The Letter Project

May 31, 2013

Special Delivery (539)

Filed under: Letters — Theresa Williams @ 3:15 pm
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A letter from Suzy Anderson to Whitney Reinhard–

2 February 2012

Dear Whitney,

I’ve never been to the Bookshelf II. I will have to check it out since I love going to different bookstores to see what they have.

I feel the same way–“I love it there [BG]. I just think I need a taste of ‘the real world.'” I hope I can survive this semester too! Really sorry it took so long for me to write back.

Perfectionism has been running through my mind for a while. What does it mean to pursue perfection? Why do I try so hard to be perfect? Is it possible to no longer be a perfectionist? Are perfectionists made or created? Several of my short stories deal with perfectionism in some way, so it might make a collection some day.

“You can tell a lot by peoples’ hands” is so true! I know after injuring my right hand freshman year I am more careful with my hands. I know I’ll be devastated without them–probably wouldn’t be able to turn book pages, crochet, knit, type, play piano, or write by hand otherwise.

I hope you had a great visit with your sister. It’s nice to see people you haven’t seen in a while. Before the semester started I visited my sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, brother, and nephews in Cincinnati. I hadn’t seen them in so long! And I gave my grandmother the afghan I’ve been working on for years. It was the right shade of blue.

I’m glad one of your favorite things to do is read! I have so many books on my to-read list and it keeps growing! Hopefully more books will come to join the others on the list. At least I’ll never be out of reading material! 🙂

I have three older half siblings and two younger siblings. Even though we come from the same gene pool, we are all very different people. I’m the only one who is studying “art” (because writing is an art) but all of them have creative pursuits like music and poetry or handicrafts. I think God does have a sense of humor for a lot of the situations and lives we have. Life should be entertaining or we’ll just trudge along waiting for it to end.

NaNo pushes me as a writer too. I’m glad I participated last year even though I wasn’t sure I could do NaNo and school and work and everything else. I’m glad I reached 50 thousand words. It is always such an accomplishment.

That’s great that your characters surprised you! One of my favorite parts of the writing process is making discoveries along the way.

I didn’t realize Paul would be so important in the novel and that his cousin Tiffany would be such a trouble maker and crucial to the plot.

Charlotte has surprised me from day one. She still hasn’t revealed all of her secrets, but then again we all keep secrets. The biggest surprise from Charlotte though would be that she no longer starts the fire, which pretty much cuts Dan out of the story and the mental hospital. I need to go back and make revisions.

I don’t have a single list of books I would recommend to others, but I should make a complete list. Here’s mine, also in no particular order. Some are plays.

1. Room-Emma Donoghue

2. Lolita-Vladimir Nabokov

3. In the Lake of the Woods-Tim O’Brien

4. On Writing-Stephen King

5. Persuasion-Jane Austen

6. Glass Castle-Jeannette Wall

7. Shade’s Children-Garth Nix

8. The Tao of Pooh-Benjamin Hoff

9. Sir Stalwart-Dave Duncan

10. Harry Potter series-J.K. Rowling

11. Fall of a Kingdom-Hilari Bell

12. Lord of the Rings-J.R.R. Tolkien

13. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close-Jonathan Safran Foer

14. Persepolis-Marjane Satrapi

15. Much Ado About Nothing-Shakespeare

16. The Dark Glory War-Michael A. Stackpole

17. Kindred-Octavia Butler

18. Winesburg, Ohio-Sherwood Anderson

19. Cane-Jean Toomer

20. Tartuffe-Moliere

There’ll be more in the postscript. Some of my favorite films:

Red Eye

Alex & Emma


Beauty and the Beast

A Knight’s Tale


Good choices on your holiday films! My family listens to the Nutcracker Suite and Christmas carols. We try to have a meal together for the holiday and give gifts.

I think I’ll have the same reaction at my thesis reading. Oh Faulkner. 🙂

My holiday was good and I hope yours was too! I’ll let you know when my thesis reading is. My thesis is starting to come together, poetry and fiction-wise.

It was fantastic to be greeted by two letters! I hope your back gets better. Injuries are never much fun.

Did you read and write while you were under house arrest? There are benefits to being a recluse. I like being around people too much to be a total recluse. Wouldn’t mind living in a log cabin and having a garden, though.

I also saw the Egyptian Exhibit! They had several details on scribes, which fascinated me, and the recording of what people would tell the gods as a negative confession was so intriguing I wrote about it. I love doing ekphrasis (art in response to art) whenever I go to museums. I went back to the art museum not too long ago and garnered more material.

I collect Shakespeare’s collected works. My Dad gave me a 2-volume set when I was a kid, I got his complete works (poetry included) for Christmas one year, and this past year I got my grandfather’s copy of the plays with his annotations. I read Macbeth in high school and also loved it–especially since lyrics are taken from it for one of the songs in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film score.

I’m glad you enjoyed “The Young Man with the Carnation.” I also worry about superficiality in my writing. I much prefer writing from the truth and emotions.

Matt’s book is on my list to read. I also was happy when he read at Prout.

Good luck with your short story! I hope to hear more about it.

My semester is going well, busy as usual. I’m taking fewer classes, which helps. It’s hard to think about what’s going to happen after graduation, but I’ve decided to not worry about it and take each day one at a time. I’m spending more time writing and gathering material, so the habit of writing every day is still going well. I’m trying to add the habit of reading at least one short story a day, but it’s a work in progress.

What are your goals for this year?



21. As I Lay Dying-William Faulkner

22. The Write Type-Karen E. Peterson

23. Brave New World-Aldous Huxley

24. A Wrinkle in Time-Madeleine L’Engle

25. If I Stay-Gayle Forman

26. Echo-Kate Morgenroth

27. Sold-Patricia McCormick

28. Catalyst-Laurie Halse Anderson

29. Dealing with Dragons-Patricia C. Wrede

30. A Void-Georges Perec

31. Dear Everybody-Michael Kimball

32. Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen

33. Great Gatsby-F. Scott Fitzgerald

34. Kafka was the Rage-Anatole Broyard

35. Le Morte D-Arthur-Sir Thomas Malory

36. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn-Mark Twain

37. The Canterbury Tales-Geoffrey Chaucer

38. Birds of America-Lorrie Moore

39. Dracula-Bram Stoker

40. Bear and his Daughter-Robert Stone

41. Nine Stories-J.D. Salinger

42. Carmilla-Sheridan le Fanu

43. The Vampyre-John Polidori




1 Comment »

  1. […] out a letter I wrote to […]

    Pingback by The Letter Project–Letter to Whitney | Suzanna and Writing — May 31, 2013 @ 3:27 pm | Reply

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