Susan SteinbergUSAWriting2014

The world looks different from a castle window.  And in a secret garden.  And through cypress trees.  I came here thinking I was writing one thing.  And I leave here certain I am writing something else.  As a writer, it’s important to change one’s lens.  To allow oneself to change one’s mind.  To break one’s habits.  To think without interruption.  At home, I call this a challenge.  At Civitella, I call it a privilege.  I am utterly grateful for this time.



Underfed (excerpt from a short story)



; there was the time I stood outside; it had snowed the night before; a sound in the distance could have been voices; it could have been something else; it could have been machinery; it could have been just in my head; I wanted the sound to be something else:  waves crashing to the sand, an ocean I was standing in, an ocean I was drowning in; I wanted to be sinking into sand; but I was standing in snow under a tree; I was standing in my underthings; there was something about just standing there like that; there was something about just standing still, the sky about to turn light; I was not in a state of dire need; but I’d been up late thinking of dire things; I’d been thinking, for instance, of the reasons girls love love; I’d been thinking, as well, of the reasons guys love war; I every day bought the paper from the box on the corner; I every day spread the paper across my bed; I was reading up on various wars; I followed wars in various places I didn’t know; I was becoming well-informed on battle; I was becoming well-informed on invasion; because there was nothing going on where I was at all; there was nothing going on where I was but snow;