From the First Draft to the Published Piece: Professor Susan Tekulve
Writing comes naturally to Susan Tekulve, and she does it well. Primarily a short story writer and an avid reader, Tekulve has been writing since she was a child. The process of creation, taking images and ideas from her imagination and relating those experiences onto paper, is something she can’t imagine not doing. “Writing is something I need to do,” Tekulve said. “I don’t feel very good when I’m not writing, and I usually think and process most of my experiences through words.”
Tekulve’s way with words have made her successful in a competitive field. A recipient of a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference, she recently published Savage Pilgrims, a collection of short fiction and lyrical interludes that explores the tumultuous journeys of people searching for the savage truth about themselves, hoping to find grace, love, fear and peace, revelations that are gut-wrenchingly human and universal. Many of the stories in her collection were previously published in other prestigious journals like Shenandoah and The Georgia Review.
In addition to her collection, Tekulve also published a chapbook, Wash Day, through WebdelSol.Com. The chapbook is an excerpt from her novel-in-stories, Wilderness Road, that she is currently working on. “In a novel-in-stories, the stories are united by characters and place,” Tekulve said. “Though the stories in my book are arranged chronologically, they are also joined associatively by images and details that are threaded throughout the entire book. Really, putting a novel-in-stories together is much more like putting a poetry collection together. It was a very intuitive and organic process because each new story evolved from a previous story or from a character I’d dealt with briefly in a previous story. I didn’t see how the entire book would come together until I was nearly finished. I just kept writing each story until one day I thought, Oh, I see how these all work together.”