I am Nayana Nair, an engineer and a technical writer who moonlights as an amateur poet on my personal blog (itrainsinmyheart.wordpress.com). Writing for me is a process of self-realization and an effort to understand what is ever elusive.
Q. How does being a poet inform your views on expressing emotions through writing?
I have been drawn to literature from a very young age, mainly because of it’s ability to show the depth of human experience. Poetry has always been my preferred medium to express myself, as almost everything that I feel strongly about is so gentle and effervescent that it cannot live more than a few lines. My objective when I write is to highlight the commonness of our feelings irrespective of the difference in the reasons and circumstances that surrounds us. I write each and every word with the belief that we are capable of understanding and accepting each other in spite of our differences.
Q. Your poems in SMITTEN were excellent, why did you choose this particular poems and what did you hope they would convey to readers?
“Meet me on a sunless day” and “I keep looking for you”. These two poems to a lot of extent reflects the way I think of love. That love, even though we want it to be simple, it rarely is. Because along with our love comes our fear, our past. Often the struggle is not “us against the world”, but “us against our own love” or “us against our fate”. This struggle I believe is a common human experience, irrespective of the gender or orientation of the person involved.
Q. Why is love a worthier subject than erotica to write on?
Q. Do you think lesbians/bi’s are more objectified and if so, why? What can we do about it?
This could be my own personal view, but I think media portrays hetero love and lesbians/bi love in very different light. They portray lesbians/bi relationships to be based on lust/sex and somewhat shallow. While hetero relationships are made up to be something based on understanding and affection (which eventually lead to sex). This is so often misleading and very inaccurate as well. The popular media often fails to deliver the depth and sincerity of lesbians/bi love (which is also true for every kind of love that is not hetero). But the reality that I have seen is that almost every kind of romantic love is affected by the same factors, we are all humans after all.
Though erotica may be a really bold way to declare our sexuality to the world. But often we forget about talking love in the process.
PS. As a child who was drunk on the concept on soulmates, the movies and the songs always left me puzzled. I always wondered how was it possible that we must necessarily find our soulmate in opposite gender. As I grew up, I realized that it was just a portrayal, a propaganda that was convenient for the society. Not the way love actually works.
Q. What does it mean to you to be part of something like SMITTEN and have your work along side other women who love women?
Frankly, I was a bit afraid. Due to the fact that I am not lesbian/bi, I felt that I am not eligible to contribute to this anthology. I am still not sure if this is fine. But nevertheless, I wanted to give voice to the feelings that some of my friends who identify as lesbian/bi had. I felt they needed to be represented for who they are. These poems are my sincere efforts to lift the stigma that my friends suffered from.
But keeping my own fears apart, I feel honored that my work has been put alongside the poems written by such strong women. Women who accept who they are, who do not give up, who fight for their love and their voice. Through their words I have felt such a strong sense of solidarity, which is comforting and inspiring.
Q. Do you feel your voice is heard? Do you believe anthologies like this can help you be heard?
In my personal life, I find it really difficult to speak my own thoughts for the fear of disrupting harmony. Probably that’s the reason that I write. But since I have started writing, I have got understanding, kindness and appreciation from many people. Though it might not mean much on grander scale of things. But to find a community that encourages you to keep on writing and keep on speaking your own mind is something precious.
Through anthologies like this a similar like-minded community is created where one doesn’t have to edit their thoughts or pretend to be someone else. Here we can speak your mind and talk of our life and experiences as they are. Here we do not have to doubt ourselves. So many women coming forward to give their misrepresented love a voice it deserves and to be part of something like that. To be part of their voice, does make me feel heard.
The wonderful Nayana’s work can be found in SMITTEN coming out by the end of this month. SMITTEN will be available via all good book stores. Please follow the FB SMITTEN page for updates and latest information.