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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Denise Heinze

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing is essential to me in the same way it is an essential medium for the world. The act of creation is a profound shift from reacting to life–like a sheet flapping on a clothesline–to making sense of it. Reading someone else’s creative endeavors is only a slightly greater degree of separation in that now I have another perspective from which to put the pieces of an often shattered world back together.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I used to resolutely sit at my computer and wait for the muses to poke me in the side. But, more often than not, I felt like I was morphing into a pillar of salt. I finally realized I had to get out of my office and experience something new and different, whether through voracious reading across all genres, or by exploring, traveling, visiting, and experimenting. I had to refresh my perspective and abandon the hum-drum sameness of my daily routine. I also had to allow myself the sheer luxury of other authors’ prose. The movement both outward and inward often does the trick.

What is your favorite time to write? Late afternoon, when the promise of the day begins to fade, I love to relax into the quietude of a writing session. The allure of the outside world–albeit mediated these days by the virtual realm–stops pawing at me, and braying for attention. It’s at that moment I ease into the life of my characters, forget myself, and allow them to breathe.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Many years ago, I took a correspondence course in children’s literature. My assigned teacher and mentor, in her critique of my first assignment, said simply, “Writing is rewriting.” I knew that meant editing and revision, but it came to represent a more global approach to my writing career. I could suffer the slings and arrows of incessant rejection until that point at which I gave up writing all together and slunk away. Or, I could keep at it, relentless in improving my craft, defying the odds and ignoring the dismal prognostications. I could, in effect, write my way out of the wilderness. And I did.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I’m excited to be a writer AT my age. Add to that the sheer volume and magnitude of the problems that currently beset us, and you have people desperate for wisdom, beauty, authenticity. The reprieve from the all-engulfing fog is art–it always has been–and yet it often takes crises and despondency to drive people back to it. We’re there, and I, as a writer, have a few books at the ready for seekers.

Denise Heinze’s The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew is out now with Blackstone Publishing.