts.info/clubpieces/glass-ceiling
Literary Yard: https://literaryyard.com/?s=jaym
The World of Myth:
Academy of The Heart and Mind:
Jay has also been chosen to be part of the upcoming "Who's Who of Emerging Writers 2020," brought out by Steven Lester Carr of Sweetycat Press.
This young family is going through a terrible ordeal - JayM has suffered a third stroke in 6 months, and the cost of specialized medical care has left them in a serious financial bind. Various author friends have committed profits from their book sales towards his cause. A PayPal link set up by his writer friends for those who would voluntarily be willing to donate towards his recovery, is also active. The link is: paypal.me/authorjaym