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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Susan Cole

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I write personal essays and memoir, and writing unlocks the deeper meanings of events in my life, often in surprising ways. If I’m puzzled about why I feel as I do about something and it makes me uncomfortable, that’s usually what I need to write about. If I’m able to get to the true meaning of the event, even if it reflects poorly on me, and communicate it through my writing, it often strikes a chord in others. Writing is an important medium because it connects us to each other and to ourselves.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Ugh. My inspiration ebbs and flows, and when it’s not flowing, I’m quite miserable. I’ve learned to stay in the chair, take deep breaths, and continue writing. No stopping to edit, no self-censoring. Even though the writing is not what I would want it to be, by the next day, I’m in a new place where inspiration can strike again.

What is your favorite time to write? Early morning before the sun is up. It’s peaceful, and anything feels possible.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? The values of lingering in a scene, and of reflecting back on events. Early on, I rushed through scenes; a wonderful instructor suggested pausing, lingering, and more fully taking it in. Another introduced me to the reflective voice, looking back to see what it all meant, which adds such richness to events.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Reading books enlarges one’s interior space in ways that scrolling through social media can’t; I love being a part of that.

Susan Cole’s Holding Fast : A Memoir of Sailing, Love, and Loss is out now with White Bird Publications.