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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Eileen Pollack

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I never seem able to fully inhabit the moments of my life as I live them. I see few patterns. I make sense of nothing. Living my life retrospectively, I fully experience the sensory details I missed the first time. I imagine the realities of other people. I consider the larger social and historical context in which my minute (but seemingly huge) experiences took place. Without reading and writing, nothing seems to make sense. Nothing seems to matter.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I turn off my intellectual brain, close my eyes, and daydream myself into a scene, whether real or invented. I go back to a place I loved, or a place I hated. I remember an event that stirs my emotions. And then, without leaving the daydream, I just try to transcribe what I am seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting, feeling.

What is your favorite time to write? In the morning, after I’ve had breakfast and read The New York Times and worked a few puzzles and played a few hands of computer bridge.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Don’t write what you think you should write, or what you can write. Write what you absolutely must write. Write what only you can write. Write about people and places and events that would be forgotten or remain invisible if you didn’t get them down on the page.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I am in my sixties, and writing is the only way I have (other than being the mother to a terrific son) to feel as if my existence on this planet has been at all worthwhile. To feel that I won’t completely vanish into nothingness when I die. Also, my own writing often makes me laugh.

Eileen Pollack’s Maybe It’s Me: On Being the Wrong Kind of Woman is out now with ‎ Delphinium Books.