Tanwi Nandini Islam Recommends...

“When I’m feeling stuck, on a chapter, on a character’s next move, I’ll have a destination in mind to clear my head. It’s usually the waterfront around sunset. But I always take a roundabout way, on some sort of open-ended scavenger hunt. Sometimes I’ll take photos on my phone, or collect found objects for my desk. It depends on whether I’m feeling visual or more tactile. I’ll bring a journal to record interesting details: a biker’s shadow on the side of a bridge, milkweed bursting out of an abandoned lot, spray painted rocks, the different languages I’m hearing. I’m very multimedia as a visual artist, and writing is no different for me. I’ll collage photos in my journal, arrange the found objects on my writing desk, and create a visual catalog of inspiration when crafting a story. By forcing myself to observe and be intimate with my everyday surroundings, I witness the familiar in a new way. By the time I get to the waterfront, I have a whole bevy of images to get me back into my work. I can meditate and see the city staring back at me, muted by the sunlit water.”
—Tanwi Nandini Islam, author of Bright Lines (Penguin Books, 2015)