Creative Writing at The New School

Writing spaces are as varied as the individuals who occupy them. The range of “space” we enter for our writing practice is a wide, wild field from tidy to random, from Maya Angelou in a sparse hotel room to Marcel Proust in bed, from Jane Austen at the kitchen table to you: what does your writing space look like? Second year MFA student in poetry Aekta Khubchandani makes poems that float, flow, and spill a blue breath to the page.

Where do you write?

I believe in odd numbers so I have three writing spots in my apartment. My desk, Freddy and chair, Fernando are a great couple. And together, they’ve helped me churn out some good writing. They’re usually bathing in indirect sunlight and are by a big window. 

The second spot is on the blue rug by the bedside. It’s also where I drink my morning coffee/chai and where I read the most. I can see the clouds clearly from here, moving and becoming another cloud. This is my favorite spot to write. 

Thirdly, the bed. The mattress is so comfortable, it gives my vulnerability all the space it needs. 

Stand, sit or other?

Oh, I’d choose dancing. Or movement. If I can move like how water moves-- every molecule free and flowing, that’ll be a good day to die. 

What is your writing practice?

My current writing practice is to read a lot until I feel something immensely and then pour myself over the page or screen. I’ve been listening to a lot of Bill Evans and that’s making my poems float. I tune into Bill’s music even when I’m cooking. And oh my, the food is delicious! There’s also a 3 (yes, odd number I know!) hour sound healing meditation that I’ve been indulging in. 

What are your favorite procrastinations?

I already feel guilty of procrastinating. I don’t think I procrastinate as much as I should? My coping mechanism involves productivity. But procrastinations-- walking by the waterfront, working out/dancing, watching dance videos (contemporary, hip-hop, ballet), films-- a lot of films this year and cleaning. I clean as if I’m cleaning my mind. It’s spotless, more breathing space, clear air, and finally the sound of good sleep. 

We live in interesting times, which book/author keeps you sane/grounded?

Aren’t we all a bit mad, which is why we’re here-- writing? Two of my most interesting reads this year have been: Crush by Richard Siken and Sea and Fog by Etel Adnan. How can writing/they be SO gorgeous.

What is your new skill learned during the shutdowns of the Pandemic

I founded Poetry Plant Project, over last summer when the pandemic hit us. I’m soon going to finish a year of teaching-- so that happened. The rest is the same-- cooking, eating, working out, you know how the list goes. 

What is your dream writing space?

I couldn’t find a photograph. But here’s what it would feel like--

I want a water library-- blue books (all shades of blue and purple) that have water in them. Of course, genre no bar. It could be poetry, fiction, cnf, research papers, picture books, illustrations, photo books, everything under the sun, that you can think of. 

And here’s a word bank for imagination:

water, space, light, blue, breath, books

Aekta Khubchandani is a writer, and poet from Bombay. She is the founder of Poetry Plant Project, a safe and inclusive space to nourish poems. She is matriculating her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from The New School, New York. Her fiction “Love in Bengali Dialect”, the winner of Pigeon Pages Fiction contest, is nominated for Best American Short Fiction. Her poems were awarded the winner of honorable mention by Paul Violi Prize. Her work has been long-listed for Toto Funds the Arts (TFA) twice in 2017 & 2018. Her work is published in Epiphany, Jaggery Lit, VAYAVYA, The Aerogram and elsewhere. She has performed spoken word poetry in India, Bhutan, and New York. Her newsletter, The Clementine Letter, is now available through subscription. She lives with her plants Gulabo and Kit-Kat in Newport.

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Founded in Greenwich Village in 1931, Creative Writing at The New School continues to promote, engender, and shape innovative literature.