Amitava Kumar Recommends...

“I read an interview with the writer and journalist Lawrence Wright around ten, perhaps fifteen, years ago. Wright was asked what he did when he got ‘knotted up’ during the day, and he said that he would go for a run. The thing that struck me was his saying that he would often solve the problem after only five hundred yards. I didn’t believe him. But during my walks on an ecological preserve near my house, I started carrying a folded index card and a golf pencil in my pocket. (Before everything changed to an electronic format, instructors at my college received a roll of golf pencils to give out to students to fill out evaluation forms at the end of the semester. I always collected those pencils afterwards from my students.) I was amazed at how many ideas came to me during my walks. I especially loved the walks during the cold months, snow crunching underfoot, all the trails almost always bare. More recently, I found great release in writing a line or two, or a bit more, about a photograph or a painting. And then, giving in to the impulse entirely, I took up painting. Gouache or watercolor, mostly done in a quick sitting. I usually paint something that is in conversation with what I’m writing. And yet, the act takes me elsewhere. It is as if my imagination has been freed. I also experience a sense of achievement—at least most of the time.”
—Amitava Kumar, author of A Time Outside This Time (Knopf, 2021) 

Photo credit: Imrul Islam