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Member Spotlight: Patrice Vecchione

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world?
The intangible finds form, the unfocused comes into view, the unresolved may find resolution, connections are made that beforehand a writer would have never considered. Writing grows the imagination. Memory can only hold so much; writing holds what would otherwise be lost. Writing grows what’s pleasurable and shrinks what’s frightening. At this time, in particular, writing is a way to articulate what we think we have no words for. It’s a way to dismantle the sense of overwhelm. When I write that which seemed enormous comes down to the size of a piece of paper. For a little while, anyway, it holds still, and that little while can make all the difference.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block?
I follow what I learned from the poet William Stafford who suggested that when we’re stuck we lower our expectations. If a few words can touch the page, the way is made for more words. Start small. Write about your hand holding the pen, your fingers on the keyboard, the view out your window. And breathe deeply. Writer’s block reinforces self-doubt. It’s a choice, really, whether we believe in our possibilities or our limitation. Some writing days, I have to make this choice 100 times.

What is your favorite time to write?
Earliest morning before the world, or at least my household, is awake. When it’s dark but with a promise of light.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers?
I go back to Stafford above. What I tell students is “Trust your imagination. It’s infinite.”

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age?
This is the age in which I’m writing; I don’t really know another. Sad as I was to say goodbye to my Smith Corona, I love the speed of writing on a computer and the ease of editing there.

Patrice Vecchione’s My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice: A Guide to Writing Poetry and Speaking Your Truth is out now with Seven Stories Press.