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Member Spotlight: Christi Harlan

author Christi Harlan and her book Mr. President, The Class Is Yours

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? J.D. Salinger wrote in “Seymour: An Introduction” in a letter from Seymour Glass to his brother, Buddy: “When was writing ever your profession? It’s never been anything but your religion. Never.” I’ve never believed that the writers who have touched me were writing for me. I am glad they were writing for themselves and let me read their works.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I never touch the keyboard until the words are in my head. I write while I walk, while I shower, while I wash dishes. The last place I write is on the computer.

What is your favorite time to write? Any time the words are ready in my head. Even when I had a full-time job as a writer, I would capture my thoughts when they were ready, whether on paper, on a computer, on a BlackBerry, on an Android phone.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? From J.D. Salinger, again, in Seymour: An Introduction, the advice from reader Seymour Glass to writer Buddy Glass: “Keep me up till five only because all your stars are out, and for no other reason.” Translated: Don’t keep me awake because I see errors or inconsistencies. Keep me awake because I am dazzled by your words, your ideas or your revelations. “All your stars.”

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I have an opportunity to apply 20 years of skills as a newspaper reporter and another 20 years in public affairs to craft and promote a book that is historically important and otherwise unknown. It’s a scoop, and that makes my heart beat fast.

Christi Harlan’s Mr. President, The Class Is Yours: Jimmy Carter’s Sunday School Lessons in Washington, D.C. is out now.