with Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Sara: My son brought writing to my life. One morning, he said bye to me happily when I dropped him off at the daycare, and the mixed emotions that stirred my heart poured into my first blog. I wrote and wrote to capture his innocence, his moods, his naughtiness, his smiles and tears—a worded version of his childhood to have with me forever. At that time, I was a mom blogger and was influenced by other very talented mom writers.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Sara: I wouldn’t name a person, I don’t try to emulate any writer or borrow ideas from their work. Day-to-day moments inspire me to write. The significance of human choices—big or small—, the nuances of relationships—familial and others—, the emotions that carry us through a morning or a lifetime play an important role in my work.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art?
Sara: I grew up in India and my writing is tinged with the culture, the people, and the food. I write about places and characters outside India but that’s the first setting that comes to my mind when I sit down to write. Life there is so different and diverse that each day is a lesson, an event, a memory.
Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work & describe?
Sara: Later in life, I migrated to the USA. Then, I started writing about the immigrant experience, the unabashed mispronunciation of my name, the surplus of time and solitude, the longing to be home each time a plane crossed the patch of sky above my apartment. When I started working here, I got a glimpse of a new way of life, a new culture, and way of thinking. The contrast with life In India has inspired some of my work.
Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Sara: It would be my flash collection “Morsels of Purple.” This is a collection of flash and micros that represent the mosaic of a woman’s life—girlhood and its impoverishments, womanhood and its heartbreaks, wifehood and its travails, motherhood and its responsibility, childlessness and its curse. Selecting the stories and putting them together in a book was a humbling experience. I hope the readers find it meaningful.
Q6: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/artist?
Sara: Before, I used to write off and on, wasn’t a regular. When my father died, I started writing more often, whispering my grief into paper, and my work touched the hearts of friends and strangers. I’d found a purpose bigger than me, a connection with others, and I never looked back. Later, I delved into fiction and am enjoying the world of characters and emotions.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Sara: Reading and listening to music. Love Urdu ghazals.
Q8: Do you have any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Sara: My flash collection “Morsels of Purple” is out in the world. It’s a collection of multi-cultural stories. My main characters are women and girls in different situations and stages of life. I hope readers find it meaningful and recountable.
My website: https://saraspunyfingers.com
Q9: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
“If there’s one thing that years of staticky telephone calls and shaky Internet connections has taught me, it is to wrap emotions with levity.”
This is a line from a non-fiction piece “A Stream of Prayer” I wrote after my aunt died in India. It has been published by Citron Magazine. This line sums up the pain of immigrants, how we handle grief—the loss hollowing us up from inside as we try to maintain a strong façade for our loved ones across oceans and continents.
Q10: Who has helped you most with writing?
Sara: My virtual writer friends, most of whom I’ve met on Twitter. Reading their work inspires me to write more and better. Support, feedback, and encouragement from them is the bedrock of my writing.