“Stuck on a story for years…”

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 2.02.56 PMA lovely new interview up over at W3Sidecar. Check it out here.

I can be stuck on a story for years—actually many of the stories included here were written in part, left unfinished, and then returned to years later to finish. Where that final push comes from I don’t know, except that time is mysterious, it allows connections to be made that otherwise wouldn’t have, and it allows a much deeper immersion into a character—someone I might have casually created without any clear goal in mind—to develop and emerge.

Writing in bed, and other revelations

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Over at her Intermittent Visitors site, the marvelous poet and blogger Joanne Merriam has a brief interview with me up. What will you learn? That I’m a messy writer who hates getting out of bed, thinks you should ignore all writing advice, and oh yeah, still an Alasdair Gray fanboy after all these years. Take a look here. And check out her small publishing house, Upper Boot Books, here.

What is your writing process?

Messy and undisciplined, with no clear schedules. I write in bed when I can, and I often try and get away and write while traveling, where I can keep the laptop next to my head, wake, sit up with some pillows behind my back and pull the computer onto my lap and get immediately to work, often still half-asleep and remembering dreams.


Broadening the landscape

Over at The Story Prize blog, I have a guest post up. Check it out here.

In presenting deeply conflicted characters, and sometimes unpleasant characters, I guess, in hindsight, I was looking for ways to broaden the emotional landscape of much of so-called contemporary Indian American fiction—though perhaps more accurately I was reacting to what felt like a strangled emotional territory. And also to make, in my own small way, a larger claim on the universality of experience, and that it doesn’t have to born out of exhausted tropes— the newly arrived immigrant, the clash of cultures, the relatively narrow emotional bandwidth of adapting to American middle class life.


Protected: The Edward Albee Foundation, Montauk, NY

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Protected: Walking the Beach, Montauk

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The Ghosts of Omonia Square

This just up at The Margins, with photos, one last dispatch from Athens, this time with hookers, junkies, immigrants, and cops.

At night, the junkies take over the square. They are almost vaporously thin, like the dead even before they shoot up. They have ruined most of their veins and bend forward to stick the needle in the backs of their knees or other parts of their legs. The happy ones are curled up fetally, oblivious to everything. A tall South Asian man with a tense, fierce face asks me several nights in a row if I want anything. “Hash? Junk? Anything?”

Read the whole story here.


Protected: The City Painted, part two

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Protected: Night Walks in Athens

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More than lives lost in Oak Park

In the current issue of Open Magazine, I have a more personal response to the killings in Oak Park, Wisconsin.

Beyond the lives tragically lost, it is the attack on this institution that I feel most deeply, for the gurdwara is not only a place of worship and service, but also one of real community and, for the children, of uninhibited play where the demands of parents are relaxed and the spectre of bullies a distant threat.

Read the full story here.


On the Oak Park shootings

I didn’t write the headline on the published piece, and nor is that what I say. And the paragraph breaks on the online version are a mess. Not mine for sure.

As a Sikh, as an American, the latest, the murder of five Sikhs and a police officer at a gurudwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, hits home for me, and home hard.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2184531/Political-culture-blame-mass-shootings-guns.html#ixzz22oBmDcmi


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