I always had a proclivity for the creative, some kind of inner yearning to comprehend the confusing realities of the human condition. Since I can remember, I used to sketch, and it was always abstract art that I drew as a child, I honestly cannot remember whether it was the chaos of abstract art, or whether it was because I couldnt draw at all that brought me to that strange niche. I also used to read many philosophical treaties concerning life and existence (the internet opened the doors of knowledge for me). Occasionally I would take secretive retreats, I would hide in a dark room and write ecclectic poetry. Later I would discover the beauty of creating music, and I took to studying music theory and experimenting with various musical softwares (couldn’t afford instruments, but I could afford being an internet pirate).
And whilst I had been told through most of my life by several teachers and mentors, that I had a “knack” for writing, I never really pursued it, mainly because I didn’t feel the need to pursue it. However whenever I did write fiction, and whenever I did fall into that trance that so many artists fall into during an endeavour that devours them, I was always sure to wake up from this trance staring at something that I enjoyed reading.
Forward to 2004, I must of been around 16 back then, I was just starting to attend college in hopes of completing my A levels. It’s funny how at that age, you become able to think clearly, it almost seems as if, before adolescents, you were drifting in a strange coma. It was a time when various mental faculties begin to open, and this can be said for anyone that has gone through puberty, you begin to think of life and death, you begin to question the meaning of your existence. But with all that havoc running through my mind, I was still optimistic. You see, because I am a british-Iraqi and it was that year that Saddam had been removed, and iraq was experiencing freedom for the first few months after his removal. I guess the removal of a tyrant really helps one to think of the possibilities.
The removal of a dictator was a powerful thing to witness, from experiencing the havoc of saddomite tyranny (My Story Here) to escaping, to seeing that all powerful symbol brought before the knees of my nation, it is a feeling that simply cannot be described. However it was that optimism and blindness that would bring forth the cataclysm of my evolution. For you see, perhaps I was not ready for what fate was to bring to the people of Iraq. The savagery and murders that filled this land was devastiting to witness, and worse to hear about. Though I felt as if I had been desensitised to the injustice, I was not. For though I love the UK, and am in basic principality a londoner, the ancient land of mesopotamia still resonated within my heart. From the hanged gardens to the spiralling minarets, I was in love with the history and culture that were cultivated in these once ornate lands. It was at that age of my life, where I began to dream of eutopian societies, free from war and injustice. I suppose my sessions of prolonged contemplation and the amount of treatise I was reading helped form this.
It was after the occupation of Iraq that the images and news began to surface of complete corruption, of pain, of torment, and of injustice. They were things that I had never seen before. I heard of parentless children wandering the streets of baghdad. And as shocked and as saddned as I was, a mantra ran consistently through my mind, “things will get better, things will get better… ad infinitum.” The truth was, things did not get better, they got worse, much much worse. And one day I cracked, I saw the images of a little girl with a leg blown off, of a father carrying the burnt carcass of his once beloved son. I closed my door, and in the darkness and in the silence I wept, but I felt furuios. And, within that darkness, within that fury, in that small room, I saw my old laptop, and just like that I started to write. I didn’t know what I was writing, I didn’t know if I was going to make a difference.
I had absolutely no knowledge of publishing, marketing or any other facet of the industry. But I had that single hope, that perhaps my words would reach those that need it. Perhaps my thoughts would be able to instigate change in this world. I still question myself to this day, back then I wasn’t even aware I would write a full novel. As any author would tell you
writing a novel, can enslave you, it can destroy you internally if you are not prepared for the journey. But with each word I wrote, I felt freer, I felt uplifted, I felt compelled. It was like waking up from a dream, yet ironically getting lost in your imagnings. I think all creative endeavours offer us the opportunity to understand, that just as these products of the imagination are malleable, so is the world too also malleable. And like I had moulded this world with my mind and words, I wondered whether I would be able to do it in the world that others refer to as “reality”.
What followed were 5 years of delving into the industry and the craft; I learnt how to write, how to express difficult ideas. And just last year, I was thinking to myself, that maybe the world had changed, that maybe the world would not need to hear my story, that the story of Sarah and the Serpent would be something reserved for a world of the past. I soon realized how wrong I was, the world hadn’t changed at all. In fact it had become worse than it ever was before. I was surrounded by insurmountable injustice from all angles. After several instances, that I could only describe as synchronisities, I was re-acquainted with that old novel. So I pulled my sleaves up, looked at the work I had accumulated, and knew, that there was work to do, there was a lot of work to do. If I wasn’t going to impress my will upon this world, then this world would remain the same, and no one would rise to the challenge. And If I had done nothing and expected the world to change for me, then how ignorant of me. The fact remains that those who are inspired must rise and stand, they must accomplish the things that dwell in their mind, for if they do not, they are not living. That is how I learnt to put pen to paper, how to put mind to matter!