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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Suzaan Boettger

author Suzaan Boettger and an image of her book Inside the Spiral

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I enjoy both the analytical and the esthetic aspects of writing:penetrating the art regarding subject matter and formal elements to convey its latent ideas and understanding the artist astutely. And I love playing with words, having them ping off each other, being smart and lively. For the reader, writing unfolds and reveals over the span of reading, like music, allowing expanding contemplation and immersion both in and away from the world.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Focus on what interests you about your subject of writing and just draft bits and pieces. Forget yourself and your apprehensions, and get into IT, speak for it, and bring it to life.

What is your favorite time to write? I start the morning by answering emails, making necessary phone calls, and reviewing news, general and from art periodicals. By late morning or early afternoon I’ve gotten that life administration done for now and can plunge into the joy of wrestling with my writing project.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? No one told me this, I realized it by reading weak assertions: Pay attention to word order! Sequence the statements within a sentence so that the most important is the LAST ONE. Consider the sentence like an arm, with the last word or assertion comparable to a fist. Pow! Not this, recounting last night: “The fog at JFK is dense, but we’re going to try to land but may abort it, the pilot announced.” But this: “The pilot announced that although the fog at JFK is dense, we are going to try to land (and avoid aborting).” Huh? We should say our prayers and think last thoughts? We landed safely.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Socially — having a voice, saying things that may not be otherwise known. Personally — the most exciting thing is the act of creatively interpreting images and getting the right words in the right order, for impact and readerly enjoyment.

Suzaan Boettger’s Inside the Spiral: The Passions of Robert Smithson is out now with University of Minnesota Press.