Today, we are interviewing Avi Pranish, a writer, poet, musician, and an academic. He was born in Fiji and is of Indian descent. He has been living in New Zealand for the last twenty years and has just completed his debut book of poems called Wings.
1. How did you get into what you do right now? Please tell us more about your journey?
Wings is a reflection of thoughts and feelings that have taken me over thirty years of reflections and experience to pen into words.
I believe that when we write poetry, it is interpreted at different levels. Firstly, it’s about the poet’s experience and message, it is then what the reader interprets and gains from the readings. I hope by sharing my journey that my readers will trust in their own resilience and celebrate this time we have here in its entirety with its peaks and troughs.
My parents have had such a huge impact on my life! My Dad is an entomologist, so the Butterfly analogy is a tribute to him and his guidance in my life. My Mom was an English teacher, so the prose itself is dedicated to her as a gratitude for all the love she has given me!
2. Who are your role models?
I am a big fan of the works of poets like Rupi Kaur and Pierre Alex Jeanty, who have found a unique voice in their style of writing, which is very relatable and modern.
3. What inspires you?
People who strive to understand all aspects of themselves as human beings, and our journey here inspires me.
4. Please tell us about your book: Wings.
Wings is divided into four sections, each representing a different phase in life.
The Uninitiated covers themes such as chasing dreams, seeking love and the high life, while the Maimed deals with grief, pain, and heartbreak. The Thinker captures reflections and rationalizations, and the Enlightened encapsulates finding true love and meaning in life. These phases are a chronological representation of what I experienced growing up as a young man drawn to the glittering offerings of high life.
It was great fun in the beginning, however, after burning the candle on both ends with work and partying, I got burnt out in the process. I also got to experience the darker side of corporate life with politics and endless games. On a personal level, I experienced numerous turmoils, all of which are covered in the Uninitiated part of the book.
This led to a low point in my life where everything around me that I had worked hard to build began to collapse, these feelings were very raw and are covered in the Maimed part of the book. After reaching perhaps the lowest part of my life, I began to seek understanding and rationalizing why these events and feelings were occurring. The Thinker embodies these reflections.
The Enlightened section of the book encapsulates the answers to what I was seeking and the general sense of emptiness that we feel when we truly don’t understand our sense of purpose and, more importantly, ourselves.
5. Why did you choose the title Wings, and what can you tell us about all the illustrations?
As the book is divided into four parts, it is very much based on the analogy of a butterfly’s life. The Uninitiated is illustrated as butterflies being drawn to a bright light, which represents the glittering wonders of the high life. The Maimed is based on analogy for getting too close to the flame and getting hurt and is illustrated as a butterfly with burnt wings. While the Thinker is the rationalization phase and is depicted as a cocoon. The final section is the Enlightened, this is illustrated as a butterfly in free flight after emerging from the cocoon.
Although, you could argue that Butterflies are diurnal creatures of the day, and they would not be attracted to the flame, which would be a great observation on the reader’s part!
Butterflies are majestic creatures that represent so much beauty and calmness as the float seamlessly through the air. I chose the Butterfly to represent us as human beings with such unrealized beauty as we pass through our journey in this world, which is why I chose the title Wings!
Each of the poems in the book is illustrated to capture the essence of the prose and to bring the words to life.
6. Was there anything challenging when writing Wings?
It is quite challenging revisiting those moments that cause you the greatest pain and trying to rationalize and capture those feelings and lessons in words.
I am a trained Engineer with an MBA and a former Naval Officer, while I strongly identify as a creative soul through my writing and music. There are times when these two mindsets are in conflict as one is very analytical and structured, and the other quite emotional and raw. Finding the balance and utilizing this in my writing can be challenging at times. Still, I believe they are both a very strong part of me, and this flows into my writing.
7. What’s your most memorable experience?
There are so many – graduating from Officer Training School in the Navy was one of them.
Getting my MBA, publishing Wings, and of course, meeting my fiance!!
8. What’s your greatest fear?
My greatest fear, perhaps, is not making the most of this life.
9. Looking back, what’s one thing you wish you understood better before you ever got started?
I know it sounds a bit cliche-ish, but I wouldn't change a thing as I wouldn't be the person I am today.
10. What keeps you going when things get tough?
Spending time with my partner and family is quite important. Music is a big part of my life, playing with my band is very energizing. New Zealand is also such a beautiful country, the sea and landscape are very rejuvenating.
11. Any message for our readers.
Don't be scared to make mistakes, learn from them, and move on.
But don't keep making the same mistakes!
12. How can people connect with you?
On Instagram – avipranish
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/wingsavipranish/
The book is available on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084WLPD1W
Currently free on Kindle Unlimited