Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? I write first to have a conversation with myself, to declutter my own mind. I'm amazed to find I have listeners, an audience. I believe the internal conversation is important as a means of reflections and understanding. The conversation with the world is important as a uniting principle. The international, almost cosmic, effect of literature shows us that we are more one than we are different from each other. That has always been true as we unearth literatures of the past and move forward.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? Sometimes I accept not writing and let the well fill up. I go for a walk, tour a museum, read an author new to me, play with my no-mess colors, make a collage. I don't have a rule that says I have to write every day.

What is your favorite time to write? Early A.M. Right out of dream sleep; however, when the spirit is on me I'm writing all day.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? "There are no writer's blocks, only secrets we're afraid of telling" --Anais Nin.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? So many great individual voices, styles, approaches, attitudes. So many more people's of the world included. So many great new translations. And having internet and word processing equipment and skills to access all of it.

Nancy Shiffrin's Flight is out now with Finishing Line Press.