In 1987, two aspiring writers meet in a university writing program and become best friends. Sue is outgoing and confident in her craft; Jill is introverted and unsure of her talent. Completely opposite, they nevertheless have so much in common that they complement one another like dual halves of the same soul. Determined to keep in touch despite the long distances that will soon separate them, they quickly find that physical proximity is the least of their deterrents.

 

These letters are wholly emblematic of what women's lives are like, of how the unequal burden of responsibility buries creativity as they struggle to revive it amidst daily obligation and more kindnesses to others than they ever allow themselves. This correspondence is demonstrative not only of women's friendships, but of how women must overachieve to achieve, constantly juggling their work, family, and art, often challenged by affronts to their feminism and hostility to their goals.

 

Note from editor Susan Newark: When I recently reviewed these long-buried letters, I was stunned by their universality and poignancy. They don't belong to us; they belong to women everywhere.

 

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Poems in the Attic: Witchery & the Art of Jill

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