Tabs open on your screen right now:
Blogger. I am designing a blog for a studio art class I am teaching this semester at Naropa: Shrine, Ritual, Installation. Also, Twitter. I like Twitter because it is fast, like mirror neurons or empathy. Fleeting, microtic, yet dense. And also my university email Outlook page. And a google search for Badrinath, research for a writing project on pilgrimage that I have begun. A new work composed by astral travel, and the memory of pilgrimages I have taken into those spaces (Himalayan spaces) in the past.
If you had to brag about yourself:
I won a Scottish Dancing competition (in a four) at the age of ten. The final competition took place in the Mellow Lane Grammar School in Hayes, Middlesex, where George Orwell once (unhappily, he hated Hayes) taught English.
Your writer crush:
Lucas de Lima, who writes: the open vein of the sky.
When I was 15, Anu Gupta made me a cassette tape declaring his love for me. The first song was by Depeche Mode and those words were seared into my intestines and generalized viscera forever, something I will have to deal with eventually: “I need/somebody to care/for me/tenderly.” How do you decolonize your intestines, your desire?
Any place in the world:
Rishikesh. Or California. Then again, wouldn’t it be lovely to be eating samosas right now, outside A Sweet on the Southall Broadway, straight from the paper bag. Wait! I have dreamed, since I was a child, of drinking black coffee in Cairo, with my aunt. I have never been to Florence or Oslo. But right now, if I could be anywhere, perhaps I would be in New Mexico, soaking in a hot spring built into the side of the Rio Grande, after puja and kirtan at the Hanuman Temple in Taos.
A blended smoothie of greens, celery, apple, pear, parsley, chia seeds, water, a bit of banana, turmeric. Half now, half later.
Favorite online places right now:
Contemptorary.org, a “contemporary cyberspace project covering: women of color and indigenous women queering the art world: marginalized genders disrupting white hegemony: immigrants and those displaced due to war, occupation and colonialism who breach all terrains.” It is founded and curated by Eunsong Kim and Gelare Khoshgozaran.
My 15…wait, he just turned 16…year old son leaning in against me while we are watching TV or reading together on the sofa.
Your rituals (writing or not):
To light a candle and meditate each morning and night, running the mantra through my heart like a wet rope made of violet flame.
Least impressive thing about you:
I feel like I am a mediocre parent and that I don’t do enough to engage and enrich the life of my mother, who also lives with me.
Favorite space to write:
In bed, leaning notebook on my knees. I also have a writing studio for the first time in my life, in a local artist’s collective. It’s a just a small house, really, off the highway, with rooms converted into art and workshop spaces. There’s a rickety little desk. Sometimes I just sit there and drink tea then go home after writing a sentence on yellow paper.
What should we know:
I woke up two nights ago and the room was filled with blazing, pulsing light. It was so beautiful. Oh, I thought, it’s an angel. And went back to sleep.
Guilty literary pleasure:
I read Sara Ahmed’s twitter feed with an avidity once reserved for the long poem. Over the winter break, I had a very intense dream that her twitter feed was the basis of the design for a future city that was constructed in orbitals matched to specific clusters of tweets!
Best book nobody talks about:
Well, there is no-one else I can talk to (in my immediate community) about Hisham Matar’s The Return, a meditation on exile and loss that I have been reading at the break of dawn and in the pitch of night every day. I wish I lived in Los Angeles.
Character (TV, book, movie) you most identify with:
Parminder Nagra, former star of E.R. I want to write a screenplay for her.
Last time you lied:
Last week, when someone asked me where my dad lived (he’s dead), I replied: “Mexico City.” I described, in full, his life there. In this alternate life, he plays the clarinet and goes out onto the balcony every morning to smoke and drink coffee. I allow myself to tell this lie once a year, and so I have already used my lie quota up for the year. I like this lie because I can pretend he is still alive and that I, too, could be drinking cafe con leche in a city is not mine, with a father who can help me understand how to live, how to be with other people, how to continue, what to do.
Oh, I already told you, in full. I miss my father. I wish he was still alive.
Question you secretly want to be asked:
Can I buy you a drink?
Bhanu Kapil teaches for Naropa University and Goddard College. She is the author of five collections of prose/poetry, most recently “Ban en Banlieue” (Nightboat Books, 2015.)