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Susan Bergholz Literary Services
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First Letter


San Antonio, Texas


I know most of you would like to know a little about how I write and what inspired me to write the books you have read. I want you all to know I am busy working on several projects, including a book on how I teach writing, autobiographical essays that might answer all your questions and maybe a few you didn't even ask.

This book is titled Writing in My Pajamas, and I don't know when I will finish it, but I do know I am a very slow writer, and I don't write at all on the days I wear shoes and comb my hair. In other words, I am a writer when I stay home, don't see anyone, don't talk too much (which for me is very hard), and am quiet enough to hear the things inside my heart.

In the meantime, I want to answer the two questions I'm always asked:

1. Is this story true?

2. Are you the main character in the story?

Well, to answer question one, I'd have to say — Yes! And, no! Or, as we say in Mexico, sí pero no — Yes, but no.

I mean that I write what I see, what's told to me that I feel very deeply, or what happened to me that I can't forget, but also what happened to others I love, or what strangers have told me happened to them, or what I read happened to others. I take all of this and cut and paste it together to make a story, because in real life a story doesn't have shape, and it's the writer who gives it a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Of course, I cannot borrow anyone else's story unless I have lived a similar emotion. That is why I say all the emotions in my work, good and bad, are autobiographical. Does that make sense? For how could I write about a broken heart if my own heart hadn't been parted in two like an apple?

Now, to answer question two... Well, I've answered question two already! Some parts are me, but not all. Does this make my story a lie? I don't know, but I do know this: A good story doesn't care. What matters is that the story cast its magic, that it silence you into listening, and move you to laugh, and even better, to cry and then laugh, and a long time later, to haunt you. Long after you have closed the book, it's what haunts and stays with you that matters, for then the story will have done its work. Ask yourself after reading a story, did I have fun? If you said yes, then I will be happy.

Thank you for searching for me and supporting my work. And may you always read with pleasure, because reading isn't any fun otherwise.