Agile Histories of Home : An OS [re:con]versation with Anjoli Roy

Elæ Moss
The Operating System & Liminal Lab
13 min readSep 22, 2020

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[Anjoli Roy is author of Enter the Navel, an OS 2020 Digital Chapbook selection. Read more about this series, with the theme “Bloom, Mutation, Entropy, Catalyst, Brine.” You can find the entire series at the OS Open Access Library, here.]

Greetings, comrade! Thank you for talking to us about your process today! Can you introduce yourself, in a way that you would choose?

Sure thing! I am a creative writer and high school English teacher in Honolulu. I’m originally from Pasadena, California, which is Tongva land. My genre of choice is creative nonfiction. And, with my good friend Jocelyn Kapumealani Ng, I am also cohost of the literary and music podcast titled It’s Lit (see itslitwithphdj.wordpress.com), which has featured more than 100 writers to date.

Why are you a “poet”/ “writer”/ “artist”?

We ask the folks we feature on our podcast a similar question, which is “Why lit?” and this happens to be my favorite question to ask, and yet I always stumble on how to answer it myself. I am a writer because stories shape our whole lives, and writing is the best way I am able to be attentive to this life. Writing makes me feel alive and present, and it allows me to try to make sense of the world around me. Writing things down is my attempt to preserve memories, which I nurse a fear of losing.

When did you decide to use the language you use for yourself (and/or: do you feel comfortable calling yourself a poet/writer/artist, what other titles or affiliations do you prefer/feel are more accurate)?

There are probably quite a lot of writers who struggle with imposter syndrome, and I certainly am one of them. There was a time when I thought I couldn’t call myself a writer until I’d published a story. Then, when I’d done that, I decided I couldn’t call myself a writer until I published a book. In short, the bar kept moving. At some point, I decided these thresholds were nonsense and remembered that, from a definitional standpoint, a writer is just a person who writes, so here I am today, telling folks I’m a writer.

What’s a “poet” (or “writer” or “artist”) anyway?
What do you see as your cultural and social role (in the literary / artistic / creative community and beyond)?

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Elæ Moss
The Operating System & Liminal Lab

is a multimodal creative researcher and social practitioner, curator, and educator. Designer @The Operating System. Faculty @ Pratt & Bennington [they/them]