Good Indian Daughter by Ruhi Lee is a brutally honest yet brilliantly funny memoir for anyone who’s ever felt like a let-down. Read on for a Q&A with Ruhi about her writing process.
What are you hoping the reader will take away from reading your book?
For readers who are unfamiliar with some of the challenges faced by countless South Asian daughters in Australia and overseas, I hope the book will be eye-opening. For readers who relate to my experiences, I hope it will offer a sense of solidarity and a comforting reminder that an authentic life and self-compassion are within reach. For all readers, I hope it will anger them and make them laugh in equal measure.
What’s your daily writing routine like and what are you working on at the moment?
For this mum of a toddler, there is no writing routine. I used to aim for a certain number of words per day but learned that in order to avoid constant disappointment, I have to take the pressure off and just do what I can. And for me, at this point in my life, that’s okay.
Some writing > No writing + Guilt
At the moment I am working on some delicious new fiction.
What’s some great advice you’ve received that has helped you as a writer?
There’s a lot. But something I’ve been revisiting quite often lately are the words of author Jenny Zhang: “For women of colour you have to destroy the idea of the correct path and just go on a weird journey that is your own.”
If I looked at your internet history, what would it reveal about you?
In my recent history, you’ll find links to numerous interviews with Michaela Coel, Zadie Smith, Gurinder Chadha, Rachel Cusk, Taika Waititi and other thinkers/writers/artists I admire. You’ll find videos of musicians I am currently keen on, such as Jasleen Royal, Rahul Jain and Budjerah.
Since my daughter hasn’t been able to attend Jams for Juniors with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra this year, we’ve been watching their wonderful videos online. You’ll also see that I’ve watched an insane amount of Bluey and Play School on my laptop.
And, oh my goodness, several replays of a hilarious video by SNL titled ‘Post-Quarantine Conversation’. In general, an internet diet heavy on comedy.
There are some links to: research on the pros and cons of Steiner education being taught in public schools, a guide on how to remove a ring stuck on a swollen finger with dental floss and a fascinating conversation about Damascus between Christos Tsiolkas and three theologians.
What does that reveal about me? That I’m a parent with a sore finger, perhaps? And a massive nerd when it comes to books, music and comedy.
Are you able to switch off at the end of a day of writing? If so, how?
Though I find hot showers relaxing, they also bring heaps of ideas to the surface (what is it about hot water and creativity?!). As long as I have a pen and notebook to jot everything down on afterwards, I’ll be okay to switch off.
My routine for switching off generally involves various combinations of the following activities: online gaming; reading a book (hopefully not one that is too well-written or I’ll be up all night highlighting, annotating and analysing what the writer has done); a cup of tea; quality time with my beloved piano; and quality time with my husband, who is grateful that I love him more than my piano.
Ruhi’s Q&A was first published by Better Reading here.