writing samples by...

Susan Dixon

I have taught writing in classrooms for decades, mentored beginning writers, and supported stalled writers in finishing their project. I write both non-fiction and fiction and participate in three writing groups. I am always on the lookout for new writers who just need to know they have a story and that their story is worth telling.


“Haint” is an Appalachian world for a spirit, a ghost, a haunt. My mother saw one once. This is about when I heard one.

Read More »

A Novel Writer’s Dilemma

Trying to understand the 12th century from the vantage point of the 21st is like trying to imagine the life of one of those organisms in the depth of the ocean. We can’t do it. Too much has been lost.

Read More »

WIP : Glimpse of the main character

This image is the closest I could come to what I have in my imagination. I am not certain Zelie had colored pencils. In any case, I have never seen any. She will acquire other supplies as the story goes on but at least this image suggests a young girl. And a question to keep in mind throughout the story: is she the main character?

Read More »

Work In Progress

Once upon a time …. I found a story.

I was working on a project (my doctoral dissertation) where I had to show that what I said was True. I had to have Documentation. And Footnotes.

But I couldn’t prove that my story was true, I just knew that it was, or at least that it could have happened in that way.

Read More »

Poem for the Season

Each day, the autumn, eating a little further
into the bone. …

Poem Kerry Hardie. Image by Dede Hatch

Read More »

Hearing a War Story

At the end of The Audiobook, I invited listeners to “take the time to listen,” partly because Mark (co-author of Seeking Quan Am) had said, “If one talks too much about the good times, people perceive a candidate for the VFW. The one that pours out all the horrors is seen as a basket case. Try to balance it out and tell the truth, people haven’t time to listen.”

Read More »

The Audiobook

Years ago I used a device to help me teach about good writing, although the device in question might be insulted by the term. He was a coyote who I referred to simply as Coyote. In the storytime in which Coyote existed, I had met him in the produce department in Wegmans.

Read More »

The Old Veterans

I wanted to get us to Friendship Village, the rehabilitation center on the outskirts of Hanoi, founded by an American veteran and once again Hai had to be persistent and not give up on the mission.

Read More »

Rare Encounter

It is March 1969 in a place west of Saigon that the men called the Tobacco Field. They also called it Ambush Valley. Civilians were rare here, so when this group of farmers walked nearby, Captain Meager (hands on hips in middle photo) went to talk to them. Mark (who took the picture) said Capt. Meager asked them if there were Viet Cong nearby and they said, no, they didn’t know about any Viet Cong.

Read More »

The Panera Stranger

This was an introduction to Seeking Quan Am that I kept for a long time before going in a different direction.

Mark Smith and I were sitting with a friend in a coffee shop in Ithaca, N.Y. waiting for a mechanic to repair my car. The three of us had been to Vietnam together and we were enjoying a reunion visit. Mark wore a cap with “Vietnam Veteran” embroidered above the bill. We sipped our coffee and nibbled pastry, talking. Suddenly, a stranger appeared at our table, thrust his hand at Mark, and boomed, “Thank you for your service!” Mark, who was holding his coffee cup in his right hand, used his left to simultaneously take the man’s hand and wave him away. The man said something else in a hearty voice and left.

Read More »