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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Mary K Lahaj

author Mary K Lehaj smiling at the camera and an image of her book The Arab American Banner Society

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I started by writing music and song lyrics. Now I am writing my memoirs and just completed a first draft! Writing is important to me because it cleanses my soul–and once I can understand myself better–I am ready to make the world a better place.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? I confess, I have never really experienced writer’s block for any significant amount of time. But I can talk about inspiration. It comes from something that goes into me–like when I listen to music. I listen on a subconscious level. Then it comes out of me and I write. With language and stories, it’s the same experience. I listen to people talking. Then, it comes out of and I write.

What is your favorite time to write? My favorite time to write is in the morning, while others are sleeping.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? This is a good question! I was trying to fit my memoirs into a genre and they didn’t fit. My editor friend said, “Forget about the labels and genres. Just write what you like to read.” Okay, I said. I’m writing a generational epic about owning identity.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I am excited about all the possibilities to get my work out into the world, to be read by audience or another. It’s a big world, but the myriad ways to get published or self-publish make it smaller and more attainable. That goes for marketing a book as well. I’m a cheerleader and can’t wait to start cheering.

Mary Lahaj’s The Arab American Banner Society is out now.