Amir Hosein, my first question is about your passions. What motivates you to get up every morning and keep working hard?
Well, I look at this as two separate questions. I have a passion. It is touching, working with, and scrutinizing cameras. I’m in love with them and anything related to them, e.g. tripods, drones, lights, and the like. Taking photos and making creative videos are the most fascinating and satisfying activities for me.
However, to be honest, I still enjoy certain things but getting myself to actually do those things is, at the moment, very difficult. This can be the result of immigration multiplied by the current pandemic situation and I believe it is a phase; a transitional period of inaction.
Besides Persian, English, and German, what other languages do you speak well? If you were supposed to choose only one of them, which one would you pick?
I only know these three languages. I tried learning French and Spanish but did not continue my efforts, and also I always wanted to learn Italian but never had the chance. It is on my bucket list, though.
If I were to choose one of these languages, I’d say English would be my choice. This is because I have studied (and am studying) English literature. I enjoyed most of my adult life reading novels, poems, and short stories in English, which was, is, and probably will be one of the main pleasures that life can offer.
Persian is really beautiful too, and I obviously enjoy the luxury of being able to speak it. I do not take that for granted. But I guess because of my experiences and also because of the worldwide spread of English, I guess I would choose English.
As far as I know, you studied English literature at Iranian universities for at least six years. I have a simple question. Why did you choose English literature as your university major? And now, when you look back on all those years, do you think it was worth it?
I think, among all decisions I made in my life, one of the wisest ones was studying English literature. It was definitely worth it. It changed my perspective, opened new horizons and opportunities, and redefined my life.
My life journey started with studying English literature, and it is still going on thanks to the opportunities it brought about with it, and I am thankful for it. This journey was against the grain and contrary to what everyone was expecting. I chose this major, and that made the whole difference because it was the road less taken.
You and I spent four years at Kharazmi University studying English language and literature. What do you miss most about those days and our campus?
In one word: simplicity. I miss all the days in which my main focus was to try out new things and go on adventures. It was when my life was void of anxiety and tensions of the hectic lifestyle that I am leading now, and I could live life to the fullest.
Amir Hosein, you’re a sociable man. I know you make new friends wherever you go. What do you like most about humans? What certain qualities should your close friends have?
Diversity is the main collective characteristic I like about humans as a species; specifically diversity of thoughts. I take pleasure in sitting with people listening to different and new ideas, criticisms, and worldviews.
Sociocultural discussions are my favourite since these types of discussions excite me as they give me new lenses through which I can look around me and observe the ongoing phenomena in my immediate surrounding as well as the international community.
Consequently, I enjoy spending time with people who actively inform themselves of the developments of the world around them and take an active role in this development; be it bringing about the changes, assessing those changes or sometimes reacting to the changes which may induce negative consequences.
And you’ve studied Cultural Studies in Germany. Has studying this major had any significant influence on your life and character?
My field of studies definitely changed a lot of things about me. It made me familiar with critical theories in literature which was a pivot in my life. I believe that what one reads changes who one becomes, and I am not an exception.
Cultural studies and world literature comprise the main bulk of what I have read. When you read novels, short stories, and poems from different eras and locations, they certainly affect how you see the world. So the answer to your question is absolutely yes.
My favorite fictional character is Ebenezer Scrooge. Who’s yours? And who is your most favorite English/American writer?
This is one of the most difficult questions to answer. I have grown a passion for different characters. I have loved and sympathized with many characters and even writers and each received different emotional responses from me in different stages of my life. So preferring one to another is somehow undermining the other characters.
However, I believe some characters like “Holden Caulfield” in “The Catcher in the Rye” and “Dan Weir” in “Espedair Street” have had a longer-lasting influence on me than others. I literally have so many favourite authors that writing about them would only make a long list. The list can start with Chaucer and end with Mitchel and Banks.
Do you write routinely? What genre is your favorite?
No, to be honest. I only write on certain occasions. I really wish I were able to write more, but unfortunately, I have a table to put food on. That means too much occupation with the daily routines. However, whenever I am inspired, I take my phone and write what comes to mind.
I know you have contributed to The FU Review. Are you still contributing to that journal or any other journals? Was the experience fulfilling?
Yes, I have worked with those lovely people for three of the issues, but unfortunately for the same reason I mentioned before, I could not go on working with them. It was a new experience, and I learned a lot from them.
I got to know a lot about how to implement the critical theories that I had learned about criticizing and assessing works of art, and that was a privilege that I had in those three issues.
And my last question is about Iran. What should people like you and I do during these difficult times to keep ourselves sane and hopeful?
Make a change! Destroy and create!