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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Caitlin Myer

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world?
As a kid I disappeared into books for days. Literature was more than an escape; I was able to sit behind the eyes of another person for a time. It is as close as we can ever come to inhabiting another person’s life, and that kind of understanding is essential to a world community.

I need solitude to write, but when I am deep in the flow of words, any sense of alienation disappears. That is where I find the deepest sense of connection with others. We are all helplessly locked into our own heads, and now particularly isolated as a plague has made us dangerous to each other. It is through story that we can find connection, intimacy, community.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block?
A long walk outside. Simply beginning; just sitting down and writing. Setting a timer, a promise to myself to write for one hour and no longer.

Once, thrashing with writer’s block, I wrote an email to a friend that began, “I want to write a story about…” Since then, we have exchanged these tiny email stories as needed to shake our brains awake. When I begin to believe I can’t write anything, I open an email and type, “I want to write a story….” The words flow from there.

What is your favorite time to write?
In the afternoon, after the day job hours are done, after lunch, with a cup of coffee.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers?
“Never get tired of your own story.”

While this seems to only apply to memoir, it works in my mind for any story. I have to engage wholeheartedly with my story; if I’m bored with my own words, readers will be too.

More than that, these words have been a mantra to keep me pushing deeper into a story. When I find the fire at the heart of any piece, I also find the ecstasy in the writing itself.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age?
This moment in history is an inflection point. We are in the midst of a deep shift in how we think about our worldwide community. We writers have a chance to help tip the balance toward a gentler future. I can’t imagine anything more worthwhile.

Caitlin Myer’s Wiving: A Memoir of Loving Then Leaving the Patriarchy is out tomorrow with Arcade.