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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Judith Cody

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Evolution of Writing: Tens of thousands of years ago Human beings were using copper or stone to shape vital necessary objects for their everyday lives. In that harsh prehistoric world where each day was a struggle for survival our ancient ancestors found enough time to take their roughly-hewn instruments of writing and thrust them forcefully yet gracefully against stone walls in shadowy caves, high abutments or other carefully selected surfaces. Hard-working hands shaped and reshaped exotic images called petroglyphs into the stone. Other writer-artists often left their paint covered handprints on the walls (Signatures?). Images were often painted where others might see them. The writers also used their tools to carve or paint beautiful images of animals, objects and people into hard surfaces. Everyday written characters, including hanzi, kanji, alphabets and symbols we now use all evolved from those visual images. They were artist-writers posting their messages determined to announce the existence of themselves and their beliefs for future readers. We are they―the writers and artists of now creating our own unique messages. The glorious message from the eternal work of our ancient ancestors is this: writing means we exist again in the reader’s mind, who can see us, feel us, even be persuaded by us no matter how many eons have passed after our author’s body has evaporated into everlasting nothingness. The secret is this: the primordial writer in stone and paint understood that we of the unknown mysterious future would read and learn from her message.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? My cure for writer’s block: Getting myself feeling healthy with a day or so of rest and good food and calming activities such as a little gardening; in other words, reduce all possible stress at least for a little while. At the same time urge myself to think of some of my better writings of recent years.

What is your favorite time to write? Right after coffee and breakfast, whatever time of day that turns out to be.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Advice I got from my early teachers who were Nuns: Unless it’s the voice of your novel’s character, don’t use fashionable colloquial speech or slang in an attempt to sound contemporary; it backfires and may make you seem outmoded, even ridiculous (ugh). Plus it can cause your writing to seem obsolete in just a few years (or even less).

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Writing today is exciting because we have something writers never could possibly imagine in the past. We can be in instant contact with any place on earth we choose because of the internet, of course. If you haven’t got around to this already, why not build a website that holds samples of your work and allows others to share or even comment. With a little effort, writers can create their own blog and communicate on any subject that they find interesting including discussing writing techniques, how to make a poem, how to construct great essays or even just the day to day struggles many of us experience. There is an audience out there, often a huge audience who will want to read such words of writers! But perhaps one of the most interesting items in this worldwide web era is that now a massive number of writers’ works are available to be read on the web. Individual writer’s lives and thoughts can be examined whenever we wish. This would have been impossible once yet today we have this wonderful opportunity to learn from so many of those who we admire and even the others.

Judith Cody’s Garden on the Alien Star System is out now with Finishing Line Press.