On The Letter Project Facebook page, I challenged people to write a letter based on Alice Hindman’s adventure in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. In Suzy Anderson’s letter to friend and classmate Melanie Tokar, Suzy makes connections between art and life. –TW
How are you? How’s your summer so far? I’m working on getting a job, otherwise reading and writing in my spare time when I’m not at the BG News.
I finished reading “Winesburg, Ohio” by Sherwood Anderson. Hearing tales about people’s ordinary lives haven’t always fascinated me. I grew up reading fantasy and science fiction, so when I began reading short stories and novels in the literary vein, I didn’t know what to do at first. After reading several stories, I realized reality is more interesting than I gave it credit to be. I guess I wanted my life to be extraordinary and that the only way I could do it was through alternate worlds and dimensions. Yet there are human qualities in those imaginative stories. I was using imagination to understand reality when I could also use other characters’ realities to understand my reality.
In Alice’s story, “Adventure” in “Winesburg, Ohio,” the narrator says, “And then one night when it rained Alice had an adventure” (Anderson 63). She did indeed with running in the rain. She acted on impulse and didn’t stop to think and talk herself out of it. I did something similar earlier this summer when I was riding my bike downtown to run some errands. When I exited the store, it had started to rain and thunder. I could’ve stopped somewhere and waited for the storm to lighten or end, but I didn’t. I wanted to go home. The sooner the better.
I rode my bike through campus and down the neighborhood roads to get home. But along the way, there were puddles and puddle-free spots. At times I rode through the puddles just to see what it would feel like. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that was probably a bad idea, but I told myself I was going to get wet anyway with the rain. Why not have some fun and take my mind off the thunder to make the trip home less scary?
Knowing me, this experience certainly prompted a short story that is still in progress. The point is, I think everyone needs adventures once in a while. They break the monotony of daily life and give us something to look forward to. There always seems to be a lesson to learn on adventures. Alice needed a moment to feel youthful and courageous because she wanted Ned to return to her. In the end, she “…began trying to force herself to face bravely the fact that many people must live and die alone, even in Winesburg” (Anderson 64).
Maybe that’s why I was drawn to fantasy and science fiction as a kid. I wanted adventure where I could learn from the characters and journey away from Reynoldsburg, Ohio, to new worlds I couldn’t access as a child other than through books. I still take adventures through printed (and electronic) pages. But once in a while, I don’t mind taking a real-life adventure to learn something new about myself.