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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Erin Kate Ryan

black and white photo of author Erin Kate Ryan looking toward the camera and an image of her book Quantum Girl Theory

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I love writing as a bridge from your mind to mine, a way to make the space between us into one of experimentation and play and empathy, to act out ideas for making the world off the page into a better place.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Poetry, art (even, or maybe especially, bad art), and play. Poetry for when I’ve lost the words and feelings; art for when I’ve lost the ideas or excitement; and play for when I’ve lost the joy of creation.

What is your favorite time to write? No matter how I start my day, late afternoon tends to land as my more creative time. My favorite time of year to write is the autumn, when a new kind of world is opening, a world of harvest and fullness and orange sun and cold nights.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Get through the first draft as quickly as you can: being overly precious in first drafts blinkers the expansive potential of revision. There are no gold stars for “best” first drafts, and the real writing and real love come through the deep knee bend of rewriting.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I think being a writer is a kind of super power for recognizing the stories that are told to us every day—recognizing the structures, the repetitions, the convenient narratives. It offers us an alternative to all that, a chance to peel back the tired tropes and see the raw potential, or the opportunity for newness or collaboration, underneath it all.

Erin Kate Ryan’s Quantum Girl Theory is out now with Random House.