vol. 2

Lyrical

Volume 2 features two wordsmiths: Zaffrin O'Sullivan and Mona Arshi.

On the surface, there seem to be many commonalities. Both are the children of immigrants (Bangladeshi and Punjabi, respectively). Both are mothers. Both have built careers in law. Both have a love of literature and storytelling.

But dive deeper and there's also a carefulness with words—cultivated from their chosen professions, no doubt, but also from something more personal.

Zaffrin admits to being a 'cerebral' person. The thoughtfulness in her choice of words has recently been amplified by her interactions with her seven-year-old daughter. Being careful with our words—and tone—is not the only thing her children has taught her. We talk about Zaffrin's own version of Shonda Rhimes' 'year of yes' and being present.

Mona is a former human rights lawyer, poet and novelist, who didn't speak a word of English until she was six. Her attention to the language stems from the fact that she needed to ensure she was 'good enough'. Today, that carefulness has been poured into the construction of inferences, analogies, and characters.

We also chat about inhibitions, catching up, being outsiders, and writer's block (but let's not call it that). Enjoy the stories.

Zaffrin O'Sullivan

A lot of it is about how you own your story. Some parts of my life... I think I know how to own my story, others I'm still trying to work it out.

Zaffrin: beekeeper, beauty entrepreneur & lawyer

Mona Arshi

My attention to English and words has been a carefulness that I've acquired.

Mona: poet, novelist, professor & former human rights lawyer

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