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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Joseph E. Bruchac

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Although writing has been described as a solitary art, it’s always been the opposite of that for me. It affords readers the opportunity to exist for a time in someone else’s reality while also stimulating that reader’s imagination. It may go beyond not just the present moment, but the present generation, build a bridge across the centuries. Even more than video, it helps the reader see and experience so much.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? First, not to believe in it. Or to think I have nothing to say. To be a writer you need to write and sometimes write without worrying about what you’re saying or how you’re saying it. Revision can fix problems later, but without anything written there’s nothing to rewrite.

What is your favorite time to write? These days I do much of my writing each morning while walking my dog…by dictating into my iPhone. Then when I get back to my desk I download and start revising. My newest book, a just-published novel called Rez Dogs, was written in its entirety that way. But I also write almost any time of day when I’m at my desk and have even a little undisturbed time.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? One of my teachers and true mentors was James McConkey. 58 years ago when I was a student at Cornell Jim told me “If you are going to write a novel, put everything you know into it.” Whether literally or metaphorically, I’ve always found that advice useful and inspiring whenever I start work on a new novel.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? The limitless resources for research at your fingertips in your phone or your desktop computer, as well as such things as that voice recognition software I’m using all the time now are things that really excite me. But I am equally excited by the possibilities of contact and communication–that, for example, I can post a poem on Facebook and get 800 likes and 50 comments in less than an hour or be in touch with another writer (even in another country) with only a few keystrokes.

Joseph Bruchac’s Rez Dogs is out now with Dial Books.