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Member Spotlight: Patrice Gopo

author Patrice Gopo and her book Autumn Song

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing enables me to see my life and the world around me in different ways, ways that often lead to greater compassion and understanding. Anything that can do that holds a power we need more of in our world.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? All cases of writer’s block are not the same, so I think it’s important to identify the underlying cause. Is it fear? Boredom? Envy? Weariness? Something else? The underlying cause informs my next action. Perhaps I’ll journal about my fears. Maybe I’ll take a walk or turn my attention toward a different, smaller project. Or perhaps I need a social media break. Sometimes, pursuing creative rest can offer renewed energy. Or maybe something else entirely. The underlying cause matters, though.

What is your favorite time to write? When the ideas are flowing!! Haha!! But even when they aren’t flowing, I find early morning hours just before dawn to be a precious writing time (but a time that can be difficult for me to maintain . . .)

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? In my early days as a writer, I read somewhere, “If you keep writing and growing as a writer, the writer you are today will not be the writer you are six months from now.” I wish I could remember the source. But I’m grateful these wise words have stayed with me over the years and reminded me to continue moving forward.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? I celebrate writing words that enable someone else to feel seen in their story and experiences. I celebrate this reality for myself and many others who are telling stories society has historically overlooked or marginalized.

Patrice Gopo’s Autumn Song: Essays on Absence is out now with University of Nebraska Press.