“Many things inspire me to write or help to get me out of a non-writing funk. Some are obvious, like reading other writers, especially poets, to get me re-excited about language and wanting to put down words. Some are less obvious, like sadness. I’m not sure I can recommend sadness as motivation, and I don’t imagine it would work for everyone, but I’ve found that I’m most prolific when I’m in an emotionally heavy place. I don’t mean rock-bottom sadness, because when that happens, even reading can feel like pulling myself uphill. What I mean is the kind of melancholy that comes with reflection, or maybe it’s better to call it a search for something both bigger than whatever is causing me to feel sad and contains the root of that sadness, or of all sadness.
Perhaps that sounds pretty depressing, but I don’t think it has to be. Writing is where I can probe what ails us, whether it’s something individual, like the loss of a loved one, or something broader, like societal systems that keep getting in our way. For me, that quest is not devoid of hope, but the opposite. The search for a story that grapples with failure, with loss, with repression, and in the process uncovers hope and finds joy, returns me to writing time and time again.”
—Dima Alzayat, author of Alligator (Two Dollar Radio, 2020)