#sparkchamber 030419 — Kamand Kojouri
Today is March 4th, a homophone of march forth. We are big fans of the whole homonym family, and thrilled to discover that this wordplay inspired a fun holiday — March Forth and Do Something Day — a perfect day for #sparkchamber to welcome writer, poet, philanthropist, and sharer of love and light, Kamand Kojouri.
Kamand was born in Tehran, raised in Dubai and Toronto, and resides in Wales. Her first novel — a historical novel written for her creative writing master’s program in London — was shortlisted for the Peters Fraser and Dunlop [PFD] literary award. She is currently in the final year of her Ph.D. [in creative writing] and working on her second novel. She is also a graduate-teaching-assistant teaching two creative-writing seminars at Swansea University.
In March of last year, Kamand self-published a collection of love poems called The Eternal Dance. Inspired by the great Mystic poets of the East and the great Romantic poets of the West, her simple yet stunning love poems and prose explore the seven different states of love: attraction and infatuation, devotion and obsession, heartbreak, enchantment, love, understanding, and unity.
Living the truth of love, sales of her book serve two organizations. First, with every book sold, a tree is planted in Sub-Saharan Africa, providing families with food, income, and education, thereby advocating empowerment and sustainability. The rest of the royalties are donated to The Trevor Project, an organization providing suicide prevention and crisis intervention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning [LGBTQ] youth under the age of 25.
Actions speak, and the heart hears.
1.] Where do ideas come from?
Absolutely everywhere. The great Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa, once said that to be an artist means never to avert one’s gaze. If we are receptive enough and empty enough then we can act as a medium or vessel through which ideas and inspiration manifest... Wagner used to say that he’d walk up and down the avenues to catch the melodies as they floated in the air. Mary Oliver used to place pencils in trees just in case a poem came to her on her long walks.
2.] What is the itch you are scratching?
The word philology is derived from the Greek philologia, meaning a love of learning, of literature etc. I’m a curious person and I can never satiate my appetite for learning new things because I constantly want to better myself.
3.] Early bird or night owl? Tortoise or hare?
I used to be a night owl but now I work best in the evenings and try to get a decent amount of sleep because I need the nights to dream and to restore my body and mind.
4.] How do you know when you are done?
Ever since I was a child I was a perfectionist in everything I did. But when I first started writing, it was very liberating for me because it was the only time I didn't aim for perfection. As artists we ought to engage in what the Mystics call divine playfulness, because art isn’t sacred, but the transformative process of creating art is sacred and should always be treated with respect. Seriousness is a different thing. It ought to be sacrilegious to be serious. Seriousness in art, and in life, makes us ill... To answer this question simply: I suppose I'm never done but I'm very much okay with that.