Meet a member: Maia Berliner

Maia is one of our newest 26 members, joining us to take part in our latest project 26 Plants. This month I caught up with her to learn a little more about her writing life – beyond researching Lily of the Valley! 

Tell us a bit about yourself – where are you from and what do you do?

 My name is Maia Berliner. I am 23, I live in Hove, and I am a recent graduate of Hispanic Studies from the University of Sheffield. I work part-time in a nursery and a restaurant whilst also dedicating time to my writing and other hobbies such as dance. I am looking for jobs in copywriting or book editing. 

Where did your love of words come from? 

I think my love of words came from my love of reading. I remember specific books from my childhood such as ‘The Great Castle of Marshmangle’ and ‘Night Ride to Nana’s’ that I loved being read over and over again. I would make little story books in folded paper and read them to my family and friends. I also used to make up words and loved experimenting with new words.

What made you join 26? And how long have you been a member?

I was recommended 26 after I attended a writing day with Dark Angels in June. I took a look at the projects it produces, particularly in partnership with the Bloomsbury festival, and decided I would love to write for them! 

Have you been involved in any 26 projects? 

26 Plants is my first project with 26, which started around month ago. I hope it won’t be the last! 

What’s your ideal scenario for writing? (A coffee shop? Quiet retreat? With or without music? What do you do to get yourself in the right frame of mind?)

My ideal scenario for writing is a long journey, preferably on a train. I tend not to listen to music as I get distracted, but I sometimes find that a bit of classical or something acoustic helps set the ‘main character’ tone. I also often write just before I go to sleep or if I wake up in the middle of the night. No time wasted! I don’t do anything in particular to get into the right frame of mind. I don’t force myself to write if it doesn’t come naturally, but often a walk helps to get the creative juices flowing. 

What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I am working on an ongoing blog (https://maiasmusings351559093.wordpress.com), and am also in the midst of writing my first novel. 

Could you tell us about a piece of writing you’re particularly proud of? 

A piece of writing I am particularly proud of is one of my recent blogs, named ‘Silly, Normal Thoughts.’ I wrote from the heart about an experience I had, and the anxieties surrounding it. I wrote with openness and honesty. Another is a recent poem I wrote called ‘Coffee Break’, in which the protagonist is sat in a café, drifting in and out of a daydream, picturing her ex-boyfriend. I deeply connected with both of these pieces, and it felt cathartic to write them. 

Where do you get your inspiration? 

I get my inspiration from everyday people and their habits. I am a natural observer of people around me, and enjoy writing about the oddities as well as the mundane traits of other humans. I often make notes when I am out and about, including snippets of conversations I hear, or of descriptions of intriguing people. I also learn a lot from nature, and follow the same patterns of note-taking. I am spoilt living in Brighton and Hove; I have grown up surrounded by the sea, the city and the countryside to inspire me.

– Interview by Sophie Gordon 

If you’d like to feature in a future Meet a Member, or nominate another 26er, drop Sophie a line at sophiedjgordon@hotmail.co.uk. Don’t be shy.

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