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Member Spotlight: Shanah Khubiar

author Shanah Khubiar and an image of her book Just a Hat

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? Writing gives us a before and after: who we were before we read, and who we become from reading. There is no fragment of the human soul that cannot be touched and affected by the written or spoken word. Academic writing offers an opportunity to examine existing paradigms and explore methods of improvement. Fiction is an opportunity to develop our childhood imaginary friends into characters able to push beyond the limited experiences of childhood. Story is ancient and universal, and writing takes story from the communal campfire to any place we have a few idle minutes. No queue is too long if we have a paperback tucked into a pocket.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Long walks in the desert work well to keep the imagination fresh. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced a total block. More often it’s other work that interferes with the time to write.

What is your favorite time to write? After morning coffee until around 3:00 pm. After that, I usually do more mindless tasks.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? In Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi wrote: “…do not, under any circumstances, belittle a work of fiction by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of real life; what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth.” (Nafisi, 2004, p. 4) Weirdly, I’ve written true things and had beta readers say, “That’s improbable,” yet something that is pure fiction is embraced. What rings true is not necessarily truth.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Publishers are more willing to consider stories outside the mainstream experience, and it is easier for readers to locate those stories through digital searches.

Shanah Khubiar’s Just a Hat is out now with‎ Blackstone Publishing.