|Q: What inspired you to begin writing?
A: When I was growing up in Brooklyn I always kept one of those lock-and-key diaries. I wrote faithfully, every night, year after year. This helped me to see writing as an ordinary daily activity, and to find writing comforting. I still have these diaries and it’s fascinating to read them back.
I began publishing early in my career when I was confronted with theories and therapy of women that were not rooted in female reality as I knew it. When I couldn't convince or change my colleagues, I began to write. I was supported by a vast feminist network. Women reached out from long distances, even across oceans, to support my writing and to show me a new meaning of intellectual camaraderie and community.
I became a popular writer almost by chance, beginning with The Dance of Anger. However, once I shifted from scholarly to popular writing I became dedicated to translating complex theory into simple (without simplifying) and useful prose. This has been my passion for a long time.
Q: What advice do you have for new writers?
A: 1. Pay attention to the writing habits that work for you, (Book writing requires me to put in a few morning hours five days a week. I can write articles and blogs whenever I can grab some time).
2. When you’re ready, show your work to talented friends, and tell them exactly what feedback you want. ("I only want encouragement" or, "If you can improve what I’ve written, go at it!" )
3. Rejection sucks but don’t let it stop you. (The Dance of Anger, which has sold three million copies was rejected for five years.)
4. If published, be prepared to promote your own work.
Q: What are some of your favorite things about Kansas?
A: I love the big open skies, the price of real estate and downtown parking tickets, the simple life, meaning I never had to learn to parallel park. I love the friendships I've made here, in Topeka and Lawrence. Friendship goes deeper when you're not also negotiating big city life.
Q. You didn’t expect to stay in Kansas as long as you have, what kept you here?
A. For a long time we had one foot out the door to return to our previous lives in Berkeley or New York. But here we are, many decades later. What kept me here?
Work at Menningers, close friends, and the price of housing are a few things that kept us in Kansas. I'm glad we stayed.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: I'm inspired by very "ordinary" people when I can see both their strengths and struggles. I'm not inspired by "Greatness" although it interests me. And I owe the greatest debt to the feminist movement which inspired me to re-think my thinking about, well, everything.
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