A letter from Suzy Anderson to Whitney Reinhard …
21 March 2012
I decided to stay in BG for another year, mostly to recover from going to school since I was three, but also to take time to focus on my writing and creative projects. So maybe we can go to the bookstores in May. I’m a happy camper in any bookstore. If I’m surrounded by books, I’m sure a disappointing selection won’t be an issue. Sometimes I go with a certain book in mind. More often than not I’m curious to see what books they carry. I prefer to be surprised and find a book I didn’t expect—one of the best parts of bookstore visits.
I printed one of the final drafts of my thesis yesterday. At first it was scary because it was physical evidence that my journey as a creative writing major is almost over. But it is also evidence of my start as a writer moving on. This thesis showcases where I’ve been in the last three years with my writing and also shows the beginning of my novel. My reading will either be April 12 or 26. We’re working on picking an order.
Catching mistakes while I’m reading is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing to be able to edit and catch them in whatever I’m reading and then in my work. It is also a curse because it detracts from the story and often makes me disappointed (especially if it’s already published—why didn’t anyone catch it before it went to press?). I don’t catch mistakes on purpose and if I find them in your letters, it’s because that part of my brain turned on. And besides, when I read your letters, it’s because I’m interested in what you have to say, not if you use grammar and punctuation properly. I haven’t stopped myself once when reading your letters. You’re a good editor.
Perfectionism does get in the way! I guess it will just be part of my journey to practice letting the goal of perfectionism go and move on regardless of mistakes. I can do my best to learn from them.
Good luck with molding your short story! Tense is one aspect I deal with in revision because I always switch tenses when I’m writing it the first time.
I would love to see “Wicked” again too! Maybe we can make a trip to Toledo and see it again.
I grew up playing piano and violin, so musicals were part of the draw. As a kid I loved “Sound of Music” and would sing along. One of the songs I sing off and on is “Do, a deer, a female deer. Re, a drop of golden sun.” Yeah. I do that. I didn’t know they were doing “Titanic” as a musical! When are you planning to see it? Actually, I haven’t seen “Jesus Christ Superstar” yet. Some other musicals I enjoy are “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “In the Good Old Summertime,” and “Kiss Me Kate.” Cole Porter is one of my favorite songwriters.
Mike’s new book “Chicago Stories: 40 Dramatic Fictions” is one I’m reading. I met the artist at AWP. You’ve already read Matt Bell’s “How They Were Found.” His next collection is out April 15, “Cataclysm Baby.” I am so excited to start reading it. I’m working on Mike’s “Elephants in Our Bedroom” and my classical collections of short stories. I found the complete collection of Mark Twain’s short stories at Grounds.
The poetry projects have definitely helped me focus. It forced me to think about the topic in a different way. For the bracelets I could describe them one day, use the words literally the next, but then I had to do something different with them the next. Until I took the words as a jumping point for something I would have never thought of otherwise, I would feel stuck. Then again, the poems I’m happiest with from the project are ones who didn’t stay married to the subject. If that makes sense. 🙂
I love it when writing makes it so you can’t sleep! I had an idea for a short story yesterday and I was antsy until I wrote down everything I brainstormed. Now to actually to sit down and write it this weekend…
My rejections find a home on a pointed pencil taped to cardboard. It was inspired by Stephen King’s nail in “On Writing.” I’m glad you do the same. The rejections hurt a little bit, but once I stab it on the pencil, it no longer hurts. Rejection is part of the writing process. It is fun to see it grow, so it makes sense to feel they’re taking you to your goals.
I totally understand the testing for H.E.I.G.H.T.S. When I was kid it was the Horizon team. They quickly explained the masculine and feminine “the” of Spanish and gave us a short quiz. In English we don’t have masculine and feminine nouns and because I didn’t understand the concept, I failed the test and didn’t get on the special team. So I took Spanish in high school instead of junior high. My little sister was on the team. I was a little jealous, but I’m glad I wasn’t on the team, though, because I had great teachers who helped me learn things that have shaped me as a person and as a writer.
I’ll have to check out “The Lorax.” I read a lot of his books as a kid too. One of my favorites was “Oh, the places you’ll go!” It’s a great book to read when you’re transitioning. And it’s especially one to reread since I graduate in a matter of weeks.
Reading a bio, book, and then bio might be a good idea so the biographies won’t blend together.
It is sad William Gay passed away. I remember when Madeleine L’Engle passed away. I was sad she wouldn’t write anymore, but I did go back to the library and read more of her works. I could appreciate what she wrote in her lifetime.
I hope my letter also cheers you!
P.S. Have you ever tried to change your handwriting?