Gratitude For My Phenomenology: A Conversation with Gaia Saravan

Gaia Saravan & Ruoyu Wang

Interviews

Gratitude For My Phenomenology: A Conversation with Gaia Saravan

Ruoyu: Gaia, I loved this story for how carefully it approaches the dissonance between one’s physical body and their sense of reality. From the narrator’s point of view, it feels as if each scene is washed over with white noise: there is no exact beginning or trigger to the tension, only its endurance. In what ways does departure span beyond physical separation? In living, as one body, one person, how can we move (both literally and metaphorically) to care for every past version of ourselves?


Gaia: I love that you described the scenes as ‘washed over with white noise.’ When writing, I find myself perceiving the moments through film: depersonalized, predeveloped, autofictive. White noise. This piece, in a way, was a statement of gratitude for my phenomenology, if gratitude is even the right word. Maybe more of an acknowledgement or a solidification. Rather than acceptance, I find that the best way of caring for ourselves is discovering that existing is shedding instantaneously. Perhaps that is why I write, in momentary clips, of what happened and not much about why–dwelling does a disservice to who I’ve become.

Or maybe that’s just the Hindu in me. 




Ruoyu: The vignettes in this piece feel so perfectly placed in relation to each other. Between each scene, the silent interval feels so meditative, almost as if the narrator is reciting these realities to themselves like clockwork. When putting together this nonfiction piece, how did you place together which stories to include? How did you realize which ones were essential to each other, even if not directly related?


Gaia: Thank you for your appreciation! The piece itself chronicles the time period of change and adjustment before and during my first year at college, and I chose to write in the form of vignettes to manufacture an essence of what that felt like. More so, I’d like to think that there is a thin thread of hyperreality, some pixelated burn connecting these stories.

Having an MRI done was the most out-of-body experience I’ve ever had. I wish I could have another one done, just for the sake of experiencing it; the ‘ticks and buffers’ reminded me of a distant comfort, a voice talking to you early in the morning through the phone. If I could extract my thought process into video form, I would be able to explain why the experience of having an MRI done captured the fuzziness of carpeted classrooms, Lafayette Avenue, jellyfish and stop motion summers; this influenced the order of my vignettes, too. Recounting my MRI would be the introduction, then the vignettes about school, and finally, two vignettes that transition into the uncertain conclusion of summer. 




Ruoyu: Could you tell me about one piece of art—this could be anything from other poems to TV show scripts—that has been deeply formative in creating the spaces your work exists in? In what ways does it continue to compel you towards new understandings? 


Gaia: It is paradoxical that although I am a writer, wordless spaces are what pushes me to write! I go back to Denis Villeneuve's Arrival, time and time again, for lessons on emotion, storytelling, and the aura. Language might be what Louise tries to translate but memories and experience gave her true understanding, and the way the film captures this realization never fails to impact me.  It doesn’t really seek to understand but instead offers a feeling. Also–it’s just a beautiful film in general. I am often compelled towards a place of limbo and uncertainty, but I suppose that’s the opposite of new understandings. 

Read the piece here.


Gaia Saravan | Interviewee

Gaia Saravan is an East-Coast based writer and currently an architecture student at Pratt Institute. Her works appear in Ubiquitous Literary & the Prattler Magazine, as well as on her blog, wordsbygaia.com.


Instagram: @gaia.sar


Tip the author through CashApp $GaiaSaravan



Ruoyu Wang | Interviewer

Ruoyu Wang (王若雨) is based in Washington state, where they enjoy cold walks. An Adroit Prizes commended winner in poetry, their work appears in The Shore, Sine Theta, COUNTERCLOCK, and elsewhere. Find them at their website.

Published

Mar 18, 2024

Gratitude For My Phenomenology: A Conversation with Gaia Saravan

Gaia Saravan & Ruoyu Wang

Interviews

Ruoyu: Gaia, I loved this story for how carefully it approaches the dissonance between one’s physical body and their sense of reality. From the narrator’s point of view, it feels as if each scene is washed over with white noise: there is no exact beginning or trigger to the tension, only its endurance. In what ways does departure span beyond physical separation? In living, as one body, one person, how can we move (both literally and metaphorically) to care for every past version of ourselves?


Gaia: I love that you described the scenes as ‘washed over with white noise.’ When writing, I find myself perceiving the moments through film: depersonalized, predeveloped, autofictive. White noise. This piece, in a way, was a statement of gratitude for my phenomenology, if gratitude is even the right word. Maybe more of an acknowledgement or a solidification. Rather than acceptance, I find that the best way of caring for ourselves is discovering that existing is shedding instantaneously. Perhaps that is why I write, in momentary clips, of what happened and not much about why–dwelling does a disservice to who I’ve become.

Or maybe that’s just the Hindu in me. 




Ruoyu: The vignettes in this piece feel so perfectly placed in relation to each other. Between each scene, the silent interval feels so meditative, almost as if the narrator is reciting these realities to themselves like clockwork. When putting together this nonfiction piece, how did you place together which stories to include? How did you realize which ones were essential to each other, even if not directly related?


Gaia: Thank you for your appreciation! The piece itself chronicles the time period of change and adjustment before and during my first year at college, and I chose to write in the form of vignettes to manufacture an essence of what that felt like. More so, I’d like to think that there is a thin thread of hyperreality, some pixelated burn connecting these stories.

Having an MRI done was the most out-of-body experience I’ve ever had. I wish I could have another one done, just for the sake of experiencing it; the ‘ticks and buffers’ reminded me of a distant comfort, a voice talking to you early in the morning through the phone. If I could extract my thought process into video form, I would be able to explain why the experience of having an MRI done captured the fuzziness of carpeted classrooms, Lafayette Avenue, jellyfish and stop motion summers; this influenced the order of my vignettes, too. Recounting my MRI would be the introduction, then the vignettes about school, and finally, two vignettes that transition into the uncertain conclusion of summer. 




Ruoyu: Could you tell me about one piece of art—this could be anything from other poems to TV show scripts—that has been deeply formative in creating the spaces your work exists in? In what ways does it continue to compel you towards new understandings? 


Gaia: It is paradoxical that although I am a writer, wordless spaces are what pushes me to write! I go back to Denis Villeneuve's Arrival, time and time again, for lessons on emotion, storytelling, and the aura. Language might be what Louise tries to translate but memories and experience gave her true understanding, and the way the film captures this realization never fails to impact me.  It doesn’t really seek to understand but instead offers a feeling. Also–it’s just a beautiful film in general. I am often compelled towards a place of limbo and uncertainty, but I suppose that’s the opposite of new understandings.