All Member Spotlights
Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Maya J. Sorini

author Maya Sorini and an image of her book The Boneheap in the Lion's Den

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? For me as a healthcare worker, writing is the safest way to store memories, particularly memories of things that are difficult. The page has never asked me to stop talking about blood. It remains untraumatized. Writing is also a way to make a world you want, think through its foibles and triumphs, and turn that building into acting in your own life. Writing forces you be intentional with language, poetry perhaps more so even than prose. In a poem, I am pondering every word, obsessing over commas, because I am weaving a string of spider’s silk from my own life to my readers’. I want it to hold up, to keep them safe, and to help them get to me. Writing is how I accomplish that reflexively human behavior of reaching out.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Divorce yourself from the feeling that writing must be good. I write garbage frequently, and that is fine. I also use prompts to get writing moving- limitations on style, word choice, poetic form, and length can turn the void of the page into non-void, which I find less intimidating.

What is your favorite time to write? When I am in the middle of something else, namely on the sidewalk, in the shower, just before falling asleep, in the hallways of hospitals, in my dark car after a long day.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? My poetry professor in college said that when sitting down to write a poem or free write, I should begin in earnest and then subsequently throw away at least the first half of what I wrote. This has proven remarkably true- the gears need greasing and the heart sometimes needs permission to get through what it is avoiding. Throw the first part out (at least most of it) and the poem that you’re left with will not seem as lost as you were when you started.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? That people are ready for me to tell them exactly what I am thinking, without pulling punches or apologizing. When I talk to my grandmother about all the things her generation left unsaid, I feel so grateful to be here and now, where I can scream into the void, and it always screams back.

Maya J. Sorini’s The Boneheap in the Lion’s Den is out now with Press 53.