Interview: Susan Marque

Welcome to a new that reminds me feature where we ask a practicing creative-type about their lives and influences. The first is Susan Marque, a versatile writer currently working on a memoir, and a screenplay for Thruline Productions. She has an MFA from The New School, and lives in New York City. You can find her work at www.susanmarque.com and www.susanmarqueart.com

TRM: What were your favourite texts growing up? What do you think the appeal was to you?

SM: My first favorite was Winnie The Pooh that I had memorized when I was two.  If my father made a mistake, I would correct him.  Later on, a favorite was The Wizard of Oz series. The appeal was the teamwork of friends, and getting to be in their worlds.  I loved being transported to other places through stories.

What texts do you keep coming back to ?

I actually am not so much a come back to type of person – at least not yet… I tend to look at things I’m currently reading and get inspiration from them.  Why is this working for me right now? is a question I ask myself often.  I am still new at the writing life though.  I look to see what it is about this story that is making it compelling.  If I read an older book, like one from Joan Didion, I look to see why it is still so good.

Are there texts that relate to your life ?

I would guess that most of what I read I am relating to in some way.  We all have obstacles.  Currently reading a memoir about a boy that lived an unbelievable tough childhood.  While I hope to never have the experience of homelessness that he went through, I empathize with missing parents, or making your friends your family.  Every good story takes us to new places, but is emotionally parallel to things we all feel.

Are there any artists and texts that influence you creatively?

I go see art often, and read daily.  I am inspired by good work no matter where it comes from.  I got to take a class with the wonderful Darcy Steinke where she taught us to be able to absorb a text and be inspired to write from that work, even if we didn’t like it.  She also taught us to stretch our comfort zones, try writing in a style you never have, and see what happens.  It was a class that will influence me forever.

Are there any quotes or other words of wisdom you find helpful for your practice?

I was a professional actress in Hollywood.  My acting coach Candace Silvers gave us a lot of wonderful quotes that do keep me going.  The most effective one being “There is no right.”  She made sure that we dropped our ideas of doing things “the right way,” and found our own way.  Knowing there is no right, has helped me to be bolder as an artist, even though I was completely steeped in how to be a good girl and get the right answers.

What is a text that every developing artist should read/watch/listen to?

Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott – It tells the story of how to do anything.  One piece at a time.  Then the text that inspires you.  I don’t know that there is one, I think there are many.  Be inspired everywhere.  I find inspiration at the hairdressers, in the park, talking with a stranger on the subway, as much as I find it on the page.

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