“I WANT A WAY OUT, I WANT TO BUILD A NEW WORLD, I WANT A ROADMAP”: This month’s Puritan features a conversation between Rooms Researcher, Sina Queyras & Concordia student, Poonam Dhir! You’ll find an excerpt below. For the full interview check out: puritan-magazine.com.
PD: You wrote “Anger may not snatch my pen but it guides it daily. It raises my heart rate and the speed of my fingers on the keyboard.” Can you expand on the role of anger in your writing? And in other areas, if you’d like.
SQ: There’s that great Stevie Smith line about anger’s freeing power. She also famously wrote: “I was much too far out all my life / And not waving but drowning.” I always keep those lines side-by-side. Anger is still frowned upon, yes, we don’t like it too directly, we don’t like it at dinner parties, we don’t like it in the classroom, we definitely don’t love it in art. People often describe angry art as immature art. Undeveloped art. So, as an artist, you have to manage it, the challenge is to harness one’s anger; to ride it, not tamp it down too much, but also to express it in a way that doesn’t cost the person expressing it—me in my case—or the reader receiving it, too much. I don’t think I have been consistent at this; it is something I learned with Lemon Hound (both the book and blog). How to manage anger, how to make it, if not beautiful, at least something that I could enjoy. And I think that’s why satire is so compelling. I am not a great satirist. I wish I were a better one because it is empowering to be able to laugh at the things you are angry about. I do find that I get motivated by anger more than by beauty. And I don’t love that about myself. On the other hand, I love that I will respond when I’m angry, rather than shutting down, or being silent. I’m glad that I take those risks. I would rather take the risk of offending than not saying anything at all.