I had reviewed the book, “This is How I Save My Life” by Amy B. Scher, way back in August 2018 and enjoyed it a lot. I got the opportunity to interview her, and here are some excerpts from the interview. Thank you, Amy for the interview.
What were the differences you saw and faced between the Western and Eastern paradigm of healing?
Western medicine creates a focus on physical symptoms, while Eastern focuses on the whole system — including mind, body, and spirit. I was a little resistant to this at first because it felt like looking at my thoughts and emotions might place blame on me for illness. But in the end, addressing those aspects were necessary for my healing.
How did you include humor in your narrative? A narrative that is staggeringly terrifying. How and where did wit come about?
I tend to look at everything with humor. It’s how I was raised, thank goodness. My family tried to laugh as much as we cried about difficult things. And I think that just naturally comes through in my writing. No one wants to read a depressing book; and I surely didn’t want to write one. Humor is the element that can keep us going even in the worst of times…and I really wanted that to come through in my story.
Could you please tell me something about your writing process? Where and how did you start writing This Is How I Save My Life?
During my time in India, I kept an online blog about my experiences. This “record” was used later as part of my writing process. I ended up including my “before” and “after” India experiences and expanded and rewrote what happened while I was there. But it did help to have notes on what happened. There is so much that we forget, even when it feels huge and important at the time. Because I wrote the book years after I got back from India, I was able to add in reflection that I couldn’t have incorporated if I was still too close to the experience. Time and space always allow for a clearer picture to emerge.
How difficult or easy was it to get out of the exotic mode of India and weave your story right into it? I am sure it was extremely cathartic for you to write this book. How did you deal with that?
It was very cathartic to write the book. I had my own relationship with India — and so I weaved it into my story as a character. I allowed it to be my teacher; and I felt that going back there in my mind really helped me to write it with more ease.
Did being a Jewish girl in India affect you in any manner at all?
It didn’t! I actually went to a Jewish temple while in India. I saw the play Fiddler On The Roof in Hindi, too. I’ve always been interested in all religions so visited many different kinds of temples while I was there.
What memoirs inspired you to write your own?
Of course Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. I also really loved Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. Both books inspired me so much and kept me writing even when it was hard.
Thanks again, Amy and Simon and Schuster India for this opportunity.