by Erica G. German
Poemcrazy and Foolsgold are two of her many published works. I am speaking of Susan Wooldridge. Her Poemcrazy is in its twenty-third publishing and is used in writing programs across the country. It is probably her best known published work. Then, there is Foolsgold, which presents an inspiring and friendly approach to how to discover the words you need to say.
Having had the privilege to converse with Wooldridge, I am proud to introduce her to you. She has been involved with the business of words for some time. Inspired by her middle school English teacher, she began journaling at the age of fourteen. She shared with me, “It was within the life of my journal that I began to realize I would be a writer.” After growing up in Chicago, attending college in New York City, and living for years in Urbana Illinois, she has made her current home in the small town of Chico, California. She says she is inspired there “…because of the wonderful creeks and wildness nearby.”
And, just like a walk along a creek, on a perfect spring day, I found her to be a breath of fresh air. She devotes herself to her fellow human beings, bearing her soul in hopes that others will find the courage to express their own thoughts on paper—she even provides scratch paper at her workshops to prevent anyone from feeling too intimidated to write. She told me, “I make writing [as] fun and playful as possible.” She teaches at public and private writing workshops and has also travelled to approximately seventy rural libraries throughout California, holding writing workshops for persons as young as four and five and as old as eighty years of age, some even older. She suggests that we are most inhibited by our peers; this is why she likes to work in mixed-age groups the best. Her techniques work for everyone at the same time because, she believes, “our soul has no age.” Wooldridge will tell you that her workshops focus on “creative-expressive language.” In her own words, she coaxes writers to “fly out in every direction and then pull themselves back in.”
Have you become interested in meeting her, maybe sitting in her tutelage for a few precious moments? I know I have. She will be presenting her techniques at the upcoming Wordfire writing conference. To find out more about the conference and how you can register to be a part of this spectacular event, visit http://buttewordfire.org/. Isn’t it time to “loosen up,” get out of your left brain for a blip in time? Do it! You won’t regret it!
You are also invited to hear Susan Wooldridge present some of her poems this Thursday, April 19, 2012, from 6:30-8:00pm in the student lounge at the Butte College Chico Center. Laughing aloud, Wooldridge hinted that she might even be bringing a harmonica to enhance the entertainment value, but emphasized that she will “play it badly.”
For a full list of published books she has written, you can check out her website at http://www.susanwooldridge.com/