Interview with @Yahialababidi: Master of Aphorisms!

@Yahialababidi is one of steem's most inspiring writers/artists/activists/thinkers in our humble opinion, and we were deeply honored that he said "yes" to being featured in @TheNewAlchemists very first artist interview!



An Egyptian-American thinker/poet, @Yahialababidi is the author of 7 critically-acclaimed books, and runs a beautifully engaged steemit blog as well.

Not only is every post beautifully penned, Yahia is also a master commenter...leaving insightful comments to everyone who engages him. He does not just write beautiful words, he also spreads a beautiful presence through his creative action on and off this site. As you may know by now, @TheNewAlchemists place high value on showcasing those artists who are committed to using their writing and work to build empathy in this world--and we consider Yahia to be a remarkable example of a human living out this ideal every day.


Without further ado, the interview!

We asked @Yahialababidi questions about his work and inspirations, and also asked him to tell us more about his upcoming project Where Epics Fail. Keep reading for more details.


@thenewalchemists asked: Tell us a little about you, and what drives you to create?



@yahialababidi answered: I've told my Coming to America story many times; so rather than telling it, again, readers can check it out, here.

I write out of an inner compulsion. Meaning, I prefer not to write if I have nothing to say, or share. This is why blogging, initially, presented something of a challenge for me. But, over the past few months, I think I'm getting into the swing of it, and learning to test my responsiveness to inner and outer worlds.


Partly, being on Steemit, feels like launching my diary into the world, which is something I think writers are almost expected to do: stand naked and bare their hearts to strangers.

Here's my latest post, for instance, where I confess to having stage fright and how I get through it in hopes it might help someone. One thing I've really enjoyed, on Steemit (as I do off it) is collaborating with fellow artists. Here's a poem of mine that Canadian music producer @rok-sivante breathed new life into


Otherwise, I blog about literary and cultural issues -sharing my enthusiasms and the occasional rant.

And because politics is an inescapable reality (especially, as a Muslim and immigrant in Trump's America) I do a little bit of that, too :) Here's a recent spot of Artivism in hopes of promoting more cultural tolerance and interfaith dialogue.



@thenewalchemists asked: What is one of your early creative projects that you are still proud of, and why?



@yahialababidi answered: Signposts to Elsewhere, my first book (of aphorisms) the bulk of which was composed between ages 19-21, though it would take me nearly a decade to publish it.


"Signposts to Elsewhere is sorbet sharp, always leaving the palate clean for another, and another…" said Mark Simpson, of The Independent (UK) ‘Books of the Year,’ 2008.


"Yahia Lababidi's aphorisms are elegant, thoughtful and wise, written proof that the art of the aphorism is still very much alive." said James Geary, author of Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists



@thenewalchemists asked: If there has been a defining moment in your creative career so far, what was it?



@yahialababidi answered: Every stage has its defining moments. First time in a magazine, in a newspaper, seeing your name on a book cover etc..

Being selected as a juror for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature (referred to as the American Nobel Prize) was pretty high up there. Having poetry of mine chosen for an internationally best-selling US college textbook, Literature: an Introduction to Reading and Writing (10th edition) another honor.

Guest editing a special issue of World LiteratureToday -recognized by the Nobel Prize committee as one of the “best edited and most informative literary publications” in the world - was last year's highlight.

Also, the fact that the WLT special issue it was a theme close to my heart, "Belief in an Age of Intolerance" and that I was able to bring onboard literary heroes of mine, like Stephen Mitchell and Robert Bly.



@thenewalchemists asked: What is the most meaningful work to you personally that you’ve written?



@yahialababidi answered: My forthcoming book,Where Epics Fail, means the most to me, to date, because it is the latest version of my soul -- the sum of everything I know, so far.

It's also the book that's taken the longest time to produce of the other 6 volumes I've published to date.


I am very grateful that it's off to an auspicious start, having been featured on PBS Newshour & endorsed by President Obama's inaugural poet, Richard Blanco.

Readers, who might be interested, can order a hardcover version or and e-copy, directly from my publishers, and receive them in July, just in time for the summer :)



@thenewalchemists asked: Why did you decide to write WHERE EPICS FAIL, and what should readers know about the piece?



@yahialababidi answered: I never quite, consciously, decide to write a book.

Whether poems, essays, conversations or aphorisms, as is the case with Epics they are assembled or compiled. Meaning at some point after a few years of working in one form, I'll step back and realize, here's a book! Epics is composed of around 800 original aphorisms, which I define as "what is worth quoting from the soul's dialogue with itself." You can watch the video trailer here,, or below, to get an idea of how far-ranging this project is.




@thenewalchemists asked: And because all thinkers and creatives must unwind, what is your favorite thing to do that affirms your own existence and helps you to relax?



@yahialababidi answered: Reading helps but, most of all, Silence is how I recharge after so much mouthing off.



And that concludes @TheNewAlchemists very first artist interview on steemit! We are so proud that we were able to feature @Yahialababidi in particular and look forward to introducing you to more incredible artivists (artist + activist) soon. Until then--fly and be free.


JOIN THE NEW ALCHEMISTS DISCORD CHANNEL --> It’s for artists and creative minds of all backgrounds!



Find out more about us.
ArtSearch | Visual Art with @Afrikablr, Bilingual
ArtSearch | Music with @Falseyedols
ArtSearch | Visual Art with @Lymepoet
ArtSearch | Digital Art with @Mandelsage
Do You Believe that Art Transcends Language?
Using Art to Build Empathy | Case Studies
Submit Your Application to be an ArtSearch Curator!
Logo Contest | Design the ArtSearch Logo for @TheNewAlchemists!
Artsearch Weekly Digest | Introduction and Call for Curators!
Getting to Know The New Alchemists
New Outlet for Performing + Visual Artists on Steemit



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So glad to see @Yahialababidi featured, he's a great talent and as you say here, he offers so much with every action and interaction!

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Bless your heart, @natureofbeing. As you know, Art heals. What a privilege to be called upon to lead this life of service _/|\_

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Hey @natureofbeing always lovely to see you stopping by and we absolutely couldn't agree more. :)

Excellent choice for an interview, it's been my great pleasure to know @yahialababidi, a truly inspiring human being!

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You're sweet to say so, dear @dreamit, and I, too, am grateful for the knowledge of you :) Thank you, for your kind attention and warm support. Stay blessed, friend. _/|\_

wow he is great, this is an example of inpsirasi for others.

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Ya we agree! Thanks for the support @alhidayat!

Lovely

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Thank you @afrikablr. <3

This is lovely, thank you, for all you do for artists! @lilyraabe, you're a class act with a big heart, enviable energy and contagious enthusiasm <3 I'm very grateful for this generous (and artistic!) profile and wish you all continued success with your fine work _/|\_

World Peace.jpg

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And thank you for saying yes to the feature. :) Feel the same way about your work here--people like you are what inspire and excite me about this platform. The opportunity to connect with amazing folks I'd never meet otherwise is so wonderful!

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It was easy to accept, knowing I was in the good hands of a kindred spirit. I really appreciate what you say about placing high value on showcasing those artists who are committed to using their writing and work to build empathy in this world. This is a noble goal to aspire to, and will keep me on my tip toes :) Much Love <3

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So much love going around! <3

A very inspiring interview for me

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Thank you so much for checking it out! <3

Wow I knew @Yahialababidi was great but I didn’t realize how GREAT! Nice interview, I got to know more about one of my favorite steemit writers! Thanks

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Haha, yea, he's pretty spectacular, right? It's amazing how this platform connects us to such brilliant folks so easily! Thanks for stopping by to read this. :)

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Indeed its like the next step before telepathy LOL. Grateful for the interview you did. Much appreciated man.

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Indeed its like the next step before telepathy LOL. Grateful for the interview you did. Much appreciated man.

really good stuff man, thanks for joining the discord, glad to have you there.

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Just seeing this, now, new friend; thank you, for your interest and support!

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just seeing this now :) good to know you my friend, say hi from time to time so I can follow your progress