Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world?
Writing is how I figure out what I think about issues, my own place in the world, what to make of what has happened in life, and how to live and go forward. When I read, other writers help me to learn how to see the world, provide meaning to questions I didn't even know I was asking, and provide a sense of shared humanity. What could be more important?
What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block?
Never am I more productive than when I go on a writer's retreat to a residency for 3-12 days. I can do a year's worth of writing in a few days in a place like that. I give myself permission to tune out "life business" for awhile--all the pesky day-to-day and hour-by-hour details of life and work and home, and instead let myself think of nothing else but what I've come to think about. It's a privilege to be able to go somewhere like that about once a year.
What is your favorite time to write?
When I am alone, with a long stretch of free hours before me.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers?
It's a cliche among writers, but "write what you know" is so true. To me, "write what you know" means write what's important to you, where your curiosity lies, what you want to know, what means something, that derives from only you. It's the opposite of 'write what people want you to write,' or 'write what you think people want you to write.'
What excites you most about being a writer in today's age?
Narrative nonfiction and the new new journalism seem to be having their heyday in my era, and I am glad to be a part of it: telling true stories using techniques of fiction. No longer can people say that nonfiction is boring. I've been inspired by some greats, and I hope to be part of that canon.
Sue Eisenfeld's Wandering Dixie is out now with Mad Creek Books.