Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Moment in Heaven with Miranda Suri

If heaven was designed specifically for writers, what would it be like?

A heaven designed for writers? My first thought is a place where there is no need for day jobs, no chores tugging at our attention and energy, and an insatiable audience and endless market for the written word. There would (of course) be plenty of premium tea and coffee and a mandatory sweatpants and T-shirt dress code. Facebook, Twitter, and all other internet distractions would be obliterated from existence.

Heavenly as this may sound at first blush, I suspect if such a place existed it would be a total disaster for writers.

Part of what contributes to great writing is the struggle to produce it and the inspiration we draw from the messy, crazy world around us. Without the demands of our day jobs forcing us to carve out writing time wherever and whenever we can, without the discipline that comes from putting our butts in our chairs day after day with little hope of recognition or reward, and without the endless font of ideas brimming up from the sidewalk, subway, and workplace, there would be no growth.

Writers need to live in the world, up to our elbows in it until we're sticky and gagging and ready to scream. Until we laugh or weep or find ourselves filled with rage or joy so intense it can't help but spill right out into our stories. We need to struggle and be challenged so we can experience the triumph that springs from meeting and overcoming those obstacles.

Heaven for this writer is the one I greet every day. It's the place where a dream borne of a bad night's sleep spawns a new short story. It's the place where conversations overheard on the bus find their way into the dialogue of a novel. It's the place where -- in between cleaning the toilets and making dinner -- I give myself permission to shut the door, ignore my family, and write. Just for 30 minutes. Just for an hour. It's the place where a selective and overwhelmed field of agents, editors, and readers force me to get better, and better, and better -- until at last I've written something not just good, but great. Something special.

It's the hard work that culminates in my stories finding their way out into the world and bringing someone other than me pleasure.

That is my idea of heaven.

Miranda Suri writes speculative fiction, teaches anthropology at Queens College, and goes on archaeological adventures that would make Indiana Jones green with envy. When she’s not curled up with a good book at her Brooklyn apartment, she can be found indulging one of her hobbies, which include cooking, practicing Pilates, exploring New York’s culinary scene, and traveling the world.

Her fiction is forthcoming from or has appeared in Penumbra, Every Day Fiction, Electric Spec, and Fictionvale. She blogs about the writing life on her website.


Arley Cole/ Leigh Daley said...

We will make a heaven of hell then! But my life looks a lot more hellish than I prefer. Great post!

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