That was one day after the release of her art-themed nonfiction book, Schenck in the 21st Century: The Myth of the Hero and the Truth of America—about pop artist Bill Schenck.
Most of her 200+ articles—published in national and regional magazines and newspapers—focus on art. But she’s equally comfortable writing about travel, spirituality, culinary arts, music, fiction, event planning and personalities. Her favorite interview was with Yoko Ono.
Finding the Inner You
Amy described The Cage and The Key as a guide for women seeking personal and spiritual fulfillment in an increasingly volatile world. It tells the story of the New York City art student who has a nothing-but-trouble affair with her professor. When the relationship ends, she heads to New Mexico and Arizona to find her authentic self.
Amy hopes the fictional experience of her protagonist can help people grow as a result of catastrophic experiences, such as the loss of their job, health, home or an important relationship.
“We don’t just go outside and say today’s the day I’m going to grow,” Amy said. “We’re faced with something scary, usually a loss. As a result of being stripped away, we’re forced to reinvent the way in which we do life.”
Having experienced much adversity in her life, Amy now looks at her struggle as a blessing. “I had to get this far to honestly say that I wouldn’t want it any other way. I finally am happy. I hope that this book pushes people’s limits of self discovery as mine were pushed.”
She also thinks writers can push the limits of self-discovery through their characters, scenes and story lines. In fact, that’s the advice she offers: celebrate and protect your imagination.
Writing as a Means of Self-Discovery
There’s a euphoric state that writers can enter. Amy says it happens when you strip away your intellect and write from your soul. Donis Casey described it as “almost like an out of body experience.” Everyone I’ve interviewed who has mentioned it has called it being in the zone.
Whatever you call it, Amy says getting there will make you a better writer.
“Every once in a while, you get lucky,” Amy said. “Your intellect seemingly falls aside and something else happens. The work, the words, the characters, the setting or the dialogue is coming from some part of you that has been deemed imagination. It’s such an ecstasy to be in this space. I have to give it a lot of hours for that to happen. It elevates your writing to something beyond what’s out there.”
She says you can celebrate it by knowing that it happens and by creating environments for it to happen to you.
- Hone your craft – Exciting opportunities come your way when you’re good at what you do. When Amy decided to write fiction, she gave herself a reading list of traditional masters and contemporary authors whose work she admired. She read to enjoy, but also to discover what she enjoyed about their technique.
- Don’t own a TV – It’s better to spend your time being creative and accomplishing your goals.
- Write what you know – Amy has spent her life as an art critic, so it was natural for her to write about an artist. She combined that with her own life experiences to create a compelling, heart-felt story.
- Write for self-discovery – For Amy, the goal for her book was helping others learn what life has taught her. To do that, she had to dig deep to know what life taught and look at it in a positive way.
“Surround yourself with people who are good to be with, eat well, exercise,” Amy said. “Create a life that allows and empowers your imagination, not relevating it to sitting down behind a flat screen. It’s a way of life.”
Amy loves to connect with her readers. You can send her an email through her website.