Author, writer and lecturer
Susan Scott was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and has lived in Johannesburg for last 35 years. Susan holds a BA Honours in Clinical Psychology from the University of South Africa. She is married with two adult sons.
Susan loves travelling, most recently to southeast Asia and has climbed and summited Mount Kilimanjaro.
She loves reading, hiking and walking.
How did you start writing?
SS: I have kept diaries for as long as I remember and this naturally changed into keeping a journal for my eyes alone. Somehow, this clarified my thinking and feeling about any given psychological issue I was grappling with. I saw there was value in writing things down, making the issue a bit more real, or concretizing in a positive way what was previously wishy-washy or unclear. It sharpened for me my thinking and feeling. The more I wrote the more I enjoyed it—this is not to say though that it makes writing easier. I resist so much at times and make excuses to myself that I don’t have the time, not in the mood, etc. Real resistance and procrastination.
Did your interest in Jungian psychology play a role in writing In Praise of Lilith, Eve and The Serpent in the Garden of Eve and Other Stories?
SS: Yes, very definitely so. Jungian psychology is an in-depth approach to the psyche. Many important constructs are dealt with in the psychology of Jung and post-Jungians. For example, the opposites contained within each of us; the shadow which we each have; the unconscious—a minefield and worthy of deep consideration; dreams; the masculine and feminine within each of us; archetypes and myths still relevant today; complexes which continue to hold us fast in their grip; ego, persona, self; individuation which we are each called to do though the road be rough; and much else besides.
You have lectured on In Praise of Lilith, Eve and the Serpent in the Garden of Eden to Jungian groups. What was that like?
SS: The first time was pretty terrifying—I could scarcely breathe. But once I took a deep breath and got into my stride it was fine and the audience fortunately was interested and appreciative, evidenced in part by their many questions. Lilith is a fascinating creature, largely unknown by most. According to the Midrash and myth she was the first wife of Adam in the Garden of Eden and, like Eve his second wife, was banished and exiled from Paradise. The audience was interested to hear this myth re-told in a new and contemporary way and to see what relevance (very much relevance) it holds today. For example, what this exile means; rejection and repression, choice, the symbolism of the Serpent (an agent for change and transformation); and much more besides. Both Lilith and Eve are trail blazers or the first feminists, if you like. Eve is NOT to be blamed for the ‘downfall of man’—rather, she is to be praised for her courageous step in accepting the apple from Lilith/Serpent as it was very necessary for Adam and Eve to get out of the boundaries of the Garden of Eden. Lilith, too, returned after her exile. So the audience much enjoyed this psychological and relevant interpretation of a very old myth. And in subsequent lectures or discussions on the radio, it is evident from audience participation that Lilith and all her polarities are becoming a little more known and that we are claiming her back. We are looking at Eve in a new way and NOT blaming woman for the downfall of man.
What was a typical day like while you were working on this book?
SS: Well, it took me a few years to write it and now it’s hard to remember. Probably like the days are today—always busy with something or other and the usual resistance to writing. I would just have to snatch moments for writing or editing or pondering.
The tendency of all living things to move toward wholeness, is this the message you are trying to get across in your book?
SS: Yes, the potential is there for wholeness and perfection. Each time a difficulty or a conflict has been resolved or partly resolved after much consideration and checking hidden agendas (even to one’s self) and considering the effects or consequences of one’s choice or action (not only to one’s self but upon others too), a part of the whole is retrieved. When this happens, one can sense and feel a partial retrieval of wholeness or authenticity. This does not happen all the time but when it does, one knows that some of the potential wholeness has been retrieved. One’s own dreams are a wonderful source of information about one’s self and the shadow among other things. As things move towards wholeness they also move towards entropy, a move from life towards death. Paradoxical, yes, but this is one of the most important concepts to grasp about life.
What was the most exciting part of your publishing experience?
SS: A lot of the publishing experience was stressful: meeting deadlines, being stuck in my writing, the publisher being abroad and having very little one-on-one communication—it was all done by e-mail. But when I received this box delivered to my door one day and in it were some complimentary copies of my book—that was a moment I will never forget! It was pretty exciting to hold my own book in my hands, to see the fruits of my labour and to feel pleased and proud I reckon!
Any words of wisdom for writers who want to pursue a career in writing?
SS: WOW—Words Of Wisdom—I guess just follow your bliss. If you want to write, write. It probably is 10% inspiration and 90% hard work. If you feel you have a story to tell, tell it. There is great value in the sharing of stories. It is good to have a worldview broadened by the reading or hearing of stories. There are so many writers who say ‘write for yourself’ as the first principle. Seek out information freely available on the Internet where you will learn that plot, character, scene, narration and much more besides all have their important role. You would need to become familiar with the basics of writing if you wish to be published or self-published. Join a writing course also available on the Internet. Researching the basics of writing would be helpful I imagine, if you are a young writer. Or just write with no ‘rules’…make the first step!