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Dancing with Words: an interview with writer Michelle Zuber

Writer Michelle Zuber is one of the first Instagrammers I fell in love with. She has mastered the use of short form image and caption to tell an entire story. The depth of feeling in her writing blows me away. Her breezes don’t just blow – they whisper secrets as they graze your cheek on their way through to glance across the edges of mountains. Each piece dances in my mind for days. It is the kind of prose that invites you to make of it what you will. She suggests an idea and lets your own life make it a story. That is artful writing.

Her images and captions remind me of song lyrics. They snapshot a moment in time, a human experience, and hold it in rhythmic and powerful language. A pairing that make us sway in the same way a beautiful lyrics and music cause us to dance.

I was surprised when we interviewed Michelle to learn that she is also autistic. She takes all of the preconceptions around that and flips them. This is a woman who moves through the world in a deeply felt way. We discuss the sense of isolation this creates for her and the way it impacts her writing in our interview with Michelle below. Along with so much more that makes Michelle the writer she is.

The Journey to Becoming a Writer

Tell us about the path that lead to writing?

Ever since I can remember, storytelling has been an escape and a means of entertainment for me. I hungrily devoured books as a child, and when I had read everything I could from the library and bookstore, I wrote stories of my own.

Last year I started sharing snippets of shorter work on Instagram as a way to hone in on my writer’s voice, and get used to sharing work for others to read, and hopefully enjoy.

writer Michelle Zuber instagram short form writing poetry
Image Credit: @michellezuberwriter

Inspiration

Where you do you get your inspiration from?

I like to imagine that each element I write about has it’s own agenda, thoughts, feelings and emotions. When I write of the wind, I don’t just want to write it as blowing a westerly, I want it to rush headlong into the west so it can graze it’s fingertips against the setting sun.

I am also inspired by music, photography, artwork and reading the work of other writers.

Who are your favourite authors/writers?
bookstagram instagram post carlos ruiz zafon
Image Credit: @michellezuberwriter

There are so many. A few that come to mind right now:

Authors:
Instagram writers:
What is your favourite piece of your own writing and why? Where can we read it?

My favorite writing of my own is my work in progress novel “The Provenire”,  a coming of age book about a young autistic woman uncovering secrets about her family and finding herself along the way.

Challenges

What are your challenges with finding time to write in day to day life?

It is always difficult to carve out time for any creative pursuit. It’s a skill. I am still learning to ensure I put my writing time first.

Tell us about your experience as an autistic writer. Why is it important to you that you specify that you are autistic in your bio?

I lived most of my life feeling alone in my experiences, without a diagnosis. I didn’t understand the breadth and depth of how different each autistic person could be. When I finally realized I was autistic, I was able to start working out my own needs and abilities, and give myself the gift of acceptance and understanding.

There are a lot of misconceptions and negative connotations that are associated with autism, and I want to be able to show solidarity with people who might have lived with limiting perceptions of what autistic people are capable of.

artistic poetry instagram post
Image Credit: @michellezuberwriter

Top Tips & advice for female writers?

Top 3 writing tips?
  1. Just write. Everyday. Practice, and the rest will come. I learnt that from yoga.
  2. Read… constantly!
  3. Make friends with other writers, and encourage each other as often as possible.
Top 3 writing resources?
  1. Join your local writers centre. One of the best things I’ve done as a writer is to join Queensland Writers Centre.
  2. Join the library, a writers meet up group, do courses. Learn about writing, be around writers, talk about writing and your work.
  3. Protect your writing time fiercely.
Words of advice for women starting out?

Be brave enough to abandon the limiting expectations that are placed on females in all aspects of our lives, so as to find the authentic voice inside.

Be brave enough to abandon the limiting expectations that are placed on females in all aspects of our lives, so as to find the authentic voice inside.Click To Tweet

On Feminism

I am a feminist, and I am constantly evolving toward being more intersectional and learning from other minorities about how I can help drive change toward equality for all. I am passionate about children’s rights, and animal rights, and I am grateful for any opportunity to use my voice to speak out on their behalf.

Michelle’s Instagram

 

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