Sahar Muradi Recommends...

“What keeps language alive for me is ritual and play. When my pen slows, I don’t treat it as a problem. Stillness is necessary. I listen, let things pass, and try to accept all of life, including the stuck parts. Sitting helps me do that. Fifteen minutes a day. Getting so quiet as to hear the construction and crackle of my thoughts. Often, in that stillness, lines appear. And it takes all strength not to leap up with that ambition to my notebook. I wait until after the fifteen minutes are up—ha! I am also a disciple of Julia Cameron’s ‘morning pages’—three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing. For manageability, I keep it to a single page and just on weekdays. I usually write over coffee, sometimes listening to Democracy Now! and plucking words from the airwaves. Another ritual: Each night before dinner with my partner, in place of a prayer, I recite a poem—sometimes just a stanza or line, as he is not as keen on poetry. I take a poetry book off the shelf and open at random: a kind of invocation for our meal. My play is paper arts—sketching, book-making, collaging. I especially love making poem postcards out of old Anthology Film Archives calendars. With an index card, an Exacto knife, and a glue stick, I mine the newsprint pages for wild language and film stills. Yes, any small way to keep wild, to keep alive.”
—Sahar Muradi, author of [ G A T E S ] (Black Lawrence Press, 2017)