Interview with Sarah Campbell

Writer Sarah Campbell gets languid about cows dancing on ice, her new course called Finish It, and everything else.

~~Q: Who are you? Introduce yourself as you would at a dinner party.

A: Hi! (small talk...)

     (If asked what I do...) I'm a writer.

     (After a cocktail...) I'm a poet.

Q: What is your background? How does it differ from what you are doing now?

A: I have a PhD in literature. Although today I don't teach college lit in classes, my fixation with how language shapes our perception and with the politics of language- these continue to occupy me (even when I'm reading mundane, "non-literary" things or just talking to people). I will always turn to books and great writers for revelations about this myterious life on earth.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: Developing a cirriculum for a course I've just rolled out called "Finish It". I also just finished writing an article about innovations (and challenges) in bringing pediatric devices to market. Next up is an article about medical simulations. And I recently completed editorial work on a book about the artist Mathias Kessler.

Q: Why did you join Impact Hub?

A: I moved to Seattle from New York last fall. I was looking for a coworking spot where I could focus and be productive while working freelance. I also wanted to find out what smart, engaged Seattleites are cooking up, and potentially" make new friends and collaborators.

Q: How do you make money?

A: I freelance as a content manager for online learning and write for IEEE's biomedical engineering publication, Pulse. I'm also an instructor (newest course: Finish It).

Q: What is something that really excites you right now (a trend, life development, time of year, food, etc.)?

A: Other people's idioms. The TED blog just posted "40 Idioms That Can't Be Translated" collected from it's translators. The simultaneous familiarity and strangeness of these "foreign" metaphors, most of which I hadn't encountered before, really sparked my ear and mind. Cows dancing on ice, hens with teeth, the thing that falls between chairs. I think I'll write a series of poems from them.

Q: You have $10M to spend in the next year, and you can’t spend it on you, your friends or your family. How do you spend it?

A: I'd put it towards organizations dedicated to radical, wholesale reform of the US prison system- and groups working to improve the lives of inmates and their families in the meantime.

Q: What’s on the horizon for you (a new project, career path, personal development)?

A: Refining and fine-tuning Finish It, a 5-week course for completing a project (everything from a garage cleanout to dissertation). Looking forward to rolling out future adaptations of it in the form of condensed one-off workshops, and perhaps an online version too. (I think small-group meetings over a period of time are an ideal way to build a friendly accountability among people who are working hard towards completing something- and to chart real progress. But I think having alternative options (time, place, and commitment-wise) could work well for others.

Q: Where do you usually hang out when you are at Impact Hub? How often are you here?

A: Second floor, two to five days per month.

Q: What is something we don’t know? (Either about you, or something else)

A: Did you know an entire octopus can exit a fishing boat through a hole the size of a fist? Adaptability!

Q: Give us your top three Seattle gems!

A: Seward Park, hot champurrado from El Camion, and the Bureau of Fearless Ideas.



Contact Sarah at [email protected] .