If you have been regularly checking out our Community page, then most likely you are familiar with Lauren Suval's work. Lauren is one of the most prolific Community contributors, publishing over twenty-five stories of various lengths and genres. Lauren Suval graduated from Hofstra University with a B.A. in Print Journalism. A writer in New York, Lauren's work encompasses psychology, personal narrative, and fiction. Because I was interested in her versatility, I chose Lauren to interview for our ongoing Writer Spotlight series.
1. You have been published in places such as Thought Catalog , Human Parts , and Psych Central . What brought you over to the Catapult Community page?
I believe I initially discovered Catapult via Human Parts on Medium. I recall reading real thought-provoking narratives on Human Parts by Mensah Demary, who’s such a staple at Catapult, and I thought to myself that I may as well check out the Community platform and publish my own stories and reach a new audience. Self-publishing is neat because you become your own editor; you shape the piece through and through—without that extra guidance. It can be challenging but also very fulfilling.
2. There are two common themes and images that I see in your stories and those are seasonal changes and nostalgia for a given person or place. Why do you gravitate towards these elements?
You’re very spot on about that. I joke about how my middle name may as well be “nostalgia.” I find nostalgia to be such a complex and bittersweet emotional state; it’s a yearning for the innocence of the past while also embracing where you are now and where you will be. As we move through the stages of life, I think nostalgia is a concept all of us humans can truly identify with.
I absolutely like writing about the seasons, too. I love the symbolism embedded within them, whether it’s the fickleness of autumn, the depth of winter, or the growth and vitality of spring. Summer tends to be a big season in my personal life. My summers usually contain “turning points” of some sort, so I like to pay homage to that notion whenever I can.
3. Last October, you put out an ebook called Coping With Life's Clutters in which you feature your published articles that deal with the stresses of life. How did you find the inspiration for this project?
This past October I released Coping With Life’s Clutter on Amazon, my very first e-book, which inadvertently served to give me as a sense of closure. The book is a compilation of pieces (that were originally published on Psych Central) that deal with the stresses of life, that blend my personal experiences with a bit of research, as I talk about various ways to cope with (and accept) the “less-than” moments of life, the adversity. All my ideas are rooted in personal truth with. and introspection and struggle, and I sincerely hope it can inspire readers to hone in on their own brand of resiliency as well.
4. Aside from writing nonfiction, you also write poetry and short stories that use stream of consciousness; for example, “ Like Water ” and “ Innocent Vibes ,” respectively. How do you decide which genre to use when creating a narrative, and have you ever been formally taught these methods?
That’s correct; I write nonfiction, short fiction, and, once in a while, I attempt to dabble in poetry. Depending on the angle of the story and what I wish to convey, I may know that I want a certain piece to be relayed in my voice as a personal narrative, or I may want to have the flexibility to fictionalize components. Or, I may find that abstract and succinct imagery lends itself to a poem. “ Like Water ” and “ Innocent Vibes ” are examples nonfictional “stream of consciousness” stories that develop as I write. It’s funny, because I think with those “stream of consciousness” pieces, I don’t know what the genre will be beforehand; it probably just develops as I go. I don’t have any formal training in such methods; I have a college background in print journalism, and I used to experiment with a little poetry in high school. In more recent years, I’ve been exploring the narrative/fictional style on my own.
5 . What kinds of writing projects are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on another e-book project about nostalgia. But of course! I want to revisit/retouch earlier works and put a collection together under that theme since it’s been so prevalent in my writing thus far. It’s still in the preliminary stages, but I hope it all works out! And some day, I’d like to write a novel. I know it’s in me, deep down somewhere, I’m just not quite sure what form it will take just yet. I’m excited to see what’s to come.