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Member Spotlight: Larry Zuckerman

author Larry Zuckerman and an image of his book Lonely Are the Brave

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? As a teenager, I began to question the myths my parents told about our family, but when saying so caused trouble, I confided my stories to paper instead. That’s how I became a writer. Ever since, having a voice has meant everything to me; I feel connected to the world when I write, because I’ve exercised that voice. I think that’s what literature does, connects us, and the books we love speak to something in ourselves that we might have guessed was there but not thought of in quite that way.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I almost squirm to say this, but I don’t get writer’s block. (My shtetl forebears would have spat three times to ward off the Evil Eye.) I have bad writing days, as we all do, but I’ve been lucky to build the confidence that tomorrow or the next day will go better.

What is your favorite time to write? The morning, after I’ve gotten chores and errands out of the way. I know I won’t be interrupted, and I can lose myself in my work.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? My tenth-grade English teacher once wrote on an essay of mine, “You can do better.” That embarrassed me, but I knew what he meant; I’d cut corners. So I’d urge all writers to go the extra mile to find the right word, phrase, sentence, or story action. You’ll learn something, even if you can’t use it immediately; the effort is never wasted.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? At fifteen, I dreamed of publishing a novel, a dream now fifty-five years old. This month, I’ll realize that dream, and that excites me in a big way. My publisher is a small press, something I’d have balked at years ago. What’s happened to our industry troubles me–the chase for best sellers is so typical of our all-or-nothing society–but I’m glad that there are alternatives, and that they continue to thrive.

Larry Zuckerman’s Lonely Are the Brave is out now with Cennan Books of Cynren Press.