Porochista Khakpour Recommends...

“Nothing inspires me like the imagination in a vacuum. I always pick the most closet-like, even coffin-like, space in the house for my writing room. No windows, no photos, no ‘stuff.’ I never play any music, I don’t have an inspiration board, I disable the internet, and the cell is always off. The outside world is far too tempting. If I go out for a run, suddenly the body is of paramount concern; if I listen to my favorite music, I won’t be able to shake the imprints out of my head; if I watch a great movie, I’m seduced by images. I have to stay put with my project when I'm with-project. Fortunately, my projects always require little research and much imagination work—maybe memory excavation at best. But if you’re going to ask kids to finger paint, you don’t put Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ before them. They don’t need Erik Satie. They don’t need a long jog. They don’t require a Quote of the Day from Rilke. There is no need to warm up. What made me fall in love with writing in the first place was that we have all the equipment we need in us—we don’t need anything else.”
Porochista Khakpour, author of Sons and Other Flammable Objects (Grove/Atlantic, 2007)

Photo credit: Sylvie Rosokoff


My Vacuum is the Bathroom

I do the same (except music can aid my emotional scenes). Because I have three kids and a hubby, I have to take my laptop into my bathroom, sit on the floor, and wish away all distant sounds. I usually get only ten minutes without an interruption. But I take what I can get because I need that vacuum; otherwise, my tangible world bleeds into my written world, and then both worlds crumble.