On my last trip to Saint Louis, I attended a River Stix: Hungry Young Poets reading and there I heard Teresa Lynn Hasan-Kerr’s perform for the first time. I was deeply moved by her dynamic presence and wonderful way with wielding words. We connected on social media and shortly after she announced that she was moving to Morocco to teach English. I caught up with her almost a year and a half later to ask her about her experiences writing, moving and living abroad and here is what she had to say.
Travel Artists Hub: What kind of writing do you do and why?
Teresa Lynn Hasan-Kerr: I like creative nonfiction and poetry. I think there’s enough in this world to wonder about and explore that I don’t feel the need to invent fiction. The more I realized this, I stopped watching horror movies and instead began to love documentaries more. True stories are just better. I also love editing.
TAH: How and when did you start writing?
TAH: What is your artistic focus?
TAH: What are some of your favorite themes to write about?
TLHK: I like paying attention to how the environment changes and the self changes, sometimes in tandem. Everything else is just what happens to be intriguing enough to write about.
TAH: You moved a lot when you were growing up—why and where did you live?
TAH: Where has your writing led you?
TLHK: Paris, Brussels, Memphis, and around Morocco. Most recently Fez, Casablanca, Marrakech, Tangier, and Ceuta.
TAH: Can you tell us more about how, why and where you have traveled for your writing?
TLHK: In the past Paris, Brussels, London, Tarifa…I’m wanting to go more around the Mediterranean because it’s rich with history.
TAH: How has travel influenced your writing?
TAH: Do you travel with or for your writing?
TAH: Can you tell us more about teaching English abroad and how you went about getting the teaching job?
A friend told me he got hired for a good job through Linked in and was leaving for Saudi in 10 days. I was shocked but it motivated me. So, I finally went for it and applied to schools online and got hired. I was asked to be there in 10 days. I did it.
curious to know
I’m not sure which aspect would be more appealing to you. I have incredible human beings in my classroom. I’m curious to know what they want to say once they have more English language skills. They’re pretty funny. It’s also interesting to hear your native language through people who are unconsciously bringing in concepts from outside languages.
For example, sometimes objects are referred to as “him” or “her”. As well, people’s genders tend to change mid-story. The errors and choices my students make most commonly are pretty interesting. Though, “hungry” is usually mispronounced as “hangry” which, of course sounds more alarming!
TAH: I saw online that you are a freelance writer too—what type(s) of freelance work do you do?
TAH: How do you get freelance writing gigs while traveling?
TAH: Is there a way folks can contact you if they want to work with you?
TLHK: Email is firstname.lastname@example.org
TAH: Have you seen your writing influence other art, artists or cultures?
TLHK: Absolutely not 🙂
TAH: I personally know that after I heard you read in STL, I was inspired and excited to write again—so you definitely influenced me.
TLHK: I had no idea. Um, I’m not really aware of anyone who’s been influenced by what I’ve written. : /
TAH: Has anyone come up to you after readings and spoken to you about your writings or their writings—if yes, what kinds of conversations have you had?
TAH: Do you share your writings with others while you are traveling? If yes, how?
In fact, reading isn’t as much a thing here. It’s become almost a private hobby, which is okay as long as I can keep up with contemporary lit somehow.
TAH: What are you reading?
TLHK: Some short Fiction by Murakami and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
TAH:Share your most memorable travel story.
The dream happened
When I arrived in Tangier, I met my new boss at the airport and thought, I just flew across the world and got in this man’s car after having an interview with him online. What if this whole thing’s a scam? The whole ride, instead of chatting, I was keeping an eye out for suspicious behavior. It actually made everything seem sketchy the more I looked for reasons not to trust him. I thought, I’m definitely going to disappear. But if I don’t, I’m never going to be so trusting ever again. My boss turned out to be exactly who he said he was – the director of a language school. I just had a moment of “what if”.
Three weeks later, I was so bored in my small, conservative city that I agreed to go to a party I was invited to by a stranger. I told my roommate I didn’t care if I died, I had to go find some fun! I ended up meeting the best of Morocco that that party. No regrets.
TAH: Could you share a little about your experience of living in Morocco?
I wanna learn
The thing is, no matter how long I’m here I won’t understand Moroccan life because I’m not living it. I live like a foreigner. I’m told that the best way to understand Morocco is learning Arabic and I am, but at the pace of a
TAH: How has your writing and travel connected you to the wider world?
TAH: Any future plans?
TLHK: Another move! To a bigger city.
TAH: Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for folks interested in following in your traveling footsteps?
Born a Navy brat in San Diego, California, and a nomad ever since, Teresa Lynn Hasan-Kerr earned a bachelor’s degree in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing and a minor in French at Webster University in Saint Louis, MO. Soon after graduating, she decided to follow her hunger for interesting perspectives by moving to Morocco, where she currently resides as an English teacher and writer.
Here are a few links to more writings by Teresa Lynn:
CROSSING THE CEUTA BORDER (FROM MOROCCO TO CEUTA, SPAIN BY LAND)
Here’s a story I would like to share: