Q&A with ‘Seashells on Sand’ author Eeshita  

Our editors are hard at work copyediting the stories and poems that have been selected for the USYD 2023 Anthology. One of these stories is ‘Seashells on Sand’ by Eeshita; a beautiful story about memory and ephemerality.  

Where did you get the idea for your story? What inspired you? 

There’s nothing like a deadline to inspire a writer. I started writing my piece specifically for this anthology. At that time, I had just finished my degree and was back home in India. Naturally, I missed walking down the Eastern Avenue, reading at Fisher Library and roaming around the Quad. With the help of the theme of the anthology, I wrote ‘Seashells on Sand’ to reflect upon fond memories and give voice to my anxieties about what comes next. 

What did you learn while writing your piece? 

No matter how lovely or challenging a chapter is, you cannot dwell on it for long. You need to turn over the page to figure out the rest of your story. When I received the acceptance email from the Anthology team, something clicked, and I realised that this was my chance to turn the page. After all, if my write-up could find its place, maybe I would too!  

Have you always wanted to write? When did you realise you liked writing? 

I think I’ve wanted to write ever since I started reading, which was in high school. Each time I read a good book, I wondered what it would feel like to see my words printed on a page like that. The thought was enough to get me going.  

I fell in love with writing when I finally began studying it at USYD. The first time I read out my work and the first time I saw my name printed next to my story were some of the best days of my life. 

What book from your childhood has shaped you the most as a writer? 

When I first started reading, I had this idea of what writing was supposed to look like based on the kind of books I’d read: a hero’s journey, where big adventures happen and the protagonist ends up saving the world. However, my imagination always fell short of weaving such fantastical tales, which made me question if I could ever become a novelist with such lacking creativity. 

But then I read Lone Fox Dancing by Ruskin Bond, an autobiography by India’s beloved children’s author. I’d never come across something like this book before and I was awe-struck by its serene simplicity and astounding depth – a writer writing about life. During my master’s, I came across the name of the genre that such stories belong to: life writing.  

That was a game changer for me. I’d finally found a unique way of storytelling that resonated with how I saw the world and how my words interpreted it. This knowledge eased my self-doubt and made me believe that being a writer was not about fitting in but more like carving out your own customised space in which you can exist as authentically as possible.