The Letter Project

May 26, 2012

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Filed under: Mailart — Theresa Williams @ 4:30 pm
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Suzy’s letter to Whitney

Suzy’s letter to Whitney

Suzy’s letter to Whitney

Suzy’s letter to Whitney

20 May 2012
Dear Whitney,

Thank you for your compliments on my reading! It was definitely an experience to read my work out loud. Thank you for attending! It was great to see you. It’s nice to be graduated. I’m still not feeling it other than I can actually read for leisure instead of for homework. And I’ve finished four books since graduating, mostly poetry. The ceremony was similar to the one in high school. I wore my cords proudly and didn’t trip as I shook everybody’s hand.

The envelope with your last letter is gorgeous! I love the balloons, the mortar board, and “the world is your playground.” And I can’t forget “Carpe Diem” on the front. This phrase takes me back to sophomore year in high school when we learned it and watched “Dead Poets Society” in class. I hear Robin Williams saying it my head and shouted from mountaintops.

I hope you enjoy San Diego! I would love to hear your favorite painting in the museum. I don’t know a lot about art either and hope to learn more. Sometimes I wish I had taken art history, but I don’t really need to since I found a three-volume set of art history books at the Napoleon Library book sale in December.

Don’t worry about taking so long to respond. I kept returning to this letter because I had more to share with you! I understand it takes time to write a letter. I would much rather you approach letter writing in a way that makes sense to you. Now that I have (more) sfree time, I should be able to respond to your letters quicker and hopefully with mail art in some form or another.

It’s a shame about “Titanic.” I remember reading “The Secret Garden” when I was a kid. I would love to see it since “Titanic” didn’t work out for either of us. So excited for “Wicked”!

The copy editing conference in New Orleans went very well. I got some new tips on writing headlines and saw the results of their headline contest. The New York Times came in third in one area, which took me by surprise since I read their articles and headlines often. Their headlines are great examples to learn how to write great headlines.

As for the city itself, I love its nickname of NOLA (New Orleans, LA). I found the only used bookstore in the French Quarter (just like Grounds for Thought in BG). The food was amazing, and I immediately missed it—still do. I had an alligator po-boy (a type of sandwich famous in the city—the alligator was bland without the spices), crawfish etouffee (crawfish smothered in butter and onions), beignets at Café du Monde (which I am going to make sometime this summer), and a St. Charles Duck sandwich.

You can certainly borrow Mike’s books. I happen to have both of them. I loved Lawrence’s “The Garden of the World.” My favorite novella in “The New Valley” is also “Sarverville Remains.” I can’t read it without remembering Josh reading the beginning of it at Prout. I agree that it should a requirement to read our teachers’ work. When I apply to MFA programs, I’m definitely reading the professors’ work beforehand. Yes, maybe not all of the students will do it, but we will and we’re the ones who will benefit.

Long poems just happen. Usually they’ll come when there’s a line begging to be used in a long repeating form like the pantoum or no form at all with repeating lines somewhere in the stanza(s). I don’t think you’re doomed to the short poem bus. I don’t seek out the poems based on length. I let them come as they want, whether it be long or short. Sometimes I’ll sit down and purposely try to write a long poem, but the process can be exhausting for me because I feel like I need to remember everything that happened in the poem (unless it’s a ghazal) before sitting down to write the next part. I even reread the poem before writing the next stanza.

You’re welcome for the prompts. Thanks for the compliments on my poem. I’m glad my poem has attitude and can be read over and over again. I read your poem in scissors and spackle and Catfish Creek—they are both wonderful poems, and I loved reading them. Congratulations on getting so many pieces accepted for publication. But the waiting game can be played with writing more and sending out more work, so you don’t have to think about waiting at all.

Handwriting is fascinating. When I was doing research for a character years ago I looked at handwriting samples online to see what the handwriting sample says about personality traits. One reason I don’t like the handwritten comment sections in evaluations at school is because if there was even one handwritten assignment, I thought the teacher would know it’s me because of my handwriting. I prefer print because I can write faster, but if I take my time, I prefer to use cursive because it’s more fun to take the time to shape the letters instead of slamming them on the page. I laughed out loud at the orangutan comment. That was a fantastic description, Whitney. I’m curious what you noticed about the students and the connections you made about their handwriting.

And for this letter, it is not my usual handwriting (in the beginning, anyway) because I experimented with my handwriting. I found my character Charlotte’s cursive, so I hope you enjoy. That is a great exercise! I will have to borrow it, if you don’t mind. I love epistolary novels; it is such a great way to look inside a character’s head without the usual veil of an author poking around in the gray matter. I’m glad to be ambidextrous, so writing left handed is fun. Plus it is useful if my right hand injury is bothering me.

I’m happy my finger painting has a place on your corkboard, and the frog and magnet are on your desk. Since I moved from one apartment, I organized eight boxes of books down to two boxes to keep (and somehow demolished one box to be empty). It was more emotionally trying than I expected, but I do feel lighter. I might have to go to the gym to lift weights instead of staying at home. 🙂 Selling them was less difficult. I felt like I was walking on air once I left them at the selling counter.

“My obituary will read, suffocated by books” made me think about “The Collectors” in “How They Were Found” by Matt Bell. I will forever be haunted by oranges in that story. Since I don’t want to become a hoarder, letting go of my books is a step away from that fate. I’ve watched the show a few times. I’m most horrified by the people who hoard animals. Even though I have a tendency to hoard, it doesn’t mean I am a hoarder. Not yet. Hopefully never.

My apartment will probably be ready for a dinner after June 5th, so we can have the dinner party before your trip, or even after! We can pick a menu and everything. The local food market opens this week, I think, so we can even get fresh produce. Squeakers has produce too.

I’m glad you’re enjoying “Winter’s Tales.” Thank you for sharing your favorite quotes. There are so many memorable ones from Dinesen. The stories have prompted writing sessions for me as well. I used the first story as a basis for an exercise in Theresa’s modern fiction class. It was a wonderful experience.

I also save theater stubs to remember which films I saw in theaters. Then I can look at it and remember who I saw it with and where, and other misc. details.

I went to the Pompeii exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center. There were artifacts of cookware, replicas of the ovens the people used to make their meals, statues and mosaics. I was stunned by the fact they cleaned their clothes with ammonia, and the cheapest source was urine. They had pots outside the laundry workshop to collect it. They also ate their meals on the go, so they had disposable bowls, an early form of fast food. I’m going to try to find an authentic bread recipe. The loaves of bread were round and cut into wedges. The bread was hard because of the quality of flour. The bakers even stamped their names onto the bread.

The exhibit quoted portions of Pliny’s letters depicting the eruption of Vesuvius that covered Pompeii and the surrounding areas. I bought the Penguin Classics collection “The Letters of the Younger Pliny.” Pliny lived AD 61-113. He wrote to Tacitus, Suetonius, and Emperor Trajan.

I saw the “Avengers” movie with my cousin. Joss Whedon has outdone himself. I love “Firefly” and “Serenity.” Have you ever seen them? In the “Avengers,” there are great moments of humor, the script was great, and the actors did a fantastic job. If you haven’t seen it, go! 🙂

We’ll get started soon with our discussion of the Kerouac biographies and “On the Road.” I’m going to read them very soon. I’m still sleeping as much as I can since graduation. Who knew I wanted to sleep so much?

The symbolism of the form for this letter is that we are two birds free from the nest of undergrad, ready to fly on our own as we play on the world’s playground.


P.S. My sister made me a scrapbook with childhood photos. Funny how I don’t remember a lot of it.



1 Comment »

  1. […] out the letter I wrote to Whitney and see photos of it. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to […]

    Pingback by The Letter Project–Letter to Whitney « Suzanna and Writing — May 31, 2012 @ 9:04 am | Reply

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