CHARLOTTE SUTTEE, 18
Charlotte Suttee, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, learned in her high school film class that the core of effectively expressing any idea, and getting people to care about that idea, is telling a story. No film can be redeemed by colors, actors, or music—the story is what matters, and this lesson translates to stories in many forms. Suttee makes films and writes poems, plays, scripts, short stories, essays, as well as articles for the school newspaper, of which she is the Editor in Chief.
Suttee has won prizes at the local Tulsa City-County Library writing contest every year. Her fictional animation, Swinging on a Star, was screened at the Austin Film Festival, Twister Alley Film Festival, and the Dead Center Film Festival, and others. She is currently creating a video series, The Persistence of Memory, that focus on the voices of a few elderly Tulsans because their voices are valuable, just like everyone else’s.
Though Suttee is active in the arts, her heart, body, and mind are fueled by time in nature. During the summer of her junior year, she worked for the National Forest Service in conservation tasks like dismantling old pipelines, monitoring grazing fields, and learning about forest fires. Sutee’s work is devoted to securing environmental health, propelling the notion that everyone’s voice should be heard (starting by fighting ageism and sexism), and fighting apathy. Doing all of this calls for work that sparks a personal connection; this calls for work that begins with a story.
Suttee plans on attending college and knows the the relentless itch that draws her to people from different backgrounds, to extreme natural worlds, and to the innovative ideas new places and people present, will persist. She spends her free time reading, writing, crafting, biking, hiking, rock climbing, filmmaking, practicing yoga, and trying new things.
by Charlotte Suttee
The church felt like an outgrown t-shirt. It makes Dad happy that I went, but it’s more of a slant happiness because he knows I’d rather be reading Atwood's short stories out on the patio. After church, I set up a Christmas tree at grandpa Cecil’s house to add some cheer. Gammy would have wanted me to put the angel on top, but I sold the decorations in a garage sale and haven’t forgiven myself for it. Sunday always feels so long.
Oh, how it flows! I read Hamlet. Hamlet was tired of beseeching Guildenstern, the tweedle dum of the story. The velvety aftertaste of Shakespeare stuck with me all day, I’m telling you. I felt quite articulate and well-read strolling to my Environmental Science class. Haughty haughty ho!
Like every Tuesday lunch, my friend Abhinita and I sat quietly, just kinda quietly expelling our existential troubles to each other. I’m worried that talking isn’t really doing for her what it does for me though. She’s not the existentially depressed Caulfield I used to so closely identify with—she’s deeply religious, her faith is Hinduism. I don’t think I’m developing much of an understanding reading the Eastern religion book...
Jonny was like, “Did you get any vag this weekend?” And Jake was like, “I slid into her high-waisted jeans!” All the while I was thinking, “Why are they having this conversation in front of me?” I must’ve asked this aloud because I remember James saying “because you’re one of the guys.” I… guess I’ve always been one of the guys, not at all attractive. Hold on, Charlotte, no. You’re just so upstanding that they don’t have the power to objectify you. You’re respectable enough so that they listen when you talk. Heck, they’re too awestruck to not like you.
Oh god, oh god, oh GOD I’ll never find love! It looked like I snorted a strawberry milkshake! Patchy pink goosebumps broiling below my nostrils, inflamed by December air. I shouldn’t have waxed my mustache this morning! And it STINGS. Two people have already asked me what happened. Then something really happened—I spotted my crush in the hallway and my legs were like, “Let’s walk toward him and say hi,” while the rest of my body persisted to the water fountain. Wabam! My lip boils are locking eyes with his sneakers. Agh!
The best thing was when Olivia found me and we hit the streets. There was only one ice cream shop open until one in the morning, so we walked a few miles and sat on the dainty wrought iron chairs under a fairy-lit tree and laughed and ate away our recent heart-breaks (mine being the lip-rash incident). Friends really are the family you choose.