Do you have a life situation that’s grieving you? Noor Shirazie’s creative way with words can turn your pain into poetry. That’s exactly how the first book in her debut series, Into the Wildfire, came about. The Australian-Pakistani-Iranian author studied at Bahrain School and calls the island her second home. We caught up with this blogger turned author during her recent trip to Bahrain.
Noor sketched this front cover where one hand is holding on tightly, while the other has already let go. It symbolises how we try to clutch onto those who have either chosen to move forward or had no choice but to leave. To create this, Noor took a photo of her hands and used that as a reference point.
Tell us more about Mourning Departures.
Mourning Departures is the first of four titles in the Into the Wildfire series. I began writing in 2012 and posted my work online through social media sites, Tumblr being the most prominent. After gaining a viewership of 19,900 people, I decided to publish my work into a collection. It features poems based on my own personal experiences, as well as those that reflect the stories of others. People would write to me on Tumblr with issues they were going through, and they would ask me to turn their situation into a poem. This was part of the reason I decided to publish this series – to speak on behalf of those that may not be able to articulate their hardship.
What got you to write the book?
This book came about after writing thousands – literally, thousands – of short poems on Tumblr. I began writing after a particular friendship ended and realised how natural it felt to turn to that creative outlet. I also had feedback that my poems had helped readers of my blog.
Your highlight of the whole experience?
The knowledge that every piece is written because of a lesson. Whether that lesson was based on a positive or negative experience, it is out there to help whoever reads it. Poetry allows you to read a piece that may mean one thing to you and something completely different to someone else. Half the magic of writing lies within the reader.
How has Bahrain influenced you?
Bahrain, to this day, feels like a second home. The culture feels familiar, as does the city and the heartwarming people within it. In some of my writing, I touch on the importance of a sense of belonging, of community, of the physical definition of home. It wasn’t until I found myself in a brand new city – Boston – for college that I understood what I took for granted in Bahrain.
What are the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th titles in the series about?
The second title will be about topics that people suffer internally, for the most part. These include topics like anxiety, depression, insecurity, and loneliness. The third is about your turning point, finding a way back to sanity, and healing. Lastly, the final book will be about your personal revolution, recognising that you are good enough, channeling self-love back into yourself, and taking charge of your identity. The manuscripts for these are ready and I hope to publish them soon.
I am falling into despair, unable to determine whether to hold on or let your phantom slip further away.
It taints everyone I know.
Everyone begins to resemble you, and yet, they will only plant weeds where you once grew a bed of roses.
Who knew you and I were so horribly brittle?
I am broken glass.
I am the questions you leave unanswered
in the corner of the room.
I am a fragment of what I worked so hard for.
Damn you for stealing away so much of who I once was.