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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Robert J. Begiebing

author Robert Begiebing and an image of his book Norman Mailer at 100

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I’ve spent decades by now reading and writing. It was the reading when I was in my late teenage years that got me writing. I learned to love literature. I ended up editing my college lit mag and went on from there–grad school, the Army, more grad school. By the time I graduated from a doctoral program, I was publishing poetry and literary criticism. Then more criticism, then novels, then a memoir, then a collection of political and literary journalism. I’ve tried to focus my writing on things, issues, ethical questions we face in the real world in whatever genre I was working in. Connect writing to the world we live in and the struggles that we face. Writing of all kinds–real journalism first– can be and often is what connects us to the truth in the world outside our own heads. We need to connect to that reality and those truths. More now than ever.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Always finish for the day before you are really finished, so you can pick up immediately next day. Do a little research and reading in the area you might be interested in pursuing, from there decide if the subject/ characters/ themes/ settings are worth pursuing. If not, go on to a new reading /research quest. Until you strike gold.

What is your favorite time to write? Mornings.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? No day without a line.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Engaging readers on topics and/ or narratives that seem significant to people, and that seem important to our current national and global circumstances. This can be done indirectly, of course. The least exciting is the hypercommercialism in a much consolidated industry–publishing. We are experiencing censorship by hypercommercialism.

Robert J. Begiebing’s Norman Mailer at 100: Conversations, Correlations, Confrontations is out now with ‎ LSU Press.