Turning Point Q&A with Lara Tupper

Lara Tupper, MFA, is the author of A Thousand and One Nights, a novel about singers at sea. Her work has appeared in Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak, The Believer, fivechapters.com, and other literary magazines. Lara taught writing at Rutgers University for nine years and now lives in the Berkshires, where she regularly presents writing workshops for Kripalu’s R&R Retreat program.

Describe what you do in 15 words or less.
I tell stories through words and music; I hold space for others’ stories to unfold.

Tell us about a turning point in your life.
In 2010, I left my apartment in New York City and my job at Rutgers University to volunteer at Kripalu. I’m still here! Leaving academia was good for me. Though I loved my students, though I’d published a novel and was immersed in the downtown literary scene, my overall lifestyle was not a healthy one. I was disconnected from my body and heart and resided entirely in my brain. In giving up my job and bad habits, in discovering yoga, I gained back my sense of self.

What do you love about teaching?
I love hearing stories emerge from Kripalu’s guests. I am reminded again and again of how unique each perspective is, how insightful and detailed others’ observations can be. It’s my privilege to create a supportive container for details to come forth. Something powerful happens when words are shared in a writing group. I get ver klempt each time I teach—and that’s a good thing!

What are you passionate about right now?
I have found my voice again—literally. After too many years away from music, I now sing in a jazz/pop duo based in the Berkshires. I just recorded my first CD, with a lot of help from colleagues at Kripalu. My writing has become more authentic as well. I’ve finished a second novel and am working on a memoir.

What do you do in your downtime?
I love long walks—and short walks. Thoreau thought that walking outdoors was “pre-writing,” a chance for ideas to gather in the body and then flow forth to the mind, the heart, the pen.

© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please e-mail editor@kripalu.org.