Four months into 2017, most of what I’ve written is non-fiction. A lot of that isn’t constructed writing. They are letters (including job application letters), long chat conversations, depressed rambles in my diary. These times in the United States have not been kind to me. I don’t mean the kindness of individuals – I received so many assertions of hope, encouragement, so many offers of support from friends and acquaintances that my heart brims with joy – but my general prospects in this country have gone so many shades darker. I’m not sure I like the United States, although I like so many Americans, and would love to stay around them.
My time in the United States has been quite different from my time in the United Kingdom. In the UK, surprisingly enough, I did not get to know many British people. My classmates at Stirling were largely international, and most of them, like me, are no longer in the country. My Indian friends who were students at other British universities at that time have also largely gone back home. For various reasons, I did not have the opportunity to seek out other communities of likeminded people, and so, I have very few people and places to go back for in the UK. I never really wanted to come to America in the first place. (Never liked the idea of this country, with its ultra-chauvinism, smug superiority over all other countries in the world, and all the barefaced racism, anti-intellectualism and so many things that characterize popular American culture.) But if I have to leave, I will have so much more to miss.
Among the more-than-a-hundred wonderful people I met in the US are the editors of Uncanny Magazine, who commissioned me to write an essay a couple of months ago, which will finally be featured in their May issue. It is an essay about how I have lived and felt in this country for the last few months. In some ways, it’s a structured version of all those conversations I’ve had. Yet, I don’t really see myself as a nonfiction writer, and probably wouldn’t have written an essay if no one prompted me. I was truly taken aback by how much Michael Damian Thomas of Uncanny liked it. Maybe I should try my hand at writing more nonfiction, after all.