A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Neel Trivedi

with Neel Trivedi:

Q1: When did you start writing and first ifnluences?

Neel: I started writing from a very early age when I was around 7 or 8 years old. Because I was born with severe asthma and other medical complications, I wasn’t able to play football or freeze tag with other kids in the neighborhood. To compensate, I would play by myself with my toys and make up back stories for my action figures. That’s how the basic creative spark in me was born.

My earliest influences were children’s authors Louis Sachar and R.L. Stine. When I look at some of the short stories I write in my adolescent years, I can see their influences all over my writing.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Neel: Being involved in the online writing community for the past 3 or 4 years ago has introduced to all kinds of independent writers, some of whom I’ve even had the privilege of becoming friends with. Strangely enough, at this point, they remain my biggest influence rather than a mainstream author. It would be impossible to list them all but names that immediately come to mind are are Neil Clark, Jana Jenkins, Negeen Papehn and DeRicki Johnson.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Neel: I was born in Stamford Connecticut and lived there till I was 8. After my family moved to Texas, where I’ve been ever since. I can’t say the locations themselves ever really influenced me. But my circumstances definitely did in a big way because as I stated earlier, when other kids were involved in physical activities, I would sit and read or write something. Those moments gave me lots of time to hone and sharpen my imagination that later proved to be highly advantageous in my writing.

I can’t say travel has influenced me in any major way. There is one period of my life, however, that stands out. In 2001, right after high school, I took a 6 month trip to India to visit my family over there. I was staying with my grandmother and I discovered many old books of my grandfather’s, who had passed away years ago. That was when I discovered a whole bunch of Indian authors like Bharati Mukherjee and British authors like James Hadley Chase who’s works weren’t so easily available in America back then. I also discovered these really old anthologies of works compiled from the Alfred Hitchcock Magazine from the 1950s and 60s. That also was a huge influence in my writing afterwards.

Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?

Neel: I think there are a couple of pieces that stand out. One is a short story called RX: Ear-Twist. That particular story stands out for 2 reasons. Firstly, it was the first time I wrote fiction with Indian characters, which despite being Indian, I had never done before. And secondly, that story was rejected by 5 magazines but eventually appeared both in a digital publication as well as a print anthology. It taught me never to give up in work I believe in.

The second story that gave me a lot was a story called Blueberry Waffles & A Side of Poignancy. It was published in Elephants Never magazine and earned me a Pushcart nomination in 2020 which, until then, I never thought I’d ever be capable of. It was also the first time I took a real life incident, the passing of my dad, and weaved a fictional tale around it. https://elephantsnever.com/blueberry-waffles-a-side-of-poignancy/

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Neel: While I started writing at a very young age, I only started taking it seriously in my early 20s. So perhaps it was around that age.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Neel: I love watching movies and TV shows. No particular genre, just anything that stands to me personally. Another activity I love is taking long walks while listening to music or podcasts. I love doing that because it’s my time alone, which I always cherish.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Neel: I just recently started co-hosting a podcast called the Daily Wisdom Words Podcast which can be found on YouTube. I’ve done 3 episodes so far and it’s been a blast. Link: https://youtube.com/channel/UCD0W0UduUYQgauLwmTxQlCQ

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Neel: There’s a poem I once wrote called “The Invisible Aura” which talks about what my depression is like. A couple of stanzas from that poem are:

This is my universe where:
Depression is not a mere mood swing
It’s an actual chemical imbalance

My facial expressions are not always
Gateways to the feelings of my heart
Sometimes they are merely decor

Obviously this is subjective because I’m the writer but even objectively, many who have read the poem told me that those stanzas very effectively sum up a major aspect of any mental illness.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Neel: This might sound like a cliché but all the publications that showcased my work because they gave me the confidence to keep writing. Just some of them are Fevers Of the Mind, Elephants Never, Mojave Heart Review, Dodging The Rain and most recently The Bitchin K in which I have a poem coming up sometime next month.


Poems from Neel Trivedi from Fevers of the Mind & Avalanches in Poetry Anthologies

3 poems from Neel Trivedi in Fevers of the Mind Issue 2(2019) “the Invisible Aura” “Soul Whisperer” & “the Midas Scratch”

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Neel Trivedi

2 new love poems by Neel Trivedi : Then Aroused, Now Devoted & Casket to Universe



Poems from Neel Trivedi from Fevers of the Mind & Avalanches in Poetry Anthologies

white and yellow flower in bloom
Beauty: A New Definition

For generations the wise ones have said
That beauty is in the eye of the beholder
But time passes, generations evolve
Some simple, some a lot bolder

Some proverbs die
Some new are born
Left to all to choose
Which are progress, which are scorn

Perhaps a similar time has come
To give beauty a new definition
Leaving the beholder out & say
Beauty is in the heart of the pious one!

Why the Hate?

I ask a stranger how s/he was born?
From a mother's womb they say.
Just like I once was
So why the hate?

I ask a baby what religion is.
To the best of my ability to decipher baby talk,
           s/he appears not to know.
Just like when I was a baby,
           blissfully unaware of grown-up talk.
So why the hate?

I ask a stranger how s/he communicates?
With a tongue just like mine, they say.
The birthplace of every language, I think.
So why the hate?

I once spilled paint on my arm.
A palette of various colors made habitats on my skin
            before leaving during my next shower.
Yet my heart, personality & identity
             remained the same throughout.
So why the hate?

I try to form a collective hypothesis of my conversations:
We're all born in the same way & die someday.
Skin color & religion prove to be highly incompetent
            to help a heartbeat, lungs breathe & brain cells grow.
So why the hate?

Beyond the Obvious

How the naive think
What abuse means
Perhaps some blue bruises
And a shattered spleen
Such evidence & signs
Are no doubt a fear
But there is no value
Of an isolate tear?
Everyone sees the obvious
Without a look inside
Curse this bloody flesh that makes
The wounded heart hide!

Playing Along
after Leonard Cohen's "Waiting for the Miracle"

When the heart drowns in total despair
I soothe it by telling tall tales
Of an intoxication known as hope
A miracle is coming, says the heart
The mind just plays along
I dance in the name of faith
Even when my feet are numb
Lest I reveal the inner abyss
A miracle is coming, says the soul
The body just plays along
Stay in the slaughterhouse
So, my wounds can blend in
Lie in the rain so tears seem small
A miracle is coming, say the tears
The eyes just play along
So far not a sign
Not even a mere shadow
Or the calm before the storm
A miracle is coming, I say
The miracle just plays along

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Neel Trivedi

3 poems from Neel Trivedi in Fevers of the Mind Issue 2(2019) “the Invisible Aura” “Soul Whisperer” & “the Midas Scratch”

(c)Neel Trivedi
The Invisible Aura

Step into the vortex of my soul
To decode the language
I often speak to myself

Every night when I peel off my mirage
That the sea of gazes around me
surmises to be nonchalance

This is my universe where:
Depression is not a mere mood swing
It's an actual chemical imbalance

My facial expressions are not always
Gateways to the feelings of my heart
Sometimes they are merely decor

My silence is not a symbol
Of any kind of equanimity

Listen to the aura who's decibels
Don't roar like a lion
But squeal like a mouse

Observe the aura that's the
shy one in the corner
Acknowledge the unfelt emotions

For you may not feel them
But just a moment of your cognizance
Could determine their fate for eons

Soul Whisperer

I come with no ostentation
No glory or cavalcade
For I creep upon this junction
Not to arouse a racket
But to dismember the status quo
I make no proclamations to be 
Your knight in shining armor
Or to dry your tears
But to bequeath equity of them
To feast on the salt with thee
I come not to sheath your malformations

But to stand in their gallery
And be a zealot for ages
Of what my heart senses to be
Not wounds but victors of endurance
Think not of me as a paladin
In a quaint fable

But a commoner just to proclaim:
I once bore what you did

And hearken the language of your soul
That others have stained as an enigma!

The Midas Scratch

Lay your fingers on the canvas of my flesh
And scratch till what you carve
Becomes the cynosure attire of my body

Never to be removed
Till the mind in its entirety
Is severed from the bones

Take no heed of any provisional brood
Or waterfalls of blood
For the blemishes will eventually mitigate

But the fable your fingers nurture with love
Will give me an immoral prevalance
To any and all around me!

Neel's bio below:
Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Neel Trivedi

2 new love poems by Neel Trivedi : Then Aroused, Now Devoted & Casket to Universe


All dreams lie shackled in my fist
When nestled up in your arms
on a cot of supple grass blades

Goosebumps of exultation
being my sole attire
Serene under a luminous blanket
Stars apprenticed by your eyes

Paying no heed to the absence of breasts
For inside the wall that hung them
lies your most intoxicating & attractive organ your heart

Casket to Universe

A body that’s been breathing for 30+ years is only now infused with life
with your acknowledgement

My heart that was just an ash of a wing is a vibrant bird again
with your head nestled against it

Once the waterfalls that overflowed from the eyes are now priceless pearls
when brushed against your fingers

I steal a glance of your coruscating eyes & see myself more limpid
than in any mirror

Locutions like “love” & “romance”
are innominate to my soul

All I perceive…
Is that you complete me
Without you, I am a casket
With you, I am a universe

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Neel Trivedi