Mirene Arsanios


Interview: LMCC Alum Spotlight

S: What are your thoughts about being a writer/editor in the age of digital tools such as collaborative editing/wiki/translation platforms? I thought of this question as I was reading your piece, Many Englishes

M: Makhzin, the magazine I co-edit with Ghalya Saadawi and Iman Mersal, is produced across time zones (Beirut, Edmonton (Canada), and New York). It exists primarily online and is configured for an audience that is geographically scattered. I think that we’re still trying to find a way to make sense of our relationship to place, not in terms of locality, but in terms of what our concerns are, where our engagement is and in what language are we speaking to each other. We’re trying to connect physical conversations to an online readership, which can be an editorial challenge.

S: How do you arrive at an endpoint (a final published piece) when the processes of interpretation/translation/questioning/coauthorship are seemingly endless?

M: I’m rarely satisfied when a piece goes online or is published. It’s hard for me to look back at it because I immediately want to re-write parts of it, etc. Sometimes, I’ll write a story and understand, only years later, what it was actually about! External structures such as deadlines or commissions are sometimes useful because they put an end to a potentially infinite process. I think it’s a matter of decision, of acknowledging that spending more time with a story or poem doesn’t necessarily make it better, though it could turn it into another, different piece. Trusted friends and editors can also help you distance yourself from a process that perhaps, no longer needs you.