Susanna Daniel Transcript!

Tyler

Today we are going to be talking about the novel Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel, and then we are going to be interviewing her. I can’t wait. When we were thinking about books that we wanted to read. My G\grandma said that, oh, I have a Florida book lying around somewhere in the house.

Gramel

Yes, but I didn’t say it exactly like that. I said, you have a book that might be and I found it. I knew right where it was. And it was by somebody who had been born in Florida and it was about Florida. And then it’s about a marriage. It’s about love. It’s about loss. It’s about all of these things. I know I’m just gonna love her because I love the way she writes.

Tyler

The book is set in Miami and it follows a character through the decades of her life when she first meets the person who will become her husband to the rest of their life together, essentially. And the book gets the title from Stiltsville because one of the characters owns a house in Stiltsville, which is a water top community. So they have these structures, these kind of houses on pilings out in Biscayne Bay. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the book.

Gramel

It was about love, acceptance, patience and friendship and growing with each other, not just one growing. They love their child more than life. I found it very interesting because it was about the mechanics of being married. Having a friendship, raising children. And it was just carried out in a wonderful, not a methodical way but a way that made this story start and continue on a great foundation. And I think it would make a perfect chick flick, which I think is the best movies you can go to Hallmark movie maybe? Well, no, there’s some sex and, and, and these kind of chick flicks. I don’t think there was that much sex in the book, dice. No, but then they let you know that sex does exist. In fact, it’s one of God’s pleasures for us. It wasn’t gratuitous and no, no, no, they didn’t go into you know, diagrams or rules and regulations or how to do this, that and the other. It was just the joy of having a good meal.

Tyler

I did a little research on Stiltsville I went through some archival newspapers and other sources and I have a brief history that I’ve put together something. As the story goes, in the late 1920s, a man named crawfish Charlie set up a seafood and bait shop on a sunken barge in Biscayne Bay. Later, a man grounded to barges and set up a bungalow for vacations. Another guy built a place to gamble. There’s always gambling back in the day. Right interesting. And the 40s locals heard they could lease parts of Biscayne Bay for only $1 an acre, the community started to take shape. At one point, the community counted about 14 structures built 12 feet over the water on pilings driven 18 feet into bedrock. They stretch for about two miles across the outer edge of Biscayne Bay. At its peak in the 1960s. There were 27 structures on the flats. Then hurricane Betsy hit in 1965. This was one of the worst hurricanes recorded in Florida history. After the storm, the state implemented strict rules for the buildings. There had been some talk to expand the community in the 80s. But the state decided to instead expand Biscayne National Park and it included the area’s still spill, so all the leases weren’t renewed, which is something she brings up in the book as well. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, only seven structures remain. And then in 2003, a nonprofit was put in charge of maintaining the structures and now people can rent them for the day. Unfortunately, they were damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Only one or two houses are able to support a public use event at this time.

Gramel

Can you imagine just living on the water and in storms and sleeping and being pregnant and sick? They just lived on the water. I loved it. She had to adapt more than him cuz he’s the one that kind of grew up on that. And not only his home or their home, right, Francis is here we’re talking about the main character. Yeah, she’s from Georgia. And then she comes down to Miami for a wedding, and then basically stayed, kinda. And what I liked about the book is how Florida was to me how it was so sensuous with the details, and it really felt like this was a book by a Florida and talking about life in Florida. Yeah, the food, the sunsets, plants, it was like somebody was talking about things without even breathing.

Tyler

And according to Suzanne has biography, she, I guess her family owned one of the houses or she went out to Stiltsville. And regularly she did.

Gramel

She’s an awesome writer, nothing is predictable. And I like that in a story in a movie in a book that you know, it’s not predictable keeps you thinking and kind of on your toes and trying to figure out where it’s gonna go and get you more involved in a in a book or story when it’s not so predictable. It’s like being at a movie that’s foreign speaking you have to watch the words to be able to know what’s going on, you get more focused in a story that is not predictable. I liked it when she started talking about her child and the way they let that child be herself with some restriction but they celebrated her being unique and smart in some areas.

And other areas and the way they just both love that child. Like you were saying this book really does revolve around a family and parenting and a marriage. The other day you were talking about some advice for people who are married, what would you say to folks who are just getting married, I was married 47 and a half years. I know this is very cut and dry. But from what I have learned, things I have gleaned that if this person is rotten after 10 years, they’re not going to change and you need to get on with I should have gotten on with my life. Because life is so special. And there’s so many adventures and so many ways to grow. That’s very important. Now, I am a believer, but in those 10 years with me, I had attempted so many ways of being of changing and being different.

And after, that’s my outlook. Sorry, after 10 years if people aren’t willing to change, you both have to change because you’re going to grow Of course, or hopefully, and that’s it. cut and dry.

Tyler

Something in the book that I noticed too is they spend a lot of time together outside Francis and her husband, Dennis. Dennis is from Florida. He’s from Miami and he likes to go fishing swim. He’s the one that owns the house, instilled spill basement a lot of time together outside our his family owns the house and a lot of their life surrounding having a boat now they never had a luxurious boat, but there to get around to the places and things they like to do involved having a boat, and they involve that child with learning how to drive the boat or pilot the boat, whatever. And teaching the shower how to fish, teaching the child how to you know all about the water life. It was just through, you know, way of doing things. Didn’t y’all have a boat at one point?

Gramel

Yes. We had a big, huge thing and it with salt water, they require maintenance. I think they always had a little boat. It’s like a little dog is easier to take care of than a big dog. Even though big dog has a lot of wonderful qualities, little dog is just easier to take care of. There’s that old Florida saying, you don’t ever really want to own a boat. You want to know someone who owns a boat a man say you don’t have to take care of it. And there’s also that saying that two happiest days of your life is when you buy a boat. And the other Happiest Day is when you sell about right? But at least this character he likes taking care of the boat, the boat fixing the engine. He liked doing all of that kind of thing. He liked working outside period. He was always doing something to the landscape.

Tyler

So every chapter is a new year, and which I thought was really cool because it gave history bits and bits and pieces of history throughout during that so it didn’t go into real a lot of depth about the history, but it was, you know, it was there to kind of guide you through Florida history like the hurricanes, the Miami riots from the 80s and there was one particular section about the Gainesville river in 1990. I kept the on the edge of your seat, I really didn’t know what was gonna happen. Now chapter a little bit of background on the Gainesville river in the fall of 1995 Gainesville students were murdered by this guy named Danny Harold rolling, who’d become known in the media later as the Gainesville Ripper. The victims ages ranged from a first year us student who was 17 to a 23 year old and rolled at the local community college. The murders traumatize the college town. And UF is one of the largest universities in the country and it’s also one of the most well known popular state schools here.

I really like Gainesville though. I think it’s, it’s got springs, it’s got nature. It is a college town, but it has a lot of that old Florida nature that I really like it doesn’t not beat you like where we’re at necessarily. Yeah, right. You don’t want swimming down their waters. After nine days of testimony. And Alachua County grand jury issued an 11 count indictment charging him with five first degree murders, three counts of sexual battery and three counts of armed burglary. He wasn’t from Florida. He was what I read, described as a Louisiana drifter. And so drifted down.

Gramel

I remember the happenings. And I remembered, you know, he became almost a household word. I just don’t remember that Ripper name didn’t sink in.

Tyler

I also think to maybe that the local media because something that I was finding in the newspaper archives, specifically from the independent Alligator, which is one of the best collegiate papers in the country, they were saying how a lot of the media and stuff like that was they were getting some of the details wrong to kind of push out the narratives because of the true crime aspect of it. So in 1994, the independent alligator ran and opinion section and they said, Gainesville student murders the Gainesville river and beyond murder. were two books that had been written pretty quickly after the murders happen and this opinion piece as each one was filled with errors as the authors rush to get the book out in time to catch the interest of readers.

And I thought that was really interesting because I had read that these murders had inspired the movie scream, which was a huge movie. Tell them who starred in that movie. Courtney Cox, right. And Drew Barrymore was in it in the first scene, a really famous scene, where she’s running from, she’s running inside and the guy calls her on the phone and asked her What’s her favorite scary movie?

Tyler

You think that’s funny? Have you ever seen scream?

Gramel

No, I don’t think I have but I mean, I used to like of course, murder it and call you on the phone and say have you ever seen such and such movie? Right? It was kind of it was kind of campy and that kind of thing.

Tyler

I have always said that scream is the scariest movie to me horror movie that I’ve seen. It’s not even the most, it’s not even the scariest or the bloodiest or anything like that, but it just always really freaked me out because I always thought, well, this could really happen and kind of true to life as we know it now. Right? You know, and it always freaked me out and I never liked horror movies. You’re not a really big fan of horror movies either. I didn’t see them until I was an adult.

Gramel

Yeah, the basically the only ones I’ve seen is the blob. That thing and this was very early like in my almost my teenage years, and then psycho. Oh, and but from then on, they became too bloody and graphic and if that’s real life, I don’t really care for real life all that much period. I like fantasy. so on so forth. Fluff fluff and eat a T shirt that says fluff.

Tyler

I never really liked watching horror movies when I was younger just because they scared me. But then when I got older, I started watching, I was really interested in American Horror Story, people were talking about how good it was and all that kind of stuff. So I got into watching that. And that kind of dipped my toe into the waters. And then I started opening up to watching more horror movies and all of that kind of thing. But anyway, this movie had always really scared me even before I knew that it was inspired by true events. I never knew that until much later. And so when I found out it was actually based on or not based, but it was inspired by these murders. It really made me feel really weird that these were inspired by actual people that had been murdered. And in scream, the movie doesn’t take place in Florida, or anything like that. So I didn’t, I didn’t connect those dots until now. And it also just really weirds me out because the movie came out in 1996, while he was still alive, he was in prison. So he saw all of the things that he did become popular media, you know, from prison. And while he was on death row, he was one of those people that became infamous and had a woman write to him and fall in love with him, you know how that that can happen? And then they became married in prison? I would say it helped him become more narcissistic. Right? He was. I think that’s the thing, right? It’s like, people want these serial killers and murderers want to be known. And the fact that he was known, must be really is really sad to me and really weird. Yeah. And then the woman that he married helped him write a book. And the book was called the making of a serial killer, the true story of the Gainesville murders in the killer’s own words and I looked it up on I think Amazon or Goodreads and there were like over 100 reviews. I don’t know. I mean people really like the true crime.

Gramel

Yeah, I like fluff.

Tyler

But Scream became a really popular movie. It made over 100 million dollars domestically and didn’t they have sequels to it? They’ve already had screen 123 and four, and there’s a screen five slated to come out in 2021. And so rawling had been convicted of his crimes in 1990. And then he was executed by lethal injection in 2006. I think it’s really difficult to write about true crime stuff like that and do it in a respectful way. And I think that’s something that Susanna did. I wouldn’t I mean, she talks about the murders, because one of the characters is that us while it’s happening, but she doesn’t and she does give details but she doesn’t go into the whole Gainesville. Ripper infamous kind of stuff about the murders, but I thought that she did that in a really respectful way. And it really made an impression on them that stayed with them for the rest of I think their life, how dear life is and always be aware of people are healed one day and gone the next sometime. So nothing. And the book does take about the last third or a couple of chapters. The book does take a pretty dramatic turn. But I think we can probably talk about that with Susanna because I want to get her viewpoint on making that choice for that character.

Gramel

And that part of it makes it one of the best books ever written. And that recommendation needs to read this book. It’s got everything

Tyler

In the last segment we talked about Splitsville and now we’re going to get to talk to Suzanna. She’s going to tell us about growing up around spilled spill her writing practices, what she’s working on now how she goes to a nunnery to write that’s really an interesting detail. And what it was like starting her own writing program, I’m gonna drop us right into the conversation.

She’s wearing the cutest shirt today to just I don’t think you can see it, but there’s like a flower growing out of the pocket.

We decided to read books by Florida authors. And we were like bouncing the idea around and she was like, I think we have a book in the house that fits the bill. And it happened to be still so. And also it was kind of cool that it was the 10th year anniversary, I noticed of the publication.

Susanna

Yeah, I guess it was oh my gosh, I should really be writing. The second one is called Sea Creatures and it has some of the same characters but not a lot. And then the third one is not published yet.

Tyler

So where are you currently?

Susanna

I’m in Madison, Wisconsin at my house. I’ve lived here for 20 years. I’ve lived here since 9/11. So well, that’s 19 years ago. What brought you from one end of the United States to the opposite. I Well, I went to college in New York, and then I stayed there for a little bit and then I went to graduate school in Iowa, and I could not have found Iowa on a map. Like just did I didn’t no idea what my mind I mean, there’s there had never been any reason to. So my brother came to visit me once he and his partner has now has been live in San Francisco. And they, like my brother made the reservation.

And then they got on the plane and his husband was like, um, what airport are we flying into? and Craig was like the Iowa airport. And Stephen was like, there are more. There’s more than one airport in Iowa. They ended up five hours away from my house.

But that was us. We didn’t understand about the middle of the country. So I I left Iowa for a graduate postgraduate fellowship here in Madison, and it was just a one year fellowship, and then I ended up staying on his teaching. No, you know what, I was a teaching thing for two years. I was one year and then I got one year extended, but then since then, I have worked in tech. And then in 2013, I opened my own private, Creative Writing Studio, and we’re the largest Creative Writing Studio in the city. We’ve had something like 500 students come through, and now we’re on zoom. So that stinks, but otherwise, it’s been great. Just working for myself and slowly writing my books.

Tyler

So now is doing zoom folks from out of state might be able to sign up.

Susanna

Yeah, actually, we’ve been sort of wondering how to get the word out about things because I really value the in person experience I teach, like I teach several classes, but the one that I really love is a yearlong book writing class, you sit down in January, and you’re with the same group, once a month for the whole year. And by the end, you have random pages, ideally. And that’s just you know, there’s no real substitute for that, that three hours at the table. I mean, it’s just really intense. It’s so supportive. It’s a great connection, but because we had already been a group before we started on zoom this year, I feel like it did translate pretty well. But I hope that I won’t have to start next year’s group.

Tyler

Is your family still in South Florida?

Susanna

My father and stepmother are in Miami. They  live like half a mile from where I grew up in Coral Gables. Yeah. So I usually visit twice a year. I love going down to Florida with my kids and just spending days at the beach and eating a lot of fish and I just love it. I love the humidity. I love everything about it. But I mean, every time I step out of the airport, I feel better. I love South Florida. I always take them to the Everglades. And what he kind of like to do out in the Everglades like arounds and neck counts. I have little ones it’s pretty little one so we count them alligators and gawk at them and you know that we always go to the beach in the Everglades and then we’ll talk to the people. We talk to the people who I know who live there and they’re like, you did what you went when I was like Miamians don’t go to the beach and they don’t go to the Everglades.

Tyler

I think I read in the back or maybe on your website or something that your family had some kind of house out there you had access to Stiltsville. Can you talk to us a little bit about what it was like growing up in such a cool part of the world?

Susanna

Yeah, my grandfather was in construction like in early Miami like he had been born and raised in Miami. My father was born and raised in Miami. And he is was one of the first people to go out and basically just ram a boat into a shoal and they call that spell. And then one of the Hurricanes I don’t remember if it was that same 54 I think they eliminated all of those. So they went back again, and they built up like major houses like it was probably as big as our house in Miami, maybe a little smaller, you know, two bathrooms, fed by a big rain tower generator.

And it took about maybe 20 minutes to cross the bay to get there. And we grew up going there because by the time I was around my grandfather and my grandmother was they were in the Carolinas, and they weren’t really using any more. So it fell to my family. And we shared it. This isn’t in the book, but we shared it with another two families. So we only got like, every third weekend, you know, as a kid, it was like, our mind is still like, there’s no TV, there’s no friends, all you do is read play cards. And he said, You know, it was always such a pain and my father would always lose his temper around the boat, you know, and docking the boat and all that. But then again, it’s like my whole childhood is filled with these memories of being on this little island with my family. And you know, you cannot replicate that now. I could try but I can’t do anything like that. Yeah, there’s nothing like that. No, no.

And then it stayed it was continued to be our, you know, sort of second home until Andrew. I was a senior in high school and ours was almost completely demolished and then we had to have the pilot the last of the pilings removed.

Tyler

I was gonna say that’s a moment. That was a really tough, tough moment in the book.

Susanna

Yeah, yeah, I my father and Dennis are really different people. I feel like I sort of took the best of my father and put them in Dennis and elaborated but uh, I felt for him that he was, you know, he realized that his life was going to change now, and I think that was true of my dad too. I do think that he felt like he was old enough that he couldn’t really kind of keep it going. There are still seven houses out there. It’s at least sunsetted and then Florida took possession and they

They couldn’t keep them up. And it was like a mess for a few years. And so they gave the the original owners back the keys and they call them caretakers. And so the original owners are now 100% responsible for the houses, but they don’t belong to them anymore. Wow. Yeah. So they can go but other people can go to

Gramel

Oh my goodness. Yeah. Oh, well, I gotta get ask you. How did you come up with that idea about the eel?

Susanna

There was an eel that lived in a toilet bowl under the dock.

Gramel

So you know, they say truth is stranger than fiction. It’s I wondered if that was real. And did you actually go under the water and swim around that thing?

Susanna

No, my mom always told me not to get anywhere near it. So I don’t even think I ever saw it.  I mean, people will talk about it and like, you know, my brother’s friends would come and they would kind of swim near it, but I never got anywhere near it. Now I think in the book, somebody killed it, right? Yes. And that’s true in real life. Some guest killed it. And that was not okay with my parents. Like, you left it alone and it left you alone. And then somebody came along and killed it. trophy kill.

Gramel

I bet nobody else had a pet l in their book they wrote.

Susanna

I’ve never thought of that. I bet not, you know, because I’ve been reading since I was a little girl. I never read any reading thing about it. But yeah. Well, you know, people always say, how did you know you could write a book about a happy marriage? They don’t say How did you know you could write a book about a pet deal but they

Tyler

What I think was so, so interesting about the protagonist was Yes, she was very happy. But she was often like, questioning things. And she had kind of some distance. So she was kind of in her head about things. So I do see it as being happy. But it wasn’t like uncomplicated, the way her feelings were, you know. And it gave us a lot of talk about like, what actually makes a healthy and happy marriage, too.

Susanna

Oh, did you figure it out? Because you could make some take some notes for me.

Gramel

I’m a very Merry Widow. But I was married 37 and a half years. Mostly, she said if someone’s not going to change within 10 years, they’re not going to change period. Because her what she told me right now, you know, if you don’t like it, what they are, they’re not in they don’t change into 10 years. I do not say stay with somebody. I’m very Merry.

Tyler

Something that I found really poignant about the writing was that how you were able to mix history into the writings you and you were talking about the Miami riots, too, which makes you know, it feels like a very relevant conversation about what’s going on currently the summer and, and before the summer. So I’m wondering, what was your process for including that historical kind of element into the book?

Susanna

Um, it’s a good question. I mean, I, I remember that period, so well, and I remember Christos pink islands so well, and I think what I did was try to try to get in those really, those parts of my childhood that were not similar to parts of childhood and somebody growing up in Amherst, or New Jersey or something.

But those things really stood out to me like the way that the whole city became scary. I kind of overnight. And yet my parents, we lived in this kind of like little white enclave, you know. And then the way that my friend’s parents would talk about the riots versus the way my parents talked about the riots that was very obvious to me even as like a little kid, but there was a big difference. So I wanted that in the book, you know, I wanted that message. And now I even said this recently on Facebook, I think the message would probably be very different again, but my father’s message at the time was, you know, writing isn’t like some ethical wrong that makes you know, that is only done by bad people writing it’s his desperation and he and it’s anger, and it’s not a conspiracy.

I think that has stayed with me. And I brought that to the most recent stuff, you know, and that’s how I talk to my kids.

Tyler

And it seems like Dennis is kind of like, these are the facts. This is what’s going on. It seems like a really healthy way to talk about tough things with children.

Susanna

Yeah, he was very straightforward about it. It was great to have both of those. No mother and the father just love their child period. There was no conditions on it. They just loved her. I grew up like that. But when I became a parent myself, it was harder to let your children be themselves. When you see us all things that you know you didn’t know about.

And then the third book, Francis is the narrator. And with her kind of bouts of depression.

Tyler

Oh, okay, so the book that you’re currently working on or that’s in publication process is a sequel or like a continuation. It’s not it just like Margo is in it was the best time in France, his best friend and still fell. She’s in it. But the main character is named Kate

Miami is a really small town in some ways like white, Miami, you know, is a really small town. And that’s kind of how I grew up, like everybody knew everybody. And that’s sort of just how my books have turned out too.

In fact, I’d really love to write something in which, you know, I use sort of a different location, but that location is so, like, deep in my blood, I don’t know if I ever will.

Tyler

And that’s one of the things I you know, as a Floridian too I’m reading these scenes and there’s so much detail that, you know, really painting what’s going on and it makes you know, it’s very Florida, the scenery and the descriptions, which is I wanted to ask you something about the way you handled the UF, the university, the murders that in there, the University of Florida.

Susanna

Well, once again, it you know, I was in high school and it happened. So, I saw I was maybe in like, 10th or 11th grade. And so I knew tons of people at us. But I, I’m more kind of knew my parents friends whose kids were at us. And I just remember thinking like, what is it like to have your kid us right now? That’s just terrifying. And it was, you know, it was a slow burn, right? Like one murder, another murder, two murders like it. It went on and it was like what’s gonna happen next? and tons of people came home from us, you know, that they emptied out. And that’s I mean, I did ask myself that question as a child and then I worked it out as an adult, you know, what is it like to have your kid on a campus where this is happening?

Gramel

I don’t know if I could have been that wise as a parent and say, Oh, well, if that’s what your decision will back you up because that was heavy duty stuff.

Susanna

Yeah. Well, that was also like, I think the point in their relationship where they were realizing they’re not going to get to control her anymore. You know, and that’s so I don’t know if I could do that as married either. Remember, I wrote all of this before I was even met. And that’s the that’s the challenge of the college years, right? So you send them off and you’re kind of like, okay, make good choices.

Tyler

And so I know the book has this is a 10th year anniversary, so it’s not necessarily spoiling what happens but their book takes a turn health wise. How did how did you write those scenes in and kind of what was that turn?

Susanna

Oh, you know actually I have a good answer for that, you know, I started it I gave him this is just the hubris of a young writer. I gave him Parkinson’s. And then you know what book was so big while I was writing this at the beginning of me writing this, which took 10 years, so that’ll tell you something, um, was The Corrections. Jonathan Franzen’s first big one. Yeah. And it was it was all Parkinson’s, so I decided to change it. And what I found was that and I mean, that’s absurd. Of course, you can write about Parkinson’s even if you’re, you know, like, it’s a particular fire to fancy but, but I’m so glad I change it because what I found with ALS is that because it is, your mind stays so sharp for so long. And because the the disease follows the same pattern and everyone although it’s faster in some people and slower and others, it still goes in the same. It’s so it’s really it’s very well plotted, you know, I mean, it’s, it’s sort of right ripe for fiction, because you just go from one stage to the next. And then the other reason that it was a good choice. And it sounds a little mercenary, but it’s because people keep their, their soul sharps for so long as I’m deeply into the disease, people who are only like a month away from death are still writing blogs. So I would read all these blogs, you know, from beginning to end and get like that personal experience of, you know, the first failing, the second failing, the third failing, you know, that the to deterioration and like what people were doing in, you know, 1993 or four to communicate with each other, when they lost this, you know, ability to speak that all that stuff was in those blogs. So you mentioned earlier about writing this book, and while you were in grad school, before you were married, and all of that kind of thing.

Tyler

Now that you’ve had some time from it, how is your writing approach to writing change?

Susanna

Um, well, I think you know, the first book, you know, they say, it’s your whole input your whole life into your first book. And then in the second book, you only have like, you know, since you wrote your first, and I do feel like that’s true. I mean, I felt like I wrote that book, to keep my Florida roots alive, for instance, Francis is not my mother, but there’s some things about my family that I kept alive in the book. Like my childhood family. And then in my second book, after I had had, I was still married. I sold my first book when I was pregnant with my first child and I sold my second book when I was pregnant with my second child. You know that as a writer, that’s a big deadline. So um, I was still you know, in a happy marriage and but I still felt like I had more marital experience. I couldn’t write another book about happy marriage like I really needed to write a book about.

I wanted to take a harder look at monogamy and what it does to people in an unhappy marriage and whether or not it’s fair to ask that of them. And that’s something that’s sort of true in the second book. The second book is about a woman who’s married to a man who has extreme sleep disorder and parasomnia. So and that’s because I had heard this thing in NPR about this guy who was parasomnia and I thought, what would it be like to marry be married to this guy, you know, his highest suicide rates among like any, you know, disorder. I mean, it’s just a really terrible thing. And I thought, that’s what I’m gonna write about. I’m gonna write about, Well, two things I wanted to write about a woman married to a man is parasomnia, a parasomnia and what that does to the marriage and then I also wanted to write about the hermit who was featured in Stiltsville. He’s based on a real person, my parents really would like stand at the kitchen window with binoculars and watch like naked women come and go. And he was always naked. And we never knew his name or anything.

And once I was, I’ve been sort of wrestling with the idea of writing about him. And I was at the Miami book and this woman came up, she waiting in line to have a book signing that she came up and she had me a bunch of Polaroids. And they were of like, a young version of her in a bikini on a dock. And I was like, What is this? You know, who is this? And she was like, Oh, that’s Robert such and such. He lived full time. I was like, Okay, I’m definitely going to write about this guy who goes and looks like that.

Tyler

With everything going on in quarantine, how has your writing practice change? Are you writing or what’s your kind of relationship with writing right now?

Susanna

I went ahead and finished my last draft in quarantine. So now I am waiting to sell that book. And I have been writing a few short stories that might make it into something. But I find that stress and writing don’t go very well together. I don’t I’m not a writer who sits down and waits for the Muse to call but I, you know, the kind of anxiety we’re all experiencing is not conducive to creative work. And that’s why we really have to support each other and give each other like a lot of space and be really gentle with ourselves, I think right now. But I mean, summer is never great for me for writing.

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