Love Unlove by Isha Snehal is a collection of poems that speak of one of the most celebrated emotions – love. The poems more or less gave a brief idea of different facets of love, heartbreak, world, pain, and healing. Towards the end, the pieces turn out to portray how unloving can bring in much strength and positivity. Although it appears difficult, it can be very liberating.
In a conversation with Bookish Fame, Isha Snehal talks about her book, her writing, her thoughts on being an author, and her future plans. Have a look here.
- Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am Dr. Isha Snehal, a poet and a neurologist in training at University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha USA. I have been into the slam poetry scene since 2016, writing however since I was 14 years old, approximately . I try to write poetry that is simple and easy to understand. I am inspired by the likes of Maya Angelou and Pablo Neruda and I write about genres ranging from social causes to romance, self esteem and about political differences too.
- When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
I started performing at different places in Delhi in 2017, while was also balancing my internship during medical school. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I realized I would never be able to perform all the poems because there isn’t enough time: and performing to me was time consuming and it lasted till you performed the piece. Through the written form of poetry, I could express and have a lot of people read my poetry and keep it forever. It felt more authentic and special to me.
- What inspires you to write books? What are the things which catch your attention?
I like holding a piece of paper with my original, printed words on it; and I love that I can make the decisions of expressing the way I want, taking the time to craft those expressions and also be able to squeeze in my illustrations.
I get moved by beautiful pieces of creativity; especially short forms of poetry that punch in so much thought in just a few words.
- Tell me something in brief about your book? How long did it take you to write it?
Love, Unlove is a tiny book of poems that brings out the contrast between Loving and Unloving. We always talk about loving people and very negatively view the process of unloving. But I wanted to show that both processes are important and are mirror images of each other.
It’s like wrapping a gift and unwrapping it: the gift remains the same; it is supposed to be. And we are the gifts, nothing really gets added or subtracted if we learn how to express and value these two processes of loving and unloving objectively. Also, it doesn’t apply to just partners and romance: it is a universal rule, whatever you’ll love, you will have to unlove it too at some point.
It took me a while, almost a year to craft it. And another few months to design, process and present it to the world.
- What were some of the challenges while writing and publishing your book?
The most challenging thing is to know what you’re writing, and why.
To be able to make a clear connection with your audience and be able to express the exact emotion you wanted to express, in a few lines. Even doing the illustrations over and over again, to express the exact thing in the poem was challenging.
The next challenge was to design the cover, edit it and do all the paperwork that goes into publishing.
- Do you have a set routine for writing or does it vary? And how do you manage it with your full-time work?
It varies a lot, I usually take it as a one time project, and consistently work at it until it is done. With an intense residency it gets impossible to set a timeline for writing, I write when I get excited about it. Like one evening on a day off I will sit with my “adrak chai” and write 4000 words and sleep. During residency and weekdays I try to focus on my residency because I love it too: it gives me immense joy to be able to treat patients using medical science. I get enthusiastic to get to the next thing when I’ve done one consistently and need a break. For me work and writing complement each other.
- How do you think being a writer has helped you as a person?
Writing has given me perspective about myself and other people. I’ve become so much more empathetic and observant about people around me. Like earlier I couldn’t identify what the other person, through their actions, is trying to express or put across; and now I pick it up very easily and understand why people were doing what they were doing, or why something happened.
It helps me reflect, and understand the world better.
Additionally, there is an immense power in writing; it touches people in a certain way, and I feel humbled when someone can feel exactly how I meant it to be.
- What was one of the most surprising and interesting things you learned while creating your book?
I realized that a) it is one thing to create in your head and another to execute, b) self reliance is an underestimated power, c) visual representation of poetry gives it much authenticity than just the written word.
Marketing and self promotion is not a bad thing, it is necessary!
- Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I used to be an avid reader and I try to push myself to be, but I am not able to read much along with work.
I am mostly into a lot of non fiction and poetry. Currently reading(audiobooks) Elon Musk’s biography, Lean In, And reading paperbacks of some old poetry collections of Alfred Lord Tennyson; 40 rules of love .
My favorite authors are Maya Angelou, Ruskin Bond, Robert Frost , Roald Dahl!
- According to you, how the landscape of reading changed over the years? Do you think reading books is still in vogue?
The landscape of consuming writing certainly has shifted more towards shorter pieces of writing, audiobooks and podcasts/audiovisuals, plainly because of lesser attention spans.
However books, I believe will always be in vogue because they’re like reading someone’s work in flesh and blood. There is an added sensation of touch, and the fresh smell of a beautiful new book as you turn the pages.
- Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers.
Well I think I’m an aspiring writer too! But on a serious note, the only advice would be to try to express what you really want to express. To be able to find your voice amongst other people and try not to emulate anyone’s writing, because that takes away your uniqueness.
- Are we going to hear more from you in the future?
Yes, a hundred percent! I have some ideas, and some are in process. There are so many things I feel that need to be expressed to the world.
*We wish Author Isha Snehal all the best for her future endeavors.*
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