Delhi-based poet Trivarna Hariharan started putting pen to paper at the age of seven and enjoyed the thrill of creating something from nothing. Today, she has grown into a writing practice that is a deeply sensory experience and enjoys writing about nature, motherhood and female friendships. Her work has been published on platforms such as Entropy, Stirring, Atticus Review, Whale Road Review, The Shore, among others. She has authored two collections of poetry: Letters Never Sent (Writers Workshop Kolkata), and There Was Once A River Here (Les Editions du Zaporogue, France). A postgraduate in English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College, she is also a trained pianist who performs, composes and also plays for her own pleasure.
At the moment, Hariharan is working on a book of prose poems (“a hybrid form that merges the rhythm of poetry’s free-flowing lyricism with the block-like structure of prose”). In an interview with Lounge, the artist talks about losing track of time in her workspace and holding on to books for comfort and guidance.
Describe your current workspace to us.
I mostly write at the round marble sitting table in my room, with the lights fully on or dimmed to a mellowness, depending on how I’m feeling in the moment. I’m often surrounded by a collection of books that I feel pulled to revisit. Right now, I have a pocketbook of Rumi’s poems right at the top of my stack. It makes the process of writing a little less solitary: as if there is a guide or an angel right beside you, telling you that they’ve done this before, and that there’s no reason or need to worry.
Has it always been this way? Or has it evolved over the years?
It’s been pretty much the same: barring the books I stack on the side, despite rarely ever opening them. It’s just the consolation of having someone else with you on this path. And I keep altering the companions I take along on this journey, depending on whom I want to talk to, and what I need at that time. Oh and yes, I have added this Buddha figurine that I recently bought to my workspace. I love looking at his serene, calming face from time to time.
How would you define your daily relationship with this space?
Easy. Comforting. It is a space that makes me forget about time, but also keeps reminding me of how deeply rooted I am in it.
Tell us about some of the eureka moments you’ve had, and major works that you’ve done from here.
On some days, every word written is a eureka moment. I’ve realised over the years that the eureka moment doesn’t actually lie in what or where you probably thought it did. It is in the smaller things. The spark or the eureka is something you mostly identify later, in retrospect.
I’ve written most of my pieces here: right from three line poems (haiku)–a lot of which appeared in my book, There Was Once a River Here. I’ve also written much larger pieces of creative non-fiction, and most of my academic theses here.
If you were to trade this place for another, what would it be?
I’ve thought about an ideal work space for long. Somewhere atop the hills, on a red-green couch; in a small one or two room home. With many birds chirping in the distance. Sunlight filtering in through the window. A squirrel staring at me through a glass window. But then I might be too distracted to actually work (which is also an essential part of the process, I assume!)
What’s the one thing that has always remained at your workspace over the years? Why?
The books. The books always remain. But like I said before: the ones I choose to take along with me keep changing from time to time. For the solace of having a voice by you, through the process of writing.
The first writer/poet whose work you started imitating. What about them appealed to you?
As a high-schooler, I was incredibly drawn to the words of poet Mary Oliver. The space in them, how inviting they felt. They were vast enough for me to linger around in them, and live in them for a long time.
I like poems that make space for everyone and don’t seem to distinguish between certain assumed types of readers or readerships. Mary Oliver’s work is a home with its doors fully open. Everyone is welcome, everyone has a place in it.
Also Read: Vidya Gopal: ‘My workspace is my bubble’
One genre you love but don’t want to write. Why?
Screenwriting. I find it incredibly immersive and fascinating. But something about the way it structures time is inherently different from the movements/workings of temporality in fiction and non-fiction. All of these forms are pretty distinct in terms of how they organise time, and move through it.
There is a pattern to screenwriting that I haven’t been able to fully enter. But never say never. I would love to try it someday.
Creative Corner is a series about writers, artists, musicians, founders and other creative individuals and their relationships with their workspaces.