I was born and raised in the metropolitan area of Philadelphia, Pa. I grew up in a community called Glenside and as soon as I was old enough to take the train alone, Center City Philadelphia, became my playground. The area has now become a popular destination for city dwellers who want to raise families, and have a small town vibe, but still be close to a major city. Currently, my wife and I live in Sarasota, Fl. and earlier I lived in St. Petersburg, Fl. where I raised my son.
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
Having moved back and forth, several times over the years, from Philly to Florida, I have a connection to both as my home. And the greatest thing about each, always comes back to nature and the outdoors. Philly had the best of both worlds, nature and city life. Plus the arts, history and culture at my fingertips. Sarasota also has these important attributes. Which is why my wife and I chose it. Pennsylvania is home to picturesque landscapes in and around the city, and it is great for hiking and cycling. The farm lands are spectacular and the mountains are stunning. However, Sarasota is quite the opposite, it offers a warm/hot climate, tropical wildlife, blue skies and the Gulf of Mexico is in our backyard.
What turns you on creatively?
There are so many things that get me going creatively. I’m also a Visual Artist, in fact, painting was my “entry drug” into the Arts. From there the creative world opened very wide for me, and access to the Arts at my University, UArts in Philadelphia, was crucial to my exposure. I took a creative writing course, as part of my BFA program and discovered I had a knack for writing. This led me to explore a poetry class, and that was kinda crazy, back then I didn’t quite get it. But obviously it stuck with me. Things that get me jazzed up on a daily basis, show up in my poetry, and usually involve the insanity of our world, our politics and history, as well as family, people, and the beauty and mystery of our Universe.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
Ugh, that’s a tough one. So many great words. I do use the word fractured often. I like the sound and feeling of it, it’s impactful and punchy. Words express feelings and thoughts, often in a lyrical manner, and fractured feels like a percussion instrument, like the drums or the piano. And, as it takes a life of its own, as writing does, I’ve created a little poem using the word.
The clouds collided and fractured the sky, exposing a rift in the realm. Do we cower and clamor for cover? As the world is deciding what it will become.
What is your pet peeve?
One of my biggest pet peeves is inefficiency. I really can’t stand it when I see people working harder, not smarter. I am the biggest critic of myself in that arena. Efficiency strikes at the core of my incessant need to seek truth. This may seem a stretch for some but I find them inextricably intertwined. And, as an artist I am always searching for that kernel of truth. Be that in the workplace/business, on the canvas, on the page, or in my communication.
What defines Jay Mora-Shihadeh?
I’m an introvert at heart, as many writers are, but I do enjoy the social community of small gatherings. I am a person of intellect, grit and deep respect for humanity. I have to work creatively at something everyday, especially artistically. I am wildly devoted to my wife, son and dog. I find satisfaction and joy in connecting on a genuine level with people, and engaging in feisty but respectful debate. I am spiritually moved by our Universe, the mystery of our natural world, and the history of anything and everything.
Jay Mora-Shihadeh (he/him) is a Poet and Artist born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, currently residing in Sarasota, FL. Informed by his deep love of Art, Nature and Social Justice, Jay pens emotional, vivid poems. The poetry conveys a myriad of tales, rich in expression, often reflecting on his experiences growing up in a large-extended-family. A family which hails from the Palestinian Diaspora on his father's side, and the trickle-down-effects of his Irish American mother's 'orphan mindset'. His work is published at Spillwords Press, New York, NY, Freeverse Revolution a Literary Magazine, Masticadores USA an online literary publication, and Lucy’s Works and Co., a Little Writing Workshop of Horror. You can read more of Jay’s writing on his blog “The Artist from the Inside Out.”