With the excuse of the International Freelance Writers Appreciation Week, we decided to interview Taylor Belgeri, a talented freelance writer from our community, for our #makersmemoirs series. We wanted to know what stories she had to tell us, and we were really surprised. Although if you want to see her work or browse her profile, you have to come and talk to her in person at MOB Caterina. Can you believe she doesn’t use social media?
Tell us a bit more about yourself.
My name is Tay. I’ve been in Barcelona for a few years. Since I’ve been here, I’ve launched my creative and freelance careers. The people are motivating, and I’ve found so much inspiration in other artists in the city. I still go to MACBA to smoke. I watch the sunset from my terrace. My chihuahuas are thriving. After living in Brooklyn for five years, Barcelona has been my reawakening. And I’m really happy to continue building my dreams at MOB.
How did you become a writer? Did you always know that was the career you wanted to pursue?
I wrote stories when I was little but never thought I could make a career from daydreaming. I’m from a working-class area, so the closest I got to art for a long time was my mom’s prized Rod Stewart portrait. It’s hand-painted.
I graduated college with a focus on indigenous rights and sovereignty, then started writing private and public grants for a non-profit in Brooklyn. It was also a Native American biker club, so life was interesting. The writing was boring, but it had meaning. It brought money to artists and got me on the back of a Harley. After that, I moved on to menial jobs in order to carve out time for creative writing. I cleaned apartments, transcribed 911 calls, worked at a pizzeria that I’m positive was part of a money-laundering scheme, and some other colorful gigs to support my dreams. So, a career in writing kind of nagged at me. It took a few years to figure out how I wanted to figure into the writing scene, and then how to get there. Right now, I have a nice balance between freelance and creative work.
I wrote stories when I was little but never thought I could make a career from daydreaming.
Which one is your favorite MOB location to work and why?
I work at MOB Caterina. It’s my favorite location to work at because it feels really light and conducive for work. The people are lovely, too! I tend to be very quiet and in my own world in general, and especially while working. Being around others can be a challenge, but I feel very comfortable and confident at MOB Caterina. “Fabulous, darling!” -RuPaul voice.
What is the kind of writing you enjoy the most?
Freelance work takes me to some interesting topics… but I enjoy writing speculative fiction books more. Speculative fiction uses light sci-fi and fantasy elements, typically based in the ‘real world’. I like switching up basic concepts, like time and space. My first project used two timelines. They move in opposite directions before uniting at the end, like a palindrome. Right now, I’m completing a project about a sentient island. It’s been enjoyable to imagine land as a character and build a narrative arc for this island. What does the land want, and how does it get it? Is it moral? I rely on a lot of real-world research. Last year, I got really into bats and underground fungi networks.
Looking ahead, I’d like to incorporate VR into my repertoire by combining audiobooks with visual stimuli. I have synesthesia myself, so the idea of blending sensorial experiences is a priority for me. But I think my goals with VR are also born from the fan girl in me. I really love the genre of fantasy, and I’d love to take my readers into a specific scene through VR. Imagine Frank Herbert’s Dune as a virtual audiobook, with visuals as a secondary support. Or even Octavia Butler’s Kindred. Both are fantasy books with strong socio-political messages.
The idea of blending sensorial experiences is a priority for me.
What advice would you give to all the freelance writers out there beginning their careers?
Something that helped me at first was asking for feedback. Anytime I started a new job, I tried to ask how to improve and responded with a lot of enthusiasm. That helped open the door to a lot of opportunities. My employers were willing to teach me more and take me onto more projects because we communicated well together. One job led to another.
The internet became an invaluable resource, as well. Anytime I struggled with a project, I’d find inspiration from the best piece I could find online. Seriously. I’d just Google it.
And anytime I struggle with my voice or confidence, I wonder the mysteries of Hunter S. Thompson. He helped invent a new type of journalism. But was he wearing pants while he did it? Probably not. Was he high on mescaline? Absolutely. Did he make his deadlines? Hard no.