Interview With Inklette Magazine
Authors: Devanshi Khetarpal and Trivarna Hariharan
Why did you start Inklette?
Devanshi Khetarpal: At first, Inklette was simply a newsletter that was distributed to the members of the book club at my local public library in Bhopal. However, it was somewhere in the beginning of 2015 that I reflected on Inklette seriously. After spending a summer at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, I had realised the potential of collaborative writing. I found in IYWS a community of dedicated and unbelievably honest people. I knew that such a spirit had to be enlarged and enhanced. Then, I, alongside my phenomenal partner-in-crime/kindred spirit, Trivarna Hariharan, chose Inklette as an outlet for the same.
Trivarna Hariharan : Teaming up with Devanshi for Inklette has been amazing. We have an extremely talented team that is dedicated to making Inklette a brilliant platform for creative work. I hope we can take this endeavour to newer and greater heights, and get more and more people to read us and submit to us.
What is your literary background like? What got you interested in starting a literary journey?
Devanshi Khetarpal: I don’t have much of a ‘literary’ background. My parents are doctors and no person in my family is engaged in any serious creative field. Even at school, I always felt left out and still do, though occasionally. There are a few writers at my school, but for some inexplicable reason, I just didn’t find my place among them. I always loved reading, however. As a child, I had more books than clothes or toys. And I had this unrestrained penchant for words. I just had to start writing. I would usually write summaries of all the books that I read. Eventually, I started putting my own ideas to words. For as long as I can remember, writing was something I never wanted to give up. Until I was eleven, I was quite in-the-closet. Only recently have I started to open up.
Trivarna Hariharan: I’m an avid reader, and have always been interested in creating worlds. I am an escapist by nature, so my art is a manifestation of my escapism. I’m also inclined to literature that draws itself from experiences, observations and transactions. I’ve always been intrigued by the fine line between the real and the mythical, the fact and the fiction.
What have you gained from working for Inklette? How has this experience changed your perspective of reading literature and the process of maintaining a literary magazine?
DK and TH: Working with Inklette has been spectacular. We have the best team of passionate individuals. The ultimate pleasure of working with Inklette is the privilege to work with such people who consistently strive to do the best they can. Inklette has taught us or rather, made us believe in the invincible power of creativity. We have unshakeable belief and it stems from the work we publish, the submissions we receive and the very energy, positivity and talent that comes from our team.
Literature or art, in a broad sense, is rooted in the very quality of being fearless. Today, writers and artists see themselves as a collective entity. A sense of togetherness, it seems, does not need to be fostered anymore. In a world of fading boundaries, it is the absence of personal limits and the expanse of collective endeavour that defines us. Literature makes us see the darkness hidden in the niche of light.
The process of maintaining a magazine is one that brims with uncontrollable excitement, emotions as well as fears. It is definitely hard to maintain our integrity and composure when situations arise. So far, Inklette has done an amazing job at doing so. Trying to curb a conflict of interests, is hard for many magazines. Inklette has a clear goal that is known to everyone, which is perhaps why we work in a direction.
Who are some of your favourite writers?
Devanshi Khetarpal: This is an answer that changes every five minutes. I’ll keep it short lest I befuddle myself. Jorie Graham, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Agha Shahid Ali, Arundhati Subramaniam, Venus Khoury-Ghata, Raymond Carver, Tomaz Salamun, David Weiss, Keki Daruwalla and Gulzar. Frankly, these are only a few of the names I can remember. I don’t have any favourite writers. I read what I can get my hands on and think about every word I read. Does it seem like I am trying to wheedle myself out of this interview? I hope not.
Trivarna Hariharan: So many of them. So many. Charles Dickens is my all-time favourite writer. Lately, I’ve really liked the works of Jenny Offill, Deborah Landau, Anthony Doerr. Some of my favourite poets are Agha Shahid Ali, Eliot, Rumi.
What advice would you give for writers submitting to Inklette?
DK and TH: Be yourself. The misconception of being like others never helps. The mind, or wherever you derive your creativity from, is a vast and open field. Walk on it as much as you can. It is easy to give up on yourself but the process of regaining that ground is difficult and quite painful. The best thing you can do is to write when you feel most at peace with your inner self: the mirror within the mirror. Submit work that reflects who you are. Nothing else matters and nothing ever will.
What are you working on in your own work right now?
Devanshi Khetarpal: I’ve been writing a lot of poems about tracing the self. My poem, ‘Lullaby,’ that was published in HIV Here and Now is primarily about drawing the self in the larger reality of a defined yet surreal landscape. My current interests include Islamic Studies and Gender/Sexuality Studies. A lot of my work reflects on the same. ‘Lullaby’ was an experiment with the shredded and visceral experience of the body and had elements that can be related with Islam. The poems I am currently are ekphrastic poems, based on the work by the artist Jenny Saville. I am trying to focus on the pinpoint of human experience that is deeply buried in the physical and conspicuous presence and processes of and within our bodies as well as their displacement into alternative realities where they are nothing more than mere fantasies and disappearances, so to speak. What happens within and outside is a hard equation to create.
Listening to the music by Anoushka Shankar has also altered my relation with sound. It is an experience more numbing than conscious. With every line, I try to slip sound into a larger bubble where it possibly elongates, taking birth again from the smallest start to end.
Trivarna Hariharan : I am at a phase where I’m trying to seek as much as possible from all that surrounds me. I want to discover and explore. I’ve realised it’s not possible to label everything, find meaning or answers to every axiom there is. Sometimes it’s better to revel in the ambiguity of things.
What is the next exciting thing happening at Inklette? Where do you see Inklette in 5 years?
DK and TH: Our second issue is scheduled for a March/April release. We can guarantee that it’s going to be mind-blowing. There is more diversity in style and work. We have new contributors and the Visual Arts/Photography section is going to be bigger and better. We’re working on a few features for our blog, managed by our three interns, Haley Zilberberg, Archita Mittra and Paige Robinson.
In the next five years, we really want to see it as one of the most sought-after magazines in the market. We want to be catering to as many readers as possible, and publishing great work. We’d want to be one of the most reliable creative platforms.