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SUSAN HARLAN

WRITER/ENGLISH PROFESSOR

WINSTON-SALEM, NC

SUSAN HARLAN

OBJECTS. PLACES. MEMORIES. FUNNY THINGS.

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Syllabus

I change the classroom. Highlight the number of the section, delete it, replace it with the new section. Change the time of day. Change my office hours. Then: the schedule. Fifteen weeks. Does the year start on a Tuesday? No, Monday. But I’m on a Wednesday/Friday, so Wednesday is the beginning.
The Brooklyn Quarterly Link to Story
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Things That Happen in an Eclipse

My next-door neighbor is out front, too, on his porch, talking to some other neighbors who have walked over, but I can’t hear what they’re saying. He is an old man. I sit up and call over to him, ask him if he has seen it yet. I’m not going out in that heat, he says, holding his white paper glasses.
The Brooklyn Quarterly Link to Story
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Snowstorm List

On the first night, I watch the snow in the street lamp, the manhole covers uncovered like dark moons, warm. I switch out the afghan on the couch because it’s covered with my dog’s hair, which bothers me all of a sudden. I turn on lights and turn them off. Do dishes. Write a thank you card. I pick up books and put them down and pick up other books.
The Brooklyn Quarterly Link to Story
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Wallet and Purse List

Plastic keychain discount cards for PetSmart, Lowes Foods, Petco, CVS, Rite Aid, and Harris Teeter. Portable shopping bag with pouch from Monoprix, floral print. Ticket from a Wake Forest University soccer game on November 29, 2009. Magnet from Roadside America in Shartlesville, PA, with price tag on back ($3.25)
The Brooklyn Quarterly Link to Story
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Road Trip List

Paris, Texas (stayed the night at the Baymont Inn and Suites) Santa Muerte candles, including one of Texas saint Don Pedrito and several for the LOTTO. Jar of old matchbooks, including Big Boy, First National Bank of Duncanville, and L.R. Ward Steel Products Co. Rusted key from a Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge (3500 Rangeline Rd., Joplin, Missouri)
The Brooklyn Quarterly Link to Story
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Household Lists

Things caught in the enormous cobweb in the tree in my backyard. Abandoned pots on one side of my house that require flowers or shrubs. Insects and bugs in resin (definitely some beetles, maybe a scorpion?) Buy picture frames (three 5 x7 and two 4 x 6, white and dark wood) Plastic adhesive door sign that reads OFFICE and depicts men holding briefcases.
The Brooklyn Quarterly Link to Story
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10 Lesser-Known Shakespeare Plays

Shakespeare’s cultural position is pretty secure. He doesn’t need to be rescued from obscurity. Yet certain plays tend to dominate bookshelves, stages, and classrooms, leaving many others largely unread and unperformed. It’s an undeniable pleasure to read—and re-read—major works, and King Lear, Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth are called Shakespeare’s “major tragedies” just to remind us of their major-ness.
Mental Floss Link to Story
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A List of Some People In My Phone

A friend of a friend who came through town years ago (slept on my couch). Someone I went to high school with and never really knew then. Someone I went to high school with and knew very well but will likely never talk to again. A cab company in Montauk (called with a friend after lobsters and much wine).
The Brooklyn Quarterly Link to Story
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The 1 Line, 4:23-4:51 p.m., July 17, 2015

Someone is eating nacho cheese sunflower seeds, the orange powder falling from his fingers. Someone is scratching a Lotto ticket, the silver dust falling from her fingers. Someone is looking for something in her purse that she does not find. Someone is leaning on the door, under the Do not lean on door sign.
The Brooklyn Quarterly Link to Story
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Things I Leave In My Car

The car is rather messy and is owned by someone who likes to take long drives. Four tapes of T.S. Eliot reading his poetry that I purchased in college. Maps of at National and State Parks, including Joshua Tree and Pisgah National Forest. My dashboard hula girl named Daphne who keep falling off the dashboard (so now she lives in glove compartment)
Wandering Educators Link to Story
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Inventory of Objects for Summer Relocation to New York City

Over several days, I made a mental list of things I wanted to pack, and I wrote the really important things down. Then I started to pack my car. I was moving from my house to a small dorm room in New York for three months. The room had a desk, a dresser, a bed, a bookshelf, and an armchair. Five tote bags of books, including Whitman, de Beauvoir, Homer, Dinesen, Melville, and old travel guide to Paris.
Wandering Educators Link to Story

About

SUSAN HARLAN

Susan Harlan is a writer based in Winston-Salem, NC, who is particularly interested in the relationship between place, memory, and objects. Her essays have appeared in publications including The Guardian US, The Paris Review Daily, Guernica, Roads & Kingdoms, The Morning News, The Awl, Curbed, Racked, Atlas Obscura, The Common, The Toast, Nowhere, Literary Hub, The Bitter Southerner, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Brooklyn Quarterly, Avidly, and Public Books. She also writes about feminist issues for venues such as Jezebel, Literary Mothers, The Feminist Wire, DAME, Skirt!, The Hairpin, The Establishment, Queen Mob's Tea House, The Belladonna, The South Carolina Review, and The Manifest-Station. She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from New York University and an M.A. in English Renaissance theater history from King’s College London and teaches English at Wake Forest University. Her book Luggage was published in the Bloomsbury series Object Lessons in March 2018. Her book Decorating a Room of One's Own, a humorous mash-up of home design reportage and literary homes based on her column for The Toast, will be published by Abrams in October 2018.

She is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Literary Management.

Photo credit Sarah Torretta Klock.

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www.susan-harlan.com

Skills

  • Teaching
  • Writing