Welcome new Writers’ Program instructor Cynthia Dewi Oka! Cynthia is teaching a section of Personal Essay I (Reg# 391063) this Spring. Cynthia is teaching in our Remote online format on Wednesdays starting April 12. She sat down with us to offer some insight into creative life and her upcoming course.

What sparks your creativity?
My creativity is an extension of/response to whatever my attention is directed toward. Anytime we focus on anything, questions, puzzles, sensations, impulses, feelings, sometimes even conflicts arise. I experience them as knots that I then use creativity to unravel, articulate, and investigate.

What do you rely on for those times it’s difficult to find the time, energy, motivation and/or inspiration to write?
I rely on my curiosity; it’s like the tide, it recedes but it always returns. Time, energy, motivation and/or inspiration are just conditions – they fluctuate, so for me the important thing is to keep my curiosity strong and healthy with a writing (which is also always a reading, thinking, feeling) practice.

What’s your favorite book and/or movie?
I have so many. One of my favorite movies, though, is Happy Together by Wong Kar-wai, and one of my favorite books is The Thief’s Journal by Jean Genet.

What’s your favorite quote about writing?
“To write is your last resort when you’ve betrayed someone.” – Jean Genet

Who do you wish you could write like (or: Whose writing discipline do you wish you had)?
I don’t wish to write like anyone but myself. Writing helps me to become myself, so my writing discipline is also the one that works for me.

What excites you most about teaching for the Writers’ Program?
I am excited to experience my students’ imaginations and to facilitate their explorations into questions that drive their (our) unique existences in the world. I am so excited for us to discover the truths that we need in community with each other.

What do you hope your students get from your course(s)?
A more intimate relationship with their true selves; because to me that is the most trustworthy source of writing. It’s the highest stake there is, and the fountain that never runs dry.

Anything else?
This is what writing has taught me: Your craft trouble is your life trouble, so write to see and save and savor your life.

Thank you to Cynthia for taking time to share with us. Look for more instructor interviews coming soon!

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