Up Close With: Lindsey Trout Hughes
A beautiful soul, a poetic soul, a soul of life and love and creativity: that’s our patron profilee this week. Brooklyn-based Lindsey Trout Hughes is an actor, writer, theatre-maker and dreamer, and a newly-minted host of writers hour. She also leads the Prompt Playground for our community patrons, inspiring others to dream further. Her writing can be equal parts heartbreaking and life-affirming. World, meet Lindsey!
Lindsey Trout Hughes (she/her), 34
- Based in Brooklyn, New York, USA
- Writes memoir, essays and plays
- Volunteer host for LWS writers hours and leader of the Prompt Playground channel
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a book about my time playing Ophelia. It’s about art, motherhood, and desire, and is part memoir, part literary portrait, and part history of New York City as told through productions of Hamlet. I’ve also been writing a lot of essays lately.
Where and when do you write?
I prefer to do my creative work very early in the morning. I like to be up before anyone else is awake. I put on the kettle and read in the kitchen while I make the coffee, then sit down to work when my mind is still sort of untethered and dreamy. That’s when I do the writing that feels most interesting. I’m much bolder at 5am than I am at other hours.
But I try to be flexible with how and when I write. I wrote the first draft of my book on the Notes app of my iPhone while breastfeeding in the middle of the night. Sometimes I walk with a small notebook and write in that way. And I work full-time as a copywriter, so I’m sort of always engaging with language.
How do you write?
I like to draft by hand, highlight the gems, then type up the lines that genuinely excite me.
Why do you write?
My background is in the theatre. When my first child was born, some logistical aspects of motherhood made it necessary for me to step back from art-making in that way for a time. I found that I was still obsessed with stories and wanted to tell them. That’s when I started writing in earnest. It’s a medium I’ve really grown to love, a way of living and engaging deeply with the world.
What inspires your creativity?
Oh god. Everything. Everyone. Trees. Receipts. Overheard conversation. The sky. People. I love people. I’m obsessed with people. I fall in love every day.
I’m constantly taking notes. I mean constantly. I’m always jotting down images and bits of language, things that catch my interest or make me cry. And when I come back to them later, I’m always surprised by the connections and synchronicities I find. Always.
What’s your favourite book?
My absolute favorite book is a 1959 book called “Secret of the Ron Mor Skerry” by Rosalie K. Fry. I read it to my children almost every night, and, truthfully, I probably have most of it memorised. The atmosphere is divine: the sea, boats, selkies, fog — it is so soothing and lovely.
What’s the best advice you’ve received about creativity?
I love Annie Dillard’s essay, Living Like Weasels, which ends like this:
“We can live any way we want. People take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience — even of silence — by choice. The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding, not fighting. A weasel doesn’t ‘attack’ anything; a weasel lives as he’s meant to, yielding at every moment to the perfect freedom of single necessity.
“I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you. Then even death, where you’re going no matter how you live, cannot you part. Seize it and let it seize you up aloft even, till your eyes burn out and drop; let your musky flesh fall off in shreds, and let your very bones unhinge and scatter, loosened over fields, over fields and woods, lightly, thoughtless, from any height at all, from as high as eagles.”
What’s the one thing you would tell other/aspiring writers?
Fall in love every day. Falling in love is a process that necessitates deep noticing and vulnerability and sometimes patience, all of which are gifts to creativity.
How can we discover more about you and your work?