Category Archives: Susan’s Notes

Susan Shulman’s notes on writing


Letter #23 – Dad Saves the Day

Hi Nate:
“9.” Theodore said, “This is that last number, and then everyone’s snoring tonight.”
“Theodore, wait!” Dad said.
“Now what?” Theordore said. “Don’t you get it? I’m not interested in being your Snore, anymore.”
“But I may have something else you would be interested in.”
“And what could that possibly be?” Theodore said. Continue reading


Letter#11 – The Secret Lives of Snores

Hi Nate:

So as your Dad may have already told you, Theodore the Snore has tricked me into liking him so that he could sneak into my throat and view my dreams.
Theodore is no longer the Snore I adore.
I plan on giving him a stern talking to once we get him out. And I suppose your wondering how we’re going to get Theodore out?

“I have a plan!” Your Dad announced. “But you may not like it.”
“I think I’ll like it more than have some double crossing Snore in my throat.”
“So I found this book called ‘The Secret Lives of Snores.”
“Say what?”
“I found this book called . . .”
“Where on earth did you find such a book?”
“At Half Price Books.” Your Dad explained.
“Well, at least you were thrifty. But why were you even looking for that book?”
“I never trusted that Snore.” Dad explained. “And I just knew he was up to something, so I started doing some research and that is the leading book on dealing with Snores.”
“Ok, so what do we do?”
“So, Snores usually don’t leave their original host, which in this case is me. But every so often you get a special Snore, a sort of genetic mutation kind of a Snore.”
“This is beginning to sound like a bad science fiction movie, but go on.” I said.
“And those kinds of Snores tend to need a lot of stimulation. When they don’t get it from the dreams, they start looking for a new host. And when they start looking for a new host, they do everything, and I mean everything to make themselves appealing to their target host.”
And suddenly, a lot of things were starting to make sense. “So that’s why I thought Theodore was so cute.” I said.
“Exactly!” Dad said. “And why I thought he was hideous. He wanted to get as far away from me as possible.”
“And why he acted like my BFF. I can’t believe I fell for it. So what do we do?”
“We’ve got to get him to hate your dreams.”
“Well that’s not going to be easy. I have fabulous dreams.”
“I’m not saying to make them boring.”
“Then what are you saying?”
What is Dad saying? Find out tomorrow!
Love and kisses,


Sleepy, sleepy Mom

Hi Nate:

Oh my! I have been so sleepy over the last couple of days! I’m still looking for Theodore, but I think that must be wearing me out, because I just get so tired. And then I go take a nap. And I’ve been having the loveliest dreams. They are all musical comedies, and they all involve tap dancing, or some incredible drum solo, and one must have been some kind of farce because there was a lot of percussive door slamming.

I was about to call the police to see if there was any news on Theodore, but I think I’ll take another nap. I’ll write more tomorrow — if I’m awake.

Love and kisses,


P.S. This is Dad. Why is your mom so tired? Why does she keep having dreams with interesting rhythms going on? Here’s what happened after Mom took that nap she was telling you about.
Your Mom was resting peacefully on the bed. I decided it was time to end that.
“Susan.” I nudged her. “Susan, you need to wake up.”
“Susan, this is serious.”
Your Mom opened her eyes and looked at me. She seemed displeased. Sighing, she said, “This better be good, I was just having the most wonderful dream about . . . ”
“Let me guess,” I said, “It was a musical, but this time the tap number was interspersed with an African drum medley.”
“I . . . however did you figure that out?” Mom asked.
“Because your short percussive snores were combined with a long inhaling snort, followed by a rapid fire gurgle.”
Your mother said nothing. At first.
“Shut. Up. I do not snore.”
“You do now.”
“How could that be? You don’t just develop a snore overnight. How long have I been doing this?”
“Since about two days ago.”
“Well that’s odd,” Mom said. “That’s when Theodore disappeared . . . oh no.”
“Oh yes.”
“How could he do that me? We were supposed to be buddies. Do you think this was his plan all along? He got close to me so that when I was least expecting it, he could sneak into my throat and take over?”
“Honey, you dream in musicals. How could he resist?” I said. “But I have a new appreciation for what you go through every night.”
“What should we do?”
“I have a plan,” I told her. “But you may not like it.”
What is the plan? We’ll tell you more tomorrow!


Hey! My First Media Coverage!

Susan and NateAn article about my “While I Was Away at Camp . . . ” series appeared in he local Sun-Times!  Kinda fun to be in the paper.

“Highland Park mother Susan Shulman has found a novel way to keep her summer-camp letters intriguing for her two sons.

She puts on her fiction-writing hat and lets her imagination — and familiar household characters and objects — run wild. Each day’s installment brings a new twist to the tale that unfolds over the course of the camp stay.

Shulman stumbled on the camp-letter medium by accident when her eldest son Eli went away to camp for the first time six years ago.

“I sat down to write that first letter by email,” recalled Shulman. “‘Dear Eli, Hope your stay is going great. Hope you are making new friends.’

“It wasn’t all that interesting,” said Shulman, who wondered how she’d keep her updates from the homefront from becoming yawners.

Then she recalled her father’s letters when she went away to camp.

“They would start off newsy, and then he would talk about my dog, Smoocher,” said Shulman, noting he created an over-achieving dog who outperformed her in every way, while an imaginary sister who came to stay for the summer would get into a heap of trouble.”

 Continue reading . . .



Nate Responds to My Latest Camp Story

This summer I decided to write a story about how four of Nate’s stuffed animals (his ‘kids’) decided to form a rock band.  I’m calling it “Lambie on the Lam.”  Well, apparently I didn’t quite nail the characterizations and other traits of some of his stuffed animals.  Here’s his recent literary critique of my story:

There are some problems with Mom’s story. 1. I don’t have a kid named Moby.  If you mean B.W., then O.K. 2. Which Kitty because one of them is with Berry and the other is with Blacko. 3. Neither Kitties are a bore and they are both black belt drummers.  

You forgot the singing duo of Ruff Ruff and Buns Buns.

Another thing, they are trillionaires and every single kid lives in the mansion that takes up Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kansas. The great lakes are chlorinated pools and it’s one state called North Nate South.

I have changed certain plot elements as a result.