The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.
Jason Bayani is the author of Amulet from Write Bloody Press. He's an MFA grad from Saint Mary's College, a Kundiman fellow, and a longtime veteran of the National Poetry Slam Scene. He's currently the program manager for Kearny Street Workshop in San Francisco and continues to perform regularly.
What's your biggest struggle — work or otherwise?
Feeling like anything you are doing is actually relevant. Believing that this pursuit you have dedicated your entire life to—that still has you living hand to mouth—wasn’t the worst decision you ever made with your life. I’d say that’s a pretty big struggle. I can say that people like my work or they like me, but is it really making any difference? I don’t know. I’d like to think, yes, but the world is very big. Or I can believe that it makes a little impact and that a little impact can still have great importance. I am always in awe of the scale of the world or the universe. Reason says nihilism is logical. But what faith I haven’t given up on tells me, “aw hell, why not?”
[jump] Describe your week in the wilderness. It doesn’t have to be ideal.
I’d spend the first day in awe of nature and grateful for the quiet and solitude. It’d give me some time to reflect on how disconnected I am to the earth and to all things and strive to make a connection that’s meaningful and lasting. Then about 2-3 days I’d probably be like, “I’m tired of being dirty. Let’s go home.”
What’s wrong with society today?
That too many people think this is the only time it’s been wrong.
How many times do you fall in love each day?
Not every day. But love got many faces. And sometimes it shows me a few.
What are you working on right now?
Trying to get a second manuscript together. I think I might have enough. I also just had a staged reading at Bindlestiff Studios of a new play I wrote. It’s something I haven’t done in 15 years and that’s going to the rewrite stage. I’m also thinking of bearing down and finally taking that cardio funk class at the gym. I mean I really want to make that $50 a month I’ve been wasting mean something.
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