Hello, everyone, and welcome to our installment, “Acts of Reading and Writing: Faculty Profiles.” This week we feature Danielle Susi, instructor and MFA candidate at the School of the Art Institute. Lewis student Zana Dixon interviewed Ms. Susi. The mini-interview, that the Jet Fuel Review editors are also partaking in for the “Meet the Editors” series, is located after the profile.
Getting lost in a book allows you to escape reality, however, getting lost while reading a book is terrifying; for Danielle Susi this is beyond true. Reading on Chicago’s train, formally known as the “L,” or while on the CTA bus, has become a normal routine for Susi; it allows her to literally move as she is moving through the story. One day while riding the CTA bus, Susi began to read a book. “It was night time and I had a long day at work,” she recalled. She became so distracted reading the book that she lost track of the time. When she finally happened to look up, she noticed she was in an unfamiliar neighborhood. As she hurried off the bus into the cold darkness of the night she fortunately found her direction and began the long ten block walk home. This was not the first time she has gotten lost, and probably will not be the last. “Pay attention while reading on the bus or train,” she advises. Getting lost while reading, however, has not diminished her love for reading.
Danielle Susi’s love for reading and writing stemmed from her childhood. From an early age, reading has been a part of Susi’s life. As a young girl her house was filled with children’s books that her mother would read to her. “I remember the book Is Your Mama a Llama? being read to me over and over again,” Susi recalls. She knows that book had a great influence on her love for llamas but later realized that reading at an early age contributed to her love for reading; or, as she says, “I recall my mother reading to me as a child; she deemed it very important. My favorite book was Go Dogs Go. Reading as a child has also influenced my love for writing.”
Choosing a book to read is not at all difficult for Susi; however, “I am not drawn to genre writing” she declares. Reading a book should be able to take you from your reality and put you in a place that goes beyond one’s imagination. While reading a book, questions should be posed that cause you to look for answers; and when the answers are not found it allows you to look within yourself for the answers.
In college, choosing classes can be easy, especially when you are set on a major. Danielle Susi knew she wanted to major in Political Science. However, she did not know that a simple creative writing class would cause her to double major in writing. At Quinnipiac University during her freshmen year, Susi enrolled in a creative writing class hoping to just fill a requirement. As the year went on, her love for writing began; her writing career started at the age of nineteen. Throughout her college experience her writing profile began to grow: “I personally write poetry and fiction stories.” Susi then declared an independent major in writing. This is often a difficult process because it requires students to make their own curriculum and paradigm for classes; however, since Susi loved writing it wasn’t a chore.