Six Questions with: Claire Lewis
Claire Lewis is the managing editor for the Life in 10 Minutes Press. She also offers one-on-one sessions to provide her editing and proofreading expertise. Find out more here.
1. How would you describe your teaching philosophy?
I want to help writers understand why they make the choices they make on the page, and the impact that those choices have on the reader. I believe in building strong writing by organizing thoughtful words into strong sentences and beautiful paragraphs. I love the shape of words on the page, and can often be found taping pages of text to the wall so I can get a better feel for the flow of a piece.
I think of my classes and sessions as a place for a writer to take a break from the burden of their thoughts, a place where a writer can externalize their thoughts and let other writers play with them, move them around, and maybe even change their perspective. It takes a lot of vulnerability to trust someone else with your writing, and my goal as a teacher is to create a safe, nurturing space for all writers.
2. When did you first start thinking of yourself as a writer?
I believe that “writer” is a fluid identity, more of a mindset than a status. I still think of myself as someone learning to be a writer, learning to hone my writer’s eye and translate experience into text. Since I started teaching writing and providing one-on-one editing in 2014, I have felt more and more like a writer every time a student or client produces a piece of writing that they clearly love and cherish.
3. What is the last great book you read?
I recently read Kara Thompson’s beautiful contribution to Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series, Blanket. In Blanket, Thompson looks closely at the history of the object both culturally and personally. I love a memoir that isn’t afraid to get theoretical, and a history that isn’t afraid to get vulnerable, and Thompson weaves the genres effortlessly.
4. What do you struggle with most as a writer?
I struggle with fear. So many of us do that I don’t know how to explain more than that - I am afraid that I will never write again, or that I will start writing and never be able to stop and bleed myself dry. I struggle with the existence of so much beauty in the world - it’s almost incomprehensible to me that there exist beautiful writers who will write or have written beautiful work that I will never have the chance to read.
5. What three writers (living or dead) would you take with you on a cross-country road trip? Who would drive? Who would ride shotgun?
I would drive, Eileen Myles would ride shotgun, and China Mieville and Amy Stewart could share the backseat! I imagine we’d talk politics and pull off at every beautiful rest area to take pictures of the landscape and do jumping jacks. I’ve driven from Virginia to California (or vice versa) three times, so I would really enjoy getting to share some of the hidden treasures I’ve discovered in my travels.
6. In six words or under, what do you hope writers take with them from your classes?
Freedom in creative structure.
Short shorts, flash non-fiction, and bite-sized stories that make you hungry for more.
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