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Member Spotlight: Mandy-Suzanne Wong

author Mandy-Suzanne Wong and an image of her book The Box

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Creative writing is the art of choosing words carefully. That’s why it’s important. The word carefully chosen is ubiquitously necessary and yet extremely rare in most contexts. But in creative writing, thinking before committing to what you’re going to say is the very bedrock of the practice. As for myself, I cannot help but make things up and paint them in careful words.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Hard work. Inspiration cannot be relied upon to materialize out of nothing in accordance with my schedule or my whims. I often find that I must seek it, especially when I’m on deadline. Look for it within, look for it in notions that could lead to other notions, look for it elsewhere, in the ocean, the trees. Read everything.

What is your favorite time to write? Mid-morning through early evening.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? “A story is a hypothesis, a tryout of human nature under the impingement of certain given materials; so is an essay…Nearly every essay, like every story, is an experiment, not a credo. Or, to put it more stringently: an essay, like a story or a novel, is a fiction. A fiction, by definition, is that which is made up in response to an excited imagination. What is fictitious about the essay is that it is pretending not to be made up…” (Cynthia Ozick)

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Writing can bring joy and need not hurt, need not do harm.

Mandy-Suzanne Wong’s The Box is out now with Graywolf Press.