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Friday, December 9, 2016

A 'key' to unlocking the writing door

“Young writers reasonably say, 'I don't know what to write about,' so writing about yourself is a very literal way to begin.” – Susanna Moore

Author of the terrific and insightful memoir about growing up in Hawaii, I Myself Have Seen It: The Myth of Hawaii, Moore was born on this date in 1945 in Bryn Mawr, Penn., before moving with her family to the Islands.  

Curiosity, she said, is a key to learning about your surroundings, and as a curious young girl she spent hours listening to Hawaiian leaders and cultural figures tell about their heritage – tales that would help shape her own writing.

“As a girl, I sat awestruck at the feet of Harriet Ne, author of Tales of Molokai,” Moore said.  “It was she who used to say, 'I myself have seen it,' after telling a particularly hair-raising ghost story - a phrase that I borrowed for one of my titles.”
She started her career as a production and costume               
 designer for the theater then moved over to the movie industry, working for a time as an assistant writer for actor Warren Beatty.  After doing some acting stints on her own, she moved to writing novels with her first one, My Old Sweetheart, published in 1982.  Her latest, Paradise of the Pacific, came on the market in 2015.  Following in the footsteps of those who shared tales with her – she also has become a noted teacher and lecturer on creative writing, doing lectureships at major universities like Yale, Princeton and the University of Adelaide in Australia.  But, while she teaches writing, ultimately, she said, it is up to each individual.

“Writing can't be taught,” she admonished.  “The point always is to be writing something - it leads to more writing.”

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