Passion and determination soared their way through the rural areas of Portland, Jamaica some fifteen years ago! There, they found and lifted the wings of a budding writer and talented creative— facilitating her ascent into a world where words hold immeasurable power. Years later, Lorris Shuriah– having stuck to her guns; a maintained commitment to her craft– is now a 24-year-old published poet of two ebooks; Voice of a Poet and Hear no evil, Speak no evil revolutionary pipelines. Some of her creative work can also be found on our “Creative Pieces” page. Lorris awarded us the chance last month, to get to know her a little better.
AT WHAT AGE DID YOU START WRITING AND HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THIS PASSION?
Lorris: I started writing at the age of 9. At first it was just something I would do whenever I got tired of playing with my dolls, it was then in the 6 grade at the primary level I realized that maybe I’ll end up being a writer. I had written a poem as a class assignment and my teacher at that time suggested that I should become a writer. To be honest my future ambitions were to become a Doctor and I don’t think it is a loss because I feel as though I can save lives with my writing and I get to be creative with words, inspiring people from across the world.
WHAT ABOUT THE PRACTICE/ART OF WRITING BRINGS YOU BACK TO IT, EVERY TIME?
Lorris: Finding a beat to the words, as if I’m writing a song because really I started with practicing songwriting then it transformed into poetry writing, hence most of my poems becoming lyrics to unfinished songs I have written. So for me it’s the rhythm I’ve always been used to finding back then, now whenever I get to writing these days, the beat and rhyming scheme of each line are usually what takes me back.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR OVERALL FEELING AND EXPERIENCE AS A WRITER IN JAMAICA?
Lorris: My overall feeling is that I’m being underrated, only seen as a potential and less of a professional. To most it’s just a hobby. “Okay she has an IG page with poems that we love”, that kinda stuff. I have experienced situations where if you don’t know a certain person or have a link into this industry then it’s difficult trying to gain recognition or even make a name of your own. I wouldn’t say that it is easy, nothing like Sunday mornings but it is somewhat rewarding, that is if “made Jamaican” takes off on international soil. People here merely appreciate the level of creativity creative personnel possess, it takes outsiders to see that before it becomes adored and applauded at home, half the time.
Improvements that I would really love to see are more effort being made to invest in the creative fields, a stage/platform for all aspects of creativity in spite of colour, background and lifestyle so that local creatives can reap the success they sew and of course credit given to those contributing to the industry.
YOU POST SOME GREAT PIECES ON YOUR IG PAGE, WHAT GAVE YOU THE CONFIDENCE TO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE LIKE THAT?
Lorris: Desire. I wanted to share with the world what I’m able to do with words and sometimes I surprise myself and I get to imagine that expression on someone else’s face and know that it is actually happening, someone is reading my poem or whatever it is I do with words and they feel me. I’m thirsty for that; people’s reaction towards every single lyric I design. It was kind of a “I need to do this.” Why keep all these pages to myself? I thought and I felt like showcasing my talent to others. It was always in the back of my mind. I guess it was all about timing.
THE SUBJECTS AND THEMES OF YOUR WORK ARE OFTEN HEAVY AND SOMETIMES LIGHT. WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO TAKE ON A PARTICULAR TOPIC?
Lorris: Unconventional events, something which strike my senses. I love being caught in the moment of things, mostly strange and questionable because I love to experiment. Whenever I write it is never a “get to it at once” or “waking up it’s a new day write a poem”. No, it comes out of the ordinary. I have to run into unexpectedness to really express my creative self.
WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO GO WITH YOUR WRITING?
Lorris: Hollywood. I know that is most writers ultimate dream but that has always been my definite dream from the days of the Harry Potter films and Lord of the Rings. I got so into movies that I wanted to start writing movie scripts and I told myself that I have to become a screenplay writer. It has nothing to do with fame, has never been in my intentions. It’s more of what I want to do with film and Hollywood, I feel like I have my own exceptional touch to add to the art of writing movies and I want to be legendary, that influence and my films being an addiction to those out there who are movie lovers. I’m thinking of something more than extraordinary, somewhere no writer has ever gone before.