Weekly Wrap: We Got Style

by Susan Henderson on March 16, 2007

I need to start my weekly wrap by saying that was some sweet homecoming you guys gave me. Thank you for that. You were definitely missed.


If you’re wondering about the seemingly random (yet stylish) photos today, these are some of the people I’ll be working with next month, and this is my little way of advertising Nile Rodgers’ We Are Family Foundation, whose programs educate people about mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation of cultural diversity.



Sometimes when I ask a Question of the Week, I don’t realize how hard it is till Friday, when I take a crack at it. It seemed like a simple enough thing to ask you guys to describe your writing style, but when I tried to answer it myself, I became nervous about underselling or overselling my own work, or worse, discovering that it was ordinary.

Some of you spent a little time describing your shoes and glasses, so I think I’ll start there, too, and talk about my outward style. I have a habit of wearing jeans, two shirts at once, and I comb my hair with my fingers. I’m a mascara and lip gloss type of girl, though today (and this is typical), I’ve forgotten the mascara and lip gloss. If I dress up to go out, I look about the same except with bracelets and usually the necklace I bought in Beijing for just a few cents.

Paul Simon

I’m fussier about my writing.

I think I have two writing styles. There’s my non-fiction (essays, my memoir) that pretty much captures the way I speak minus the um’s. This writing is lighter, hopefully funny and poignant, and the easiest for me to write. I’m an Achilles’ heal junkie so I tend to run towards the scenes that expose weaknesses. I love people for their tender, unpolished spots, the ways they’re ashamed, the things they most want to hide. That would be the quality that my non-fiction shares with my fiction. That and an obsession with rhythm and quirky details.

Dionne Warwick

As far as my fiction goes – short stories and my novel – I’ve been compared to Carson McCullers for twenty years. I’m not entirely sure what that’s about, but oddly enough, I find my Virginia accent rears its head in my fiction. I worked very hard to lose my accent in college because people teased me about it, but when I write deep, and particularly when I write from a child’s perspective, the voice in my head still has a little twang to it. One thing I do know is that when I write fiction, I tend to go deeper and darker because fiction has always allowed me to tell bigger emotional truths. Any of you feel the same way?

Tommy Hilfiger (who, by the way, has just gone FUR-FREE! You go, Tommy!)

Thanks to those of you who answered the Question of the Week and shared your style: Julie Ann Shapiro, Claire Cameron, Lori Oliva, Lance Reynald, Aurelio, Ellen Meister, James Spring, Paula, Robin Slick, Aimee, Ania, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Gail Siegel, Jenn, Betsy, AmyWallen, Anneliese, amy, Carolyn Burns Bass, Kelly Spitzer, Noria, Margy, Jonathan Evison, *Joe*, Pia, scott, Ric Marion, Tom Jackson, Nathalie, Kris Yankee, Bruce Hoppe, Jim Simpson, Mary Akers, Kimberly, Kirk Farber, Jordan, Daryl, Alexi Lykissas, Richard, Juliet, Grant Bailie, jon armstrong, n.l. belardes, Simon Haynes, Man Martin, and Edward Champion.

And thank you to the most awesome Elizabeth Crane for sharing your book and your crocheted tops with us! See you Monday!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin Slick March 16, 2007 at 12:20 pm

Ooh, I’m first today.

Sue, I think you’ve summed up your writing style beautifully – I agree with what you say here 100%. You just neglected to add that you are brilliant at what you do in all genres so I will do it for you.

And yet another ultra-cool week here at Lit Park.



Jim March 16, 2007 at 1:46 pm

Belatedly, welcome back, Sue!

Nile Rogers has always been a near-god in my household, adored for having produced a landmark Duran Duran album in the mid-80’s. Rogers’ marvelous We Are Family Foundation only confirms the soul that nourishes his talent.


LaurenBaratz-Logsted March 16, 2007 at 2:47 pm

OK, I’ve alread mentioned I used to wash Nile’s windows, right?


Susan Henderson March 16, 2007 at 3:34 pm

Robin – You are the best. Thank you.

Jim – Yeah, he’s a good egg. And for anyone unfamiliar with his musical legacy, here’s Nile’s wiki page.

Lauren – Right, like I’m going to forget that.

If I owe anyone mail, I know, I know, I know. I’m not caught up on LOTS of things, and mail’s just the tip of the iceberg.


Carolyn Burns Bass March 16, 2007 at 4:09 pm

Carson McCullers is one of my favorite authors. Bravo, Susan. Now I really can’t wait to read your novel.

Among other influences from the year 1968, my WIP has an inter-racial theme. I’ll look forward to reading Nile’s interview.

Happy weekending!


Aurelio March 16, 2007 at 4:54 pm

Tommy Hilfiger got a body wax??? Isn’t that TMI?


Aurelio March 16, 2007 at 6:18 pm

One of my brothers once asked me, “So, who do you write like?”

I answered, “Me.”

“Then… you’ll never be any good then. You have to write like somebody good.”


All those people we “write like” wrote like themselves. The best thing about your writing, Susan, is how completely you it is.


LaurenBaratz-Logsted March 16, 2007 at 7:15 pm

Oh no, I’m starting to repeat myself!


Robin Slick March 16, 2007 at 7:25 pm

Lauren, I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning so if you’ve told us that story before, I sure as hell do not recall what you said.

So…details, please, or refer me to the link where you did tell us the circumstances.

Now I know I told you all about Nile coming up to my son at CBGBs last year and saying, “Man, what a great drummer you are” but I figured I’d repeat myself so that Lauren would feel better.

Nah, I did it so I could brag about my son again.



LaurenBaratz-Logsted March 16, 2007 at 11:51 pm

Robin, in the years I was trying to get published, one of my many part-time jobs was helping my husband in his window-washing service. Since most of the work was in Fairfield County, we had many famous clients, one of whom was Nile. He was a very kind man – with lots of windows! – and I remember fondly in particular one discussion we had during the Clinton-Lewinsky hearings.


Susan Henderson March 17, 2007 at 12:15 am

I meant to link this earlier – a fiesty, playful, all-around wonderful interview of Robin Slick by Nick Belardes over at Paperback:

Carolyn – I’m looking forward to reading your novel, too!

Aurelio – I like you.

Lauren – I sure would love to have heard the Lewinsky conversation!


LaurenBaratz-Logsted March 17, 2007 at 2:41 am

Well, I think one of us – not naming names! – said something to the effect, “Heh, if bj’s are wrong, no one in the music business be working anymore.” And then the other of us chuckled in collegial aggreement and went back to washing windows.


n.l. belardes March 17, 2007 at 12:44 pm

Susan: Thanks for the shout out on the blog interview. Wow, interesting conversation on here… Oh hey, chingpea of Noveltown will be in Philly and meet that infamous, Robin Slick. You should go meet chingpea too… get some photos together. Then I can have blackmail material.

And not one comment on my puffy cereal style?

You have no idea how hard I work to *try* and be funny.

By the way, I have a magazine in my hand.


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