- What’s your least favorite thing about writing?
Short Answer: Titles. Not good at ’em.
Long Answer: Going back in. Which is weird because once I’m in, revisions are the best – it’s like being on a train. The track is there, you just have to chug along. But getting that engine going again, after all the coal has cooled and hardened, after you’ve taken a halt at the platform, working through a second cuppa, that’s hard. [END LABORED METAPHOR]
- Which author would you like to have a drink with (Dead or alive. Them, not you).
#3 if I’m being honest, but to avoid redundancy I’ll give a cop-out answer: I would have loved to have met one of my granduncles, who wrote a book chronicling the history of the little corner of India my family comes from. What’s more, it’s not written in our native Gujarati, but in Persian, a language I’ve been trying to teach myself off/on for years. I hope someday I’ll be able to read it, but I think it would be pretty cool just to chat with someone who I share both passions & genes with.
- Who is your favorite author that you don’t know personally? Who is your favorite author that you do know personally?
Answer for both, I don’t know him personally but I met him once in a personal setting: Junot Diaz, because a) I think Oscar Wao is the book of our times and b) I still have a chip on my shoulder from that time he told me to give up and proceeded to rip into the current writer industrial complex (It’s my one & only cool writer story. You should totally ask me about it. It’s not I tell everyone I meet to seem more interesting than I am. No really. Pretty please? )
- What about your discipline (fiction, poetry, etc) do you wish you were better at?
One the one hand, conciseness – I suffer a compulsive need to use numerous multisyllabic words as feasibly possible in a given sentence, not to mention tacking on additional clauses.
On the other hand, expansion – I stubbornly like to stick to the A-story, and envy those Proustian writers who can use any plot moment to open up new streams of thought, then snap back.
- What did you enjoy the most about the Writers & Woods writing retreat this year?
It’s an obvious answer, but just meeting everyone. I grew up Baltimore, but had been living in DC for basically since college. Now that I’ve recently moved back, it was a great crash-course intro to the variety of voices and personalities that we have in the city. Look forward to getting to know people’s writing – and people themselves – as time goes on.
Bonus question: Desert Island Disks: you’re stranded on a desert island, all you can take is one item of clothing (which is all you’d ever get to wear), one condiment (which is all you’d be able to eat beyond what you found on the island), and one issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine (look it up): what, of each would you take?
Clothing: What they call a lungi, or a sarong. All you need is the one piece of cloth. I already hate doing laundry as it is.
Condiment: Does chili powder count? I feel like you can get max use out of it on an island – sprinkle it on some fruit for a kick, or mix it into water or something if you need something saucy. And I mean, if at some point you succumb to eating rodents or maggots or something, blasting your tongue on fire is a great distraction from the rest of it.
MSL: Oh, fuck if I know. Did Snoop Dogg guest edit an issue? I imagine he knows how to pass time on an island.
I will totally ask you about Junot Diaz.
If you didn’t hear, all of our wonderful August readers attended our very first writing retreat back in March, and we are excited to announce that we are doing on again in December! Click here to check out the details, and apply if you’re interested. Come out TONIGHT, Tuesday, August 8th at 7 pm to hear more about the retreat, hear our readers share their words, and of course indulge in some summery treats at Charmingtons.