All Member Spotlights
Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Cynthia Manick

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? When writing you discover something different about yourself and the world. When you look at history, without storytellers–it’s just facts and dates but no emotion. As a human being you can’t experience everything, but writing gets you to empathy and imagination which gets you close.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? “Cure” is a strong word! For me–reading other people’s work whether its literary or something fun, always inspires me. Also curiosity–I think as children we eventually learn to stop asking questions. But that can stifle the imagination–so ask a question of world and try to write its response. What are the stars doing when we can’t see them?

What is your favorite time to write? I’m a night person, so a midnight writing jag is up my alley.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? In a craft talk years ago, the poet Natalie Diaz said that everyone knows what an apple is. They know what it looks, taste, and smells like. As a writer, it’s your job to make people see your apple.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I think the robust writing community that now exists in multiple ways really fosters creativity. Years ago, getting published in a literary journal felt unattainable for some. But now journals of every kind of genre has an online component and writers/editors are creating spaces for other writers to thrive. In addition, when the pandemic started, events were canceling rapidly as we all begin to quarantine. Writers and artists immediately realized the need for connection and they very quickly moved to Instagram live and other platforms to mimic the intimacy of an in person reading. I did the same for my reading series, Soul Sister Revue, which now has attendance from people all over.

Cynthia Manick’s The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry, co-edited with Len Lawson and Gary Jackson, is out now with Blair.