By Tessa Wild, TWC Intern
I sat down with Amy L. Freeman, our new Development Director, to chat about what brought her to The Writer’s Center. She comes to us from Bethesda Cares, where she worked to end homelessness in our community. Now she’s embracing her literary side and is eager to support writers and people who want to write. Her own bylines include The Washington Post, Huffington Post, and more, and she was named 2017 “Voice of the Year” by Blogher.com for her piece on gender pronouns.
Tessa Wild: What brought you to the Writer’s Center?
Amy L. Freeman: I left a job in February after my beloved executive director retired, and I was gonna write full-time for a year, and about three months into it somebody sent me the ad for a position at The Writer’s Center, and I thought: why would I not surround myself with people who care about what I care about? I tend to believe that every decision we make puts us incrementally closer or farther to our goals, and that seemed like one that would move me closer to my goals.
TW: What are your goals?
AF: Not only to write, but to be part of a literary community in the area in which I live.
TW: What’s your favorite thing about The Writer’s Center so far?
AF: Right now, my favorite thing about it is how much it’s in transition. We’ve got a physical renovation going on upstairs, we’ve got a new season of classes, we’ve got a new website launching in January, and we have a lot of new staff. It’s a time of great transition, but it’s also a time of great opportunity.
We’ve got an extraordinary team of dedicated professionals right now who seem really committed to our mission. So it seems like an extraordinary time to have landed here, and a chance to really help shape the direction of the organization moving forward.
TW: What’s the story you would most like to tell?
AF: I’m interested in emotional candor in writing. I know I’ve written something good when I feel physically sick afterwards — it means I’ve gotten down to the core of whatever the humanity, whatever the issue is at which I’m looking. So the story I want to tell is one of emotional honesty, which is rare to find, at least in my personal life.
TW: If you could meet one author, who would it be?
AF: Probably David Sedaris if he still drank. I would meet him over drinks, cause he’s pretty amusing.
TW: What writing are you working on now?
AF: I’m always working on essays — two of which got rejected yesterday — and I’m close to finishing what I hope is a final revision of a novel.
TW: What’s the novel?
AF: It’s called “Smotherly Love.” It’s told in three voices, and it’s the story of a mother and two adult daughters. It basically looks at the question of the long-term impacts of a toxic upbringing that masquerades as utopia.
TW: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
AF: I know this is standard advice, but keep writing, keep writing, keep writing. Get involved in communities, because you will get rejections, you will get rejections, and then you will get more rejections, and it’s really, really great to have the support of people who are also getting rejections, even though their writing is good. It’s also great to have writing groups, and critique groups, and get feedback, because other times we as writers spend too much time with our own spectacular, yet tiring, brains.