Sheila Sampath, writer, artist, educator and activist designer, is participating in our Valentine’s Day Twitter Chat. We had some questions about how she celebrates love on February 14th and year round!
If you need some guidance writing to your valentine, join us on Twitter between 12-1pm on February 14th to get some professional help.
IFOA: What advice do you have for someone struggling to write a love letter?
Sheila Sampath: Start with something small—where the stakes are lower. Try writing a letter to your favourite dress, bookshelf or armpit. Read it out loud and wait. Ask for feedback. Wait. Feel. When you’ve mastered this, move onto the neighbourhood cat or alpha-pigeon. Repeat. Work your way up to other humans.
IFOA: Did you write Valentines as a child? Do you still?
Sampath: Yes (to both questions), but rarely on Valentine’s Day.
IFOA: What is the most romantic book you have ever read?
Sampath: This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz. The stories in the book really bring out the messiness and complexities of love, as we negotiate race, class and trauma, and link the acts of healing with love in a way that both breaks my heart and gives me hope.
IFOA: Roses, chocolates, candy, teddy bears. What do you prefer?
Sampath: None of these things. I want that figurine of the cat I pointed out in the window that one time and then completely forgot about but you remembered because it was a special moment. Or a mix-tape.
IFOA: If you had to pick just one poet to quote always who would it be?
Sampath: At this moment, Nayyirah Waheed.