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Member Spotlight: David B Bushman

author David Bushman and an image of his book Forget It Jake, It's Schenectady

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Well, for one thing, it transports me to other worlds, and who doesn’t need that from time to time. It’s kind of like running for me in that sense — I’m suddenly functioning in a parallel time and place, and I have a lot more control over it.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I don’t want to jinx myself here. I do believe in just writing and getting whatever you can down on paper and then going back to it later when — for some reason I could never understand — it’s just easier for me to channel the right voice for the piece. So get it down on paper and fix it later on.

What is your favorite time to write? I used to love to write at night, but I seem to get tired earlier these days. I’d still say nighttime, though. Something about the blackness and solitude speaks to me.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? I wish I had a writing Yoda, but I don’t. I remember that in seventh grade, my English teacher, Mr. O’Sullivan told us to come up with our own ending to Lost Horizon. That’s the first book I remember where the craftsman blew me away. He read mine aloud to the class, and he said that in some ways the writing was better than the actual concept, which I guess was a pyrrhic victory. But it gave me confidence in my writing, and that helped me. I tutor and coach writers now, and what I always try to do is find something positive about their work and to help them believe in their gift the same way my teacher helped me believe in mine.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I think it is a very, very tough time to be a writer, what with AI and agents and publishers who are afraid to take chances, even more now with all the consolidation and retrenchment going on. When I was a TV curator at The Paley Center for Media, I organized screening series, and I never went down to the theater to see how many people were coming. We had no marketing budget and I had no control over audience. All I could do was create something I was proud of. So that’s what I focused on. the glory is in the creation, and that is just as exciting now as it ever was.

David B Bushman’s Forget It, Jake, It’s Schenectady: The True Story Behind “The Place Beyond the Pines” is out now with Fayetteville Mafia Press.