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Member Spotlight: Lee Ann Timreck

author Lee Ann Timreck and an image of her book Pieces of Freedom

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing is a second career for me, and provides me an opportunity to really reflect on the world I live in and the story I want to tell. As all writers know, writing is hard work; every sentence is carefully shaped and polished, then strung together in a narrative. The published book captures our story in perpetuity, just as we wrote it – unlike visual media, which can be changed or edited, and easily forgotten. Books also help us become more global – works from around the world are being translated and made available more frequently, introducing legacy books to a whole new audience.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? As this is my first book, my remedies are still being formulated. But the ones that work for me are consistency – scheduling a regular time to work on my writing, and change of focus – shifting to a different section or a different writing task to break the stalemate. I also find that reading what I have just written gives me ideas of where I need to go next.

What is your favorite time to write? For me, it is the afternoon. I have the luxury of not having a full-time job, so I can keep a regular afternoon schedule. It allows me to use the mornings for exercise, errands, etc. and still have a solid chunk of time to work.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? That there is a time for research and a time to write. Since I write non-fiction, I can easily spend lots of time at libraries, reading and researching for the book. But the result can be years spent researching, and nothing written. You have to start trying to write sooner than feels comfortable, so you can begin moving the project forward.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? The sheer volume of on-line resources now available to help me with my writing research. My area of interest is nineteenth-century African American history and culture, and there are so many academic resources that have been digitized over the past five years. The Covid pandemic also led to the increase of Zoom-type lectures and virtual conferences, enabling me to hear incredible authors, historians, etc. that I would never have been able to see in person. And again, this connectivity across educational institutions and organizations nation-wide (and internationally) enhances our global outlook.

Lee Ann Timreck’s Pieces of Freedom: The Emancipation Sculptures of Edmonia Lewis and Meta Warrick Fuller is out now with University Press of Mississippi.