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Member Spotlight: Bruce Ducker

author Bruce Ducker and an image of his book Stemming the Flow

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? In our news, facts swim on and of the front page, darting behind rumors, propaganda, falsities, absurdities. Writing –the kind you want to be doing– deals with truth. I don’t know that it will save the race, but it certainly feels good.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Eudora Welty did housework, Dylan drank. I tend to side with Hemingway, who would go out on the Little Wood and cast a fly made of feathers and thread at a shadow that may have been a fish and may have been a cloud and may have been his desires made flesh. What tried and tested remedies would you suggest for a drowning man? Time is ticking away– you’re worrying about style, synecdoche, meter, narrative arcs…. You have two jobs, writing and editing. All that claptrap comes with the second job.

What is your favorite time to write? Any time you can rid yourself of doorbells, cell calls, texting, tweeting, robocalls, the siren of your beloved, or the six-o’clock news. Find the space between the grass mowers and the leaf blowers. So you miss Gideon’s trumpet…

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Don’t believe advice. Your raw material is everything you’ve has ever seen or heard or felt. You have to dig through that rubbish dump of rank rubbish-heap of experience, until you find a gemstone. Or an empty tuna can. Or a shard of glass. Get to work. Don’t believe advice.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Frost wrote, in response to the question what is poetry, “It almost seems as if….” Who wouldn’t rather deal with that than today’s reality?

Bruce Ducker’s Stemming the Flow is out now with Kingston University Press.