In September-October, 2017, Coldnoon celebrated six years of publishing, and travelling with you. To mark our anniversary, we got together with writers, intellectuals and stalwarts of the art of thinking (and travelling). Here is an interview with Arun Sagar.
We believe making travel arrangements, we subconsciously tend to eliminate those possibilities which we deem unfit to perceived etiquettes, or norms or occasions. Our understanding of travel is based on premises that define what travelling is not. Is writing for you a similar activity, where you are conscious of what writing is not? If so, what according to you is not writing?
Well, anything that is not actually, physically writing is not writing. Thinking about writing is definitely not writing. I often have to remind myself of this.
Besides writing what would you most like to be known for?
I suppose I’d like to known for some contributions to scholarship in the field of law. And this is vanity, but I’d certainly like some of my students to remember me as a good teacher.
In 1794, the French author, Xavier de Maistre, wrote the renowned book, Voyage Around my Room, during a month and a half of solitary confinement, in consequence of a duel. Besides being a satire on the contemporary literary culture of voyages and adventures of colonial sailors to prospective new worlds, the book proved to be a demonstration of how an individual is almost always travelling, but perhaps does not recognize the value of their domestic travels, mobility or even touristic acquisitions. How do you see or understand travelling? Do you think it is a necessary activity for a writer?
Travel in the ‘internal’ sense — the voyage around the room, the voyage around the inside of my head — is obviously what writing entails. I have a poem in my forthcoming collection that speaks precisely of this writing-as-voyage metaphor. I don’t think travel in the ordinary sense is a ‘necessary’ activity for a writer, though it may be a source of material. As I write that it strikes me that Blaise Cendrars — whom I would count among my major influences — is a poet who transcends this internal/external distinction. For him, the actual physical voyage somehow, miraculously, is the inner voyage.
Your favorite or most striking lines by another author; or if you will, any composed by yourself?
I wonder how many people will attempt a serious answer to this one.
Do respond to the following words:
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” — A.A. Milne
What do you think of Coldnoon?
To be honest I have only read some of the poetry you publish, and none of the prose. I think the poetry is of a high standard and I was pleased to have some of my own poems in one of your issues. I can’t think of any other themed Indian literary journal; it’s good to have you.