Susan Wuorinen
 

About Susan Wuorinen

My Life in Maine

Captain King

I live on a remnant of an old Maine farm, built by a ship's carpenter and later lived in by his daughter and her sea captain husband. It is anchored in the rich history of this tiny Maine coastal community. Captain Nathan Dupris King still visits, late at night, and tips all the pictures downstairs toward the sea.

Farmhouse in early spring

The 170-year-old farmhouse barely survived. We found it just in time and have spent the last ten years restoring the house, barn and the two ponds. It is a continuous, never-ending labor of love. The narrow front end of the house faces the bay looking towards Cadillac Mountain, and she has the feel of a well trimmed ship with her bow ready to slice into the waves.

Sod labyrinth

Five years ago my husband and I built a 50-foot sod labyrinth. We began it as the summer solstice sun rose and finished it as it set; he the engineer and me the artist, the linear and the circular, the male and female, somehow we managed to bring it to fruition. It is a wild and hidden place, growing more so each year as trees and bushes grow in the spaces between the paths.

Farmhouse mid-winter

I’ve lived a quarter of a century in Maine, a huge part of my adult life, and I’ve settled into the seasonal rhythms of cold, snowy winters with wood stoves, snow shoveling, reading and writing. The long slow spring, impatiently waiting for the soil to warm up and dry out enough to plant our large vegetable garden.

Fresh from the garden

After the "bear life" of winter, I spend as much time outside as work allows, sharing myself with the black flies and mosquitoes. In exchange I enjoy the cool summers, fantastic flowers and the brilliant night skies I remember from my childhood. I can see every star plus the Milky Way. In fall the quiet returns and I build campfires on the hill and watch the grapes ripen and "put up" what the generous garden has made for us.

Handmade puppet "Ratch"

From my studio window I look up hill into the forest, with its deer, fox, raccoon, red and gray squirrels, the occasional bear and fisher and 30 or so resident mallards. When I am not writing or illustrating, I make handmade books (see Isabella on the books page), and solve the mysteries of digital photography. I make puppets when I need someone to talk to or someone needs a special friend, but they have temporarily taken a back seat to the writing and illustrating.

 

Career

I attended Columbus School of Art and Design, Goddard College, and The New School. My primary early focus was art as therapy. I spun and wove and had my own yarn design business Shepherdess Designs. I raised five children and spent 10 years working for Elisabeth Kubler-Ross as a facilitator in her Death and Dying Workshops. It was the most rewarding work I'd ever done and I traveled to places on this planet and experienced cultures I never dreamed I would see. I retired from a private therapy practice and moved to Lamoine and have returned to my first love, writing and illustrating books for children and adults.

Cover of play

I co-wrote a play “Cully’s Gold” with Carol Korty. Based on Carol’s Great grandmother, it tells the story of a 16-year-old girl, growing up in Lamoine, Maine in the 1870s. We shared it with the local sixth grade class and helped Ms. Carol Duffy teach a unit on local history. This led to a community presentation of the play using an intergenerational cast of town actors. The play was chosen first place in the New England Theatre Conference, received a cash award and went on to be presented at the Bonderman Theatre Conference in Indianapolis. It was accepted and published by Dramatic Publishers (2010) and is available through them.

I am a member of the Lamoine Historical Society. This small costal town is rich in early history, and we spent the last many winters retrieving historical artifacts and papers from basements and attics and organizing them into a formal archive. The old books, documents, maps and photographs inspired me to research our house and combine the results with my reawakened interest in photography and produce the book "Captains, Carpenters and Kings: King/Huckins Family of Lamoine Maine." Self-published, Summer 2008.

I belong to two writing groups which support and encourage my continuing growth as an author. I cannot imagine working without them.

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