Oyster River Pages: How has your writing changed over time?
Kailash Srinivasan: Hopefully, it has aged a bit. Sure, the next minute I read something brilliant from someone like Elizabeth Strout or Jenny Offill, my words, my scenes feel prune-like and it takes a while for them to unprune, but there are moments when everything goes right for a few minutes, when I tell myself, you can do this; that great things aren’t too far.
ORP: What’s next for you artistically?
KS: I’ve always been amazed by authors who can effortlessly switch between forms; those who can write poems and novels; non-fiction and TV scripts. That is some next level witchery. After I finish working on my novel, I’d love to change the tempo a bit and try working on a children’s book.
ORP: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
KS: Make the character at the end of the story act, sound, behave and feel unlike the character readers meet at the start of the story.
ORP: Name three writers you’d like to be compared to. Why these people in particular?
KS: Two of those I have already mentioned above. I’d like to add Rachel Cusk to form my trio of writers. Their writing is like whatever your idea of a perfect life is: if it’s working from home for a few hours a day and making 300 grand a year, you got it; or if it’s living in Switzerland overlooking a spectacular mountain from any room in your house. There’s succinctness, clarity, language that’s doused in cold rose-water.
ORP: Do you consider your writing time to be work or play?
KS: It can be both, can be neither. On a good day your eyes may well up reading something you’ve just written, on others, you may nod off reading a passage so dry and boring, you obliterate it immediately. There are a lot of techniques, tips, workshops out there promising this and that. Sure, some of those things work; most don’t. Your best work is when you’re deep in that character’s head and they do or say something unexpected and you go, “Oh, not bad.”
Kailash Srinivasan is a fiction writer living in Vancouver, and has recently completed his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. His work has appeared in Bad Nudes, Lunch Ticket, Oxmag, Santa Ana River Review, Going Down Swinging, Regime, Tincture, Blustate, and Them Pretentious Basterds and others. Find him on Twitter: @KailashWrites. Read and listen to his story story “Dinner.”