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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Elisa Bernick

Elisa Bernick and her book Departure Stories

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I am a journalist by profession and an author by passion. From a young age I sensed the tornadic power of words to stir curiosity and spark imagination. Writing about something helps me sift through my own thoughts to reach a deeper understanding of myself and other topics.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? My writing is cyclical depending on where I’m at in a writing project and what else is happening in my world. As an avid gardener, I understand that fallow times are as valuable as the hours of intensive writing where I wake back up to the world and wonder how long I’ve been gone. Dreaming, reading, research, and even hand-wringing enriches my mental soil. Nothing is wasted.

What is your favorite time to write? I am an early riser. I make coffee at 5 and sit down to write immediately. The dim silence of early morning allows me to hear my own thoughts more clearly.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Write the first draft for yourself, the second draft for your readers, and the final draft for the work itself.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I like the blurring of fact and fiction in a lot of today’s writing. I also like the continued experimentation with narrative form and the innovative ways words are presented on the page. It feels like things are cracking open and we are all surprised by what is emerging.

Elisa Bernick’s Departure Stories: Betty Crocker Made Matzoh Balls (and other lies) is out now with Indiana University Press.