Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world?
As far as we know, at least as far back as the Sumerians, humans have collected stories and shaped them beyond oral telling, putting words in clay or papyrus or bronze to give them more permanence. They fixed words in a way that gave them authority, for both good and bad reasons, in a way that they could be transmitted, studied, compared. Writing brought world after world, civilization after civilization, subject after subject into a form where it could be evaluated, felt, resisted, affirmed. I think writing is important to me because I believe words can be awakened, that energies pass through us as writers and words can bring water to a desert.
What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block?
Sit every day, as a person does who is fishing. Maybe nothing will come by. But practice that attention and expectation. Shelter that few minutes of silence and use it as a starting point that no one can intrude upon or take away. Words will come if you accept that it is not a question of your will but of being there, waiting to feel a tug or a ripple.
What is your favorite time to write?
I have always loved the morning, the earlier the better. My mind is clear. A dream, if I had one, is often an interesting prod. Of course summer light is very welcome, but I don’t mind getting up and writing when it is dark, because I know the day will arrive. With the Corona Virus quarantine I rose early and could work for six or seven hours. Since the book for FSG that I had to finish was about Silence, the extended periods of quiet and isolation as light arrived earlier and earlier was a very special way to deepen my topic.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers?
See writing as a need, not always ideal for living a life with others, but don’t be afraid to make sacrifices to do it.
What excites you most about being a writer in today's age?
As things shift and change in our global world, so that we can barely make out the order of things, writers have new chances to offer their experiences and imaginations, their courage and capacity to be critical in work that is new. We can crack open words and let readers see what is waiting in the shells. There is so much that needs to be said clearly and reaffirmed in the name of all human beings and nature itself.
Wallis Wilde-Menozzi's Mother Tongue is out now with North Point Press.