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Conversations with the Inspiring Rudri Patel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rudri Patel.

Rudri, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
As a young girl, I loved visiting the library, spending hours perusing the shelves, stacking my book pile so high, I’d barely make it to the car. I’d read late into the night copying memorable quotes in a journal. From the beginning, I harbored a secret – books, paper, pens, and words offered a way to navigate the world. Through this lens, I landed at The Southern Methodist University School of Law and practiced bankruptcy law for several years in Texas. After moving to Arizona in 2009, though, I returned to my love of writing. Prior to embarking on my legal career, I obtained my Masters Degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. Writing always provided a compass to process my thoughts and emotions. I turned to words when I lost my father in 2009 after his four-year secret battle with cancer. As a way to channel my grief, I started blogging about various threads of loss and tilting my gaze toward the ordinary. I pitched my work to other outlets, landing bylines in The Washington Post, Saveur, Brain, Child Magazine, Phoenix New Times and elsewhere. I’d embraced my transition as a freelancer, but wanted to explore how to become a literary citizen. In 2016, I started a nonprofit digital literary journal, The Sunlight Press, with my colleague, Beth Burrell. Our journal welcomes work from new and established voices and features fiction, poetry, essays, and photography. Now, along with running a nonprofit, freelancing for local and national publications, I am working on a memoir that explores the Hindu culture in the South.

Has it been a smooth road?
Doubt is always a constant companion. Transitioning from a legal career to writing wasn’t easy and second-guessing is a part of the process. I’ve experienced several moments of questioning myself and wondering whether I made the right decision to walk away from my almost ten-year career as a lawyer. Epiphanies occur in the most unexpected places and witnessing the loss of my father switched my career trajectory. As a writer, I experience personal rejections on an ongoing basis. This doesn’t slow me down. It reaffirms my push toward refining my writing, deepening my thoughts, and learning to revise – again and again. My advice – don’t be afraid to revise your life. If an obstacle arises, push through. In those moments when giving up is the easiest thing to do, resist and move toward a new path.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Sunlight Press story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a writer, editor, and co-founder of a nonprofit literary journal. The Sunlight Press is a digital literary journal founded in 2016 to welcome new and established voices. We publish essays, short stories, poetry, book reviews, photography, and artist reflections on their craft. Readers tell us they appreciate the exceptional writing and visual arts; writers tell us they appreciate the community of artists we foster and pay. We want to know how people turn toward light and hope and navigate darker moments. Epiphanies are born from the ordinary and the extraordinary; whether it’s a reflection unfolding during a morning walk, after the loss of a loved one, or in the middle of unexpected laughter, we want to know about these moments. We try to offer our audience of writers and readers a forum for literary and creative thought, apart from the rapid-fire daily news and commentary. We are a paying literary journal and we firmly believe all artists and writers should be compensated for their work. We publish twice weekly. We welcome contributions from those who want to support our literary mission. Check out The Sunlight Press for details.

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Image Credit:

Dream Photography Studio (Stacey Woodward)

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