Buzzfeed writer turned novelist. Her Debut book, One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, is a collection of essays that cover a variety of fronts. Her struggles growing up, relations with family and they touch on societal issues as well. We talk to her to know more about her creative process and delve a little deeper into her life.
Can you tell me about your childhood and how you became a writer?
My parents are Indian immigrants and I was raised in Canada’s Prairies, so, I think my childhood was marked by a lot of love, anxiety, and the fact that I didn’t really belong in a lot of the spaces I was growing up in. I loved reading, writing and also, I love talking about myself so of course writing was a natural fit.
What was the inspiration behind the book?
I wanted to write a collection about my family, anxiety, fear, and loss in a way, that felt funny, approachable and didn’t make you want to slowly drift into the sea. Life is hard! It’s good to talk about it but, I’d rather laugh than cry.
Take me through your creative process.
I get a deadline and I ignore it for a few weeks. Then, I realize I need to finish it so I panic and drink a lot of wine and then I finish it. It’s fool proof! It may also kill me.
Out of all the essays, is there a particular one which was hard to share and to put into words?
Likely the last one, ‘Anyway’, which is about my dad and our complicated relationship. At the time, I was writing about an issue that he and I were having which wasn’t yet resolved, so I didn’t have any closure or any reassurance that it was going to turn out okay. It’s tough to write from a perspective of not knowing how a story is going to end, even if it feels like a necessary part of the narrative.
Can you give a blurb on the book?
One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter is a collection of essays about fear, shopping, race, weddings, the internet, friendship, drinking, body hair, home, and my dad.
You’ve written essays before. How different was it to write a novel?
When you write essays for the internet, they exist with a different kind of context, usually one dictated by a news cycle or what people are talking about in the zeitgeist. They kind of get to exist on their own and don’t necessarily have to relate to your other work. With a book, there needs to be a kind of common theme, a narrative thread, that pulls you through and gives you an intimate and detailed understanding of a life or an experience. So, when I was working on the collection, I wanted to make sure it didn’t feel like ten disconnected essays, but rather a collection with similar themes throughout.
What are you working on next?
My day job! I have some exciting projects at BuzzFeed percolating. I love writing essays but they’re obviously dictated by my life, so I have to go and have some life happen.
Text Suhani Lakhotia