Dunes Review Interview Series: Nancy Squires
Nancy Squires has been filling notebooks for years and posting poetry and creative nonfiction to her blog for about a decade. She self-published a memoir, The Cottage: Portrait of a Place, in 2013. She lives in Michigan and works in the legal field and as a freelance copy editor.
Her work "Beneath" appears in the 2018 spring/summer issue of Dunes Review.
What is your writing process like?
I try to write at least a few pages first thing every morning. Sometimes all I can get done are some warm-ups and maybe just an idea, the start of something. But I like that state when I’m just coming out of sleep and not yet wrapped up in the business of the day—it seems a unique time, I feel very open. I go back to those pages later.
Do you think of yourself as a writer? Why or why not?
I have started to think of myself as a writer, fairly recently, because it occurred to me that if I’m going to keep going, I need to think that way.
How do you prefer to write?
Cursive writing is really important for me, at least initially. I feel a strong connection between the flow of handwriting and the flow of thoughts and ideas. I think there have been some studies about this, that writing by hand is a different brain process than typing, or even printing. I edit mostly on the computer.
What's your least favorite thing about writing?
The terror. Sometimes I am absolutely terrified that I won’t succeed at what I’m trying to do.
How do you feel about sharing your writing with readers?
It’s really important to have readers, and to get feedback. The people who have reached out to tell me that they were affected, somehow, by something I wrote have been a tremendous encouragement to me. I want not only to write and write well if I can, I also want to make a connection with the reader.
Whose writing inspires you?
All kinds of writing and many, diverse writers inspire me. As do films, and music, and visual art. For some time now I’ve been thinking a lot about the way visual artists compose, the juxtapositions you’ll find in a collage or a painting. Language is more linear, of course—but I’m fascinated with putting images next to each other, seeing how they’re complementary, sharpening one against another.
Who are you currently reading?
Louise Erdrich, Patti Smith and Rick Moody.
What is your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
Walking, or hiking. For me, moving through the outdoors never loses its thrill.