I have been looking into schedules. Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle, What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.
~Annie Dillard, The Writing Life


On the first of each month,
a guest writer
how they spend the day.


May 1, 2024: Anjali Enjeti


For many of us, going from writer to author is a long and winding road. Although The Parted Earth is Anjali Enjeti’s debut novel, it’s not the first book she wrote. In fact, she wrote five before it. But after breaking up with her second agent, she submitted #6 to the wonderful Hub City Press, and they published it in 2021. (“Going Solo: Selling Your Book Without an Agent,” Michael Bourne, Poets & Writers 2022, July-August.)

In the world Anjali created in The Parted Earth, it’s June of 1947, Britain has just announced that after three hundred years in India, they will be leaving and the country will be divided into a mainly Hindu India and a mainly Muslim Pakistan. Trouble is everywhere as sixteen-year-old Deepa, a Hindu, makes her way from school to the medical clinic in New Delhi where her parents work.

Smoke clouded the air. People blanketed the intersection. They carried small sacks and children on their backs. They appeared to be Hindu and Sikh refugees. Delhi’s population was swelling with them. Sri’s rickshaw came to a halt. He hopped off the seat, guided the bars to the side, searched for an opening between them to slip through.

As Hindus fill the town, Muslims flee. They’re no longer safe here and neither are Hindus who help Muslims, like Deepa’s parents. To keep their daughter safe, they send her home, where in her father’s garden, enclosed by a concrete half-wall, everyday life is still peaceful.

Pink and purple streaked the sky. Clouds layered like reams of cotton. The air smelled of freshly laundered clothes, hot oil from vendors selling chaat. On the street, men in trousers and stiff shirts swung briefcases. Stray dogs lapped at puddles. Chickens cornered an empty food stand, pecked at the crumbs on the ground.

But just as trouble made its way into the city, it finds its way into the garden–in the form of a boy who gives Deepa an origami gondola, a Muslim boy named Amir.

He had a strong jaw, a toothy smile, a chest that filled out the creases of his school uniform shirt. Deep noticed him for the first time a few months ago, found herself staring a little too long at his profile in the courtyard the two schools shared.

In Part Two, we catapult to the year 2016, where in Atlanta, Georgia, we meet Shan, Deepa’s granddaughter, who is also in the middle of trouble–a miscarriage and a divorce. And we can’t turn the page to Part Three and the last half of the novel fast enough.

As you’ve already seen above, one of the things Anjali does so well is description. Here we are in Part One at the market.

Deepa and Bala [the cook] navigated through cyclists, small children tugging on their mothers’ saris, carts dripping with yellow, white, red flower garlands. The acidic aroma of chilies infused the air. Food vendors stood in the shade, fanned themselves with newspapers.

These details slow us down, insisting we see the colorful carts, smell the chilies, feel the heat, pay attention to what’s happening. Now take a look at the details in this next paragraph from Part Two, which, without using the word sadness, plop us right down beside it.

The two days after the miscarriage had been a fog. A comforter of used tissues. Half-frunk mugs of herbal tea. The cotton of an Ibuprofen bottle. Plates with peanut butter crackers, slightly burnt grilled cheese, just how she liked it. Except she no longer had an appetite. Her bedsheets stank of tears and sweat. Her hair knotted like a nest against the pillow.

For The Parted Earth, Anjali was the recipient of the 2022 Georgia Author of the Year Award for First Novel. Also published in 2021, by the University of Georgia Press, was Southbound: Essays on Identity, Inheritance, and Social Change, for which she was the winner of the the gold medal for Best Regional Nonfiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Anjali is a fellow Georgian, a fellow former attorney, and a journalist based near Atlanta. She teaches creative writing in the MFA programs at Antioch University in Los Angeles and Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia.


Come back on MAY 1st to read how ANJALI ENJETI spends her days.