All Member Spotlights
Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Eric Alterman

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world?
I write because the world is complicated and requires explanation and (especially historical) context to understand. I try to provide that. Also, I get really mad at a lot of things I see going on and this is one way to deal with that.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block?
Writing crap is the only way, I think, and then working to make it better over time.

What is your favorite time to write?
I write early in the morning until lunch and then I read and/or (in the olden days) go to the movies or just for long walks. I hate the gym but I used to go there too because I believe in self-discipline.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers?
Two things, one from my friend’s high school year book and one from the great Amos Oz when I interviewed him in his home in Arad, Israel in 1988 (I think):
1) “Self-Discipline: the key to poker; the key to life”
2) “I am like a store-keeper. It’s my job to go to my desk and sit there and wait for something or someone to arrive. If nothing or no one comes that day, well I still did my job.”

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age?
Finishing. I hate everything else about it, to be honest.

Eric Alterman’s Lying in State: Why Presidents Lie–And Why Trump Is Worse is out now with Basic Books.