APIARY Magazine is proud to announce HOW YOU LIVIN?, a new monthly interview series by JASMINE COMBS! Read below for Jasmine's intro to the series, and then check out the links past interviews:
So I have my degree...now what?
Since I was five years old, all I’ve wanted to do is write. I fell in love with books as soon as I learned how to read them and I decided that I wanted to be someone who created worlds people could get lost in; I wanted to be an author. As I grew up, this dream grew and developed into a more general desire to be a part of the production of a book (not necessarily written by myself) in any capacity. I wanted to work in the publishing industry, so when college rolled around I decided to major in English, thinking that would give me the tools to pursue this career. After I graduated and spent a few months searching for a job, I realized just how wrong that thought was.
While studying English taught me a lot about literature and allowed me to produce a lot of work (mainly poems as I did the creative writing: poetry tract), I never learned what I was supposed to do with my writing and skills in order to make a living. We never learned about fellowships, places to submit, getting published, and paid writing opportunities. I didn’t realize there was so much I should’ve been doing outside of the classroom and things I should’ve been writing, aside from poetry, to make myself more marketable as a writer until the job rejections started rolling in. I felt immensely frustrated and angry with myself and this education system I wasted four years being a part of. I also realized that a lot of my fellow English majors were feeling similarly. However, unlike most of them, I had begun to establish myself off campus as a spoken word poet in Philadelphia’s literary community. This gave me the opportunity to surround myself with professionals who were already doing work similar to what I wanted to do.
I shared all of this with one of my mentors (shout out to Mr. Avery) and he gave me the most brilliant advice, “why don’t you talk to these people who are already doing what you want to do and ask them how they got there?” Sometimes the most difficult problems have the simplest solutions. Just ask. So this is me taking his advice, interviewing the professional writers, literary scholars, and creatives I know, writing about them, and sharing what I find in hopes that it will help any other lost little English majors out there figure out how to make a living doing what they love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jasmine Combs is a Black woman poet, spoken word artist, and educator from Philadelphia, PA. She recently received her BA in English from Temple University and is a Babel Poetry Collective alum.
Jasmine is the 2015 Grand Slam Champion of The Philly Pigeon Poetry Slam, a 2015 National Poetry Slam semifinalist, and a member of the 2016 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational international champion team. She is also the winner of the 2015 Apiary Magazine STUNG Writing Contest and her winning piece "Night Child" was turned into an animation.
Currently, Jasmine is an organizer for The Philly Pigeon Poetry Slam and the Spoken Word Editor of The Fem Lit Magazine. Her performances have been featured on SlamFind, Button Poetry, Blavity, and The Huffington Post. In 2014 she published her first chapbook Universal Themes.