The Letter Project

May 31, 2009

Special Delivery (06)

Filed under: Letters — Theresa Williams @ 11:03 pm
Tags: , ,

I received this letter from Lauren recently.  Lauren was in several of my classes at BGSU and recently graduated.  She is in that odd place students find themselves after 16 years of school–a little happy and a little sad.  In this letter she writes of how she is coping with her freedom from school.  I always tell my students not to put their creative lives on the back burner after graduation:  in this letter  she says she is taking that advice.    –TW


First off:  I hope this letter finds you well.  I know (via Facebook) that you’ve had some serious sorrows of late.  My condolences to your family.  Know that I am thinking of you.

But you are going West, correct?  I’ve never been–I can imagine it, of course, but imagining only gets us so far, eh.  I think I’d suffer in the desert heat, but I’m sure the vistas are worth it.  Enjoy your journey & your destination.  Are you planning to do some writing out there?

I think a change of place would be good for my writing–I’ve been wishing for mountains lately, some kind of elevation, and more trees–but Bowling Green does feel different not that I’ve graduated.  Like it’s my town now, I’m not just an interloper.  Or maybe that’s not quite the feeling…Still, I have been enjoying myself so far this summer, and I have been writing.

I won’t pretend it’s easy!  But “we all know that art is hard” (to quote some song).  And still I feel really good about what I’m doing now.  Poetry, poetry, and fiction )to read).  I’ve been experimenting with long lines–not CK Williams long, but longer than I’m used to.  Not entirely sold on it (I keep leaning towards shortness, concision, sharpness).  Good to experiment though.

Read The Unbearable Lightness of Being what, last week?  And now I’m really fascinated with the idea of eternal return.  Fascinated by the novel altogether.  Trying to work in some of its ideas into my own work.  (Without being derivative.)

So my writing is not going to be set on the back burner, trust me.  It’s on almost all the burners, and there’s plenty more stuff waiting in the fridge.  I’ve been striving to be open to all experiences & consider them in their turn.  To live close inside my skin, rather than deep inside my head.  Summer’s especially good for that, it’s so sensory.

Still, it’s easy to doubt one’s work, isn’t it?  I don’t expect these feelings to go away, especially in a society that stresses success (especially monetary success).  I feel a little antsy when I hear about people my age who are charging out of the gate, headed for grad school and med school and so on.  It’s even worse when they’re BFAs (in any of the arts)!  If they can do so well, why am I still here, just writing alone?

Not alone, though.  Right?  There’s still you, and everyone at BGSU, really, which feels like a little hub of creativity, a quietly buzzing beehive.  And there’s my old classmates, and Ryan of course (though I’ve got to prod him into completing more stories–he’s got such great ideas).  And I’ve also befriended Christof Scheele, who has kindly agreed to read my new work & comment on it (how I miss workshop!).  He’s loaned me some really fascinating volumes of poetry, too:  Paul  Celan & Georg Trakl.  Plus some of his own work, which I like immensely.  He seems to walk a fine line between the ordinary & the strange, but even the strangest feel accessible to me–unlike, say, some of Larissa’s work.  Of course Larissa is brilliant, and I love the moody mythic feel of it, but sometimes I feel like I’m hammering on a locked door.  Can’t quite decipher what the poem wants me to feel or realize.

Though I might just be a lazy reader.  I’m still so used to reading really fast (which is why I read more fiction, I guess).  Usually need to read poetry 2, 3 times.  Which I’m learning to do more regularly.

One last thing:  submitted some poems to 9 journals, early in May.  Don’t expect to hear from them soon, being summer, though Redivider did reject me very quickly.  Huzzah for my first rejection!  Plenty more of those to come.  But if on the off chance I do get accepted, I will let you know, of course.

All right.  Enjoy your trip.  More letters later, I am sure! 

Always your student,



  1. “To live close inside my skin, rather than deep inside my head. Summer’s especially good for that, it’s so sensory.”

    Exactly. Well put.

    Comment by Bethany — June 4, 2009 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

  2. Hope you are STILL writing, Lauren. I agree that workshops are invaluable. Gifts. Maybe you could start one in your community?

    Comment by sagewriter — September 7, 2012 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

    • Lauren is indeed still writing, working on her MFA!

      Comment by Theresa Williams — September 9, 2012 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

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