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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Susan Suntree

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world?
Writing offers me nearly unlimited resources for examining the world including my own physical and emotional processes. I challenge myself to be aware of my borders, to question and research, to feel more slowly, to know my clarity and my blindness and the ways I am numb. Reading what writers offer is a form of liberation requiring (and awakening) a similar attentiveness.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block?
1. Sit at my table between bouts of walking. 2. Set a timer for five minutes and write whatever comes forth without stopping. 3. Set the timer again — and again. 4. Choose any random collection of words or images and write using all of them. Making ‘sense” isn’t the point. 5. When finishing a writing session, leave the beginning of a sentence or line along with a pen or pencil (I write many first drafts longhand) or on the open draft. Thus when I return, the next session is already begun.

What is your favorite time to write?
Lately I begin around 10-10:30 AM, but I plan to move that to an earlier time. Over the years my starting time has changed, depending on my circumstances.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers?
Listen! Write what is in you to write and move from there.  Be dedicated to this.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age?
I can’t say that I am excited to be a writer in today’s age. The tumult is exhausting and disturbing. I find that I must evermore purposefully settle into the moment and listen intently. I must pay close attention to ¬†language so that I use words in ways that open/fit/explore this moment.

Susan Suntree’s Sacred Sites: The Secret History of Southern California is out July 13 with University of Nebraska Press.