Sneha Subramanian Kanta
Who is your most influential writer? Who do you always go back to for inspiration?
This is extremely difficult to say as I trace influences from many writers. There are too many of them to name, but here are a few, in no particular order. Rumi, Wislawa Szymborska, Emily Dickinson (in fact, I often reckon, in a lighter vein, if Shakespeare had to describe her, he’d say “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”) Elizabeth Bishop, Ngũgĩ wa Thiongo, Amrita Pritam, Zora Neale Hurston, and many, many more.
What inspired your piece?
It was monsoon; and the air was heavy with varied rain smells. It took me to a time whilst I was in Paris and I did also escape the Paris attack in 2015 by just a whisker. The day I left Paris, I made sure to take a long walk early in the morning, speak to my usual friends on the street, a painter, a musician and shopkeepers who taught me some slang, which was intriguing. The memories of the city combined with the rain and overflowing little gutters brought a flash of images I recognized. I seem to attempt to capture that familiarity one associates with a day in a different city that might be reminiscent of another city. I also remember carrying Hemingway’s Old Man And The Sea (because carrying A Moveable Feast would be both; a clique and an oxymoron) in my arm while I sat on a public bench on autumn soaked afternoons, and I remember thinking about nostalgia as having the quality of being saddle stitched, in a certain sense. You could say it is a combination of these sensory elements, combined with the autonomy that language offers itself, that went into the “process” of writing “Deluge”.
Do you have a favorite line or lines from your accepted pieces for The Ginger Collect?
“Sketch a roadside cafe
in Paris with epic proportions.” and “It is not common
but bind the book as saddle stitched
that can be taken out in public spaces –
trains, gardens, outside in the rain.”
What season do you find you write the most in?
I’m personally most intrigued by autumn, notwithstanding the seasonal allergens. I find much allure in the phenomenon of leaves changing color, and the earth speaking in a subterranean language. Autumn is fertile with a sense of excesses, of brightness and contrast, of changing skies, of the descent of leaves on soft blankets of foliage and — withering. There are multitudes one can take from the season, in that sense.
What do you want readers to take away from your piece?
I suppose if I have offered a sense of emotion or evoke a desire to look at the world with more tenderness, I’m content. I often realize that people look at things but don’t quite go beyond a glimpse, and the bounty of nature has much to offer in that sense, as does life even. T.S. Eliot once observed, “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” I hope to offer that to my readers.
What is your ideal writing environment?
I once read a quote inscribed on a street that says, “If you wait for an ideal environment, your writing is never going to be done.” Having mentioned that, I personally believe that one must be comfortable to write in every nook or corner one is at. This also reminds me of instances where I’ve got ideas while trying to fall asleep or engaging with chores, and I find this experience to be common with most that engage with the written word. I reckon it is most important to develop and practice a certain sense of silence within ourselves to be able to listen to our own voice.
Do you keep any snacks around while you write? If so, what’s your favorite?
I rarely keep snacks around, but I’ve had experience with tea going cold while I write.
Do you ever create soundtracks for the piece you’re writing?
Rarely if ever, but I sometimes listen to music.
Do you find writing invigorating or exhausting?
Writing is a creative process that adds definition to my life. The practice allows for a certain sense of transcendence, a sense of community, a better understanding of the world and my own self, and I’d definitely say writing to me is all positive things. With writing, you have the chance to delve into yourself and realize what the folds of subconscious hold within, you also have the opportunity to resist.
Do you have any future writing plans?
To write more, to create more and celebrate hybrid identities. I am also excited for all the publications that are upcoming in 2018 and thankful to the editors that continue to support my work.
You can read Sneha Subramanian Kanta’s piece in Issue Four of The Ginger Collect: Deluge.