ISS student, writer published in “Chicken Soup”

Published 4:01 pm Thursday, November 13, 2008

When Emily Cutler found herself bored in science class at Indian Springs School one day, she wrote a story about her pen pal to pass the time.

Back then, Cutler never imagined “Meeting Julia” would appear in the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series. When contacted this past summer, Cutler was thrilled to learn her story would be published.

“I decided I didn’t want to tell my parents. I wanted it to be a surprise,” said Cutler, 14, of Hoover. “We just had a family celebration.”

“Meeting Julia” appears in “Chicken Soup’s” Teens Talk Middle School edition, which was released nationwide on Nov. 4. The three-page story chronicles Cutler’s relationship with her pen pal and best friend, Julia, who lives in Ohio.

Both young ladies are budding writers and horseback riders, and met through an online pen pal club.

“Julia and I talked about everything,” Cutler wrote. “I told her about novels I was writing, and she told me about her various publications. We told each other about horses we rode and good books we read.”

After three years of writing each other, Cutler and Julia met for the first time during Cutler’s Bat Mitzvah celebration. Julia spent three days in Alabama with the Cutler family.

“We talked a lot, laughed a lot, and after meeting, we went horseback riding together,” Cutler wrote. “It was one of the best days of my life.”

Since their face-to-face meeting, the two remain in touch.

“We leave each other Facebook messages everyday,” Cutler said. “And hopefully I can go visit her over winter break.”

Cutler, who’s been writing for as long as she can remember, is now working on a 50,000-word novel titled “Pleasure Principle” as part of National Novel Writing Month.

The story follows a young lady who is a victim of unrequited love. Cutler said “Pleasure Principle” is inspired by one of her favorite books — Tracy Chevalier’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring.”

Cutler’s other favorite books include “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee and “Looking for Alaska” by ISS alumni John Green.

Though Cutler doesn’t foresee a career in writing, she will continue to pursue her lifelong passion.

“I’d like to do it on the side of a more consistent job,” she said.