Writing as Work-in-Progress

Susan L. Lin is a Taiwanese American writer and artist who hails from southeast Texas and holds an MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts. Her novella GOODBYE TO THE OCEAN was the winner of the 2022 Etchings Press novella prize. She loves to sew and, in addition to working on the metafictional novel that “Title Subject to Change” is excerpted from, is also currently writing a sci-fi/horror novel set at a space academy. More of her work can be found online at susanllin.wordpress.com. Twitter: @SusanLLin / Instagram: @susanlinosaur

Susan’s favorite food is the potato. If you are ever holding a sack of potatoes (or any potato-heavy dish) and see her coming, run! Unless of course you would like to share your potatoes. She would very much appreciate it.

Read Susan’s work in the issue:

Title Subject to Change (from BUT I HAVE PROMISES)

Susan says: “”Title Subject to Change” is an excerpt from my metafictional novel-in-progress (working title: BUT I HAVE PROMISES) about bookmaking, storytelling, and most prominently of all, the revision process of writing. At the sprawling book’s start, the narrator invites the reader to visit a community hidden deep in the woods where oblivious residents appear to be characters in a story being written by an unseen but oft-mentioned entity. The place they call home is constantly shifting in both small and large ways: Names change, buildings move, and the chemical contents of correction pen fluid remains highly flammable. 

The first draft of this piece was inspired by an installation at the University of Houston’s Blaffer Gallery, “Diasporic Prerogative” by artist Doug Cason, way back in spring 2006. Unfortunately, I can no longer find photographs of it online, but many of the descriptions of the book room in my story are based on the objects and decor found in that installation. However, a lot of the details have, appropriately, changed with subsequent revisions.

Even though the real world we live in is not the fictional creation of a fickle writer (or is it?), as inhabitants of planet Earth, we do have the power to alter our futures through our everyday actions. Maybe we can’t ever go back to revise Chapter One the way a writer of an unfinished manuscript can, but the conclusion of our existence is never written in stone either. At the same time, it can often still feel like someone else is pulling the strings.

Susan’s story deals, in part, with the art of the book, and in her opinion the San Francisco Center for the Book is one of the best centers for book arts in the US. Susan volunteered there while in grad school and loved every minute of it.

The first two places Susan ever saw exhibits devoted to book-related art (and was immediately hooked) were the Galveston Arts Center in Galveston, Texas, and The Printing Museum in Houston.

Riddled with Arrows 5.2: “Spotlight 2022”
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