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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Anca L. Szilágyi

author Anca L. Szilágyi looking directly at the camera and an image of her book Dreams Under Glass on a blue and yellow background

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing expands my experience of life. I can capture fleeing moments, family history told in snatches; go deeper into a scene, a world, an emotion; remember or imagine what was or could be. Writing is a crucial medium for the world for documenting, advocating, dreaming. It can access consciousness in ways other media can’t and so remains a crucial form of expression.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Travel, even if it is simply traveling down my street on foot or taking the “L” some place across town, helps me generate ideas. I love passing old buildings in particular, which seem to have so many stories to tell. Visiting an art gallery also helps shake things up. Looking at paintings was an essential part of finishing the first draft of my first novel; it was so integral that my next two novels (one forthcoming, one in-progress) are about artists.

What is your favorite time to write? I do my best thinking mid-morning with a cup of coffee, after I’ve had a chance to read a little poetry, a little nonfiction, a little fiction in translation. That is the ideal situation.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Heather McHugh once said, “Whenever you’re stuck in a piece of writing, think about what would be most unholy. Then write that.”

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? While I lament the distractions of the internet, I also love how much easier it is to connect with readers as a small press author with limited reach. I am also so happy to see independent bookstores thriving and a growing interest in independent presses, which I believe are essential to a healthy literary ecosystem.

Anca L. Szilágyi’s Dreams Under Glass is out September 27 with ‎ Lanternfish Press.