Monday, August 28, 2017

"When summer's end is nighing..."

To quote AE Houseman. Indeed, it is. Already the end of August and it seems like I just blinked a few times!

Recently I remembered with great fondness the summers when my family rented a house on the beach. My mother liked Scarborough Beach, the crowded Coppertone-french-fry-smelling state beach of my youth. For two or three weeks every July we would set up camp in a house (avocado appliances, plaid sofa, big deck) across the street from the beach. After leisurely breakfasts, we'd wander to the beach where we would ride waves and read on a blanket under the sun. Returning home, my father would already have burgers and hot dogs and sausage on the grill, and after eating and working on a jigsaw puzzle or playing cards, we would plan for dinner.

I recreated these glorious beach days with my own kids for several summers in Westport, MA at Elephant Rock Beach. But too soon, financial obligations led me to working most of the summer, and those halcyon days were replaced with different kinds of summer adventures. Recounting those beach house summers to my wonderful husband, he said Let's try for that again. So perhaps next summer will find me on a beach somewhere, a book in my lap, a burger on the grill, a jigsaw puzzle half completed!

Our travels to Ireland and Italy made this summer extra special. Dingle has become one of my favorite places to be, and Michael and I fantasized about renting a house there some time. From Dingle to Naples where we were caught in the heat wave known as Lucifer. Thankfully the (beautiful) apartment we rented had icy AC, so we had a respite from the blistering heat. Much pizza and pasta was consumed, including my new favorite: pasta with potatoes, which I am going to try to recreate this week at home.

We spent a glorious two weeks at The Breadloaf Writers Conference, immersing ourselves in readings and lectures, gin and tonics and trip into Middlebury for long lunches, literary conversation and the joys of both old and new friends. Now back in NYC, where we are planning a renovation of the apartment--oh joy! can't wait to spruce it up so we can have people over for dinner and cocktail parties. Yesterday we had the great pleasure of seeing Sam's kids musical, Untitled Shape Show, in the morning and The Diana Tapes in the afternoon at the IRT (proud mom alert!!!) and hosting friends in the courtyard here for rose and cheese and crackers. By year's end we will be able to host inside!

Thank you for reading my new memoir, Morningstar: Growing Up With Books. I have lots of events coming up--they are posted on my website--and I hope to see you if I'm at a bookstore near you!

I am still knitting the airplane shawl, but only 1 1/2 skeins to go. I took a break from it to knit a cowl for Annabelle, and I'm looking forward to finishing both and getting started on hand warmers and socks.

Hopefully summer's end is leaving you with warm memories, of beaches or far flung adventures, of time with the people you love most.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Busy Book Tour

After three weeks away--one week teaching memoir at The Provincetown Fine Arts Center, one week teaching in Dingle, Ireland, and a week in Naples Italy doing research for my new novel and for a magazine article--I arrived home at 1 this morning tired and happy. even the four hour delay in Dublin for our flight back to Boston didn't damper my joy at this time traveling.

We went from the 58 degree Irish weather to the sweltering 96 and humid weather in Naples and I managed it all with just a carry on bag! Highlights were dinner at Global Village, readings at The Dingle Bookstore, old friends, new friends, rain, Guiness, Dick Mack's pub; the statue The Veiled Christ, the anatomical rooms, pasta with potatoes at Nenella's, ragu at Tandem, pizza everywhere but especially at 50 Kalo, an air conditioned apartment, new houses uncovered at Pompeii, the ferry to Procida, lunch on Cousin Chippy's roof, handmade umbrellas, the streets of nativities. Of course this list could go on and on, but let's just say it was magnificent from start to finish (except the 24 hour flu that knocked me down in Naples).

And now after teaching at Vermont College of Fine Arts this coming week and then BreadLoaf the following two weeks, I will start doing book events for MORNINGSTAR: GROWING UP WITH BOOKS.

Please come to see me at The Flannery O'Connor House in Savannah GA on September 1, The Decatur Book Festival on September 2 and 3 (with my husband!), The Provincetown Book Festival on September 15 and 16 (also with husband!), and The Miami Book Fair November 18 and 19 (husband there with me too!)

I'll also be at Newport Vineyards with Island Books in Newport RI, Block Island Library, Gibson's in NH, and lots of other fun places that are or will very soon be posted on my website. Please come and celebrate MORNINGSTAR: GROWING UP WITH BOOKS with me!


I can still remember the great fear, excitement, and anticipation that came when my very first book, SOMEWHERE OFF THE COAST OF MAINE, was published in May of 1987. And thirty years later I'm here to say that those feelings never fade. Each time I have a new book published I get the same giddy, terrified feeling I did back then. So it is with that giddy, terrified feeling that I tell you pub date for my new memoir, MORNINGSTAR: GROWING UP WITH BOOKS, is here!

The book tells the story of ten books I read as a teenager that helped shape me into the person I am today, that helped me learn to live and to achieve my dreams of being a writer and seeing the world. I could have included three times as many books, but I wanted to stay very focused and explore very particular lessons that books gave me.The books range from THE GRAPES OF WRATH to LOVE STORY, THE BELL JAR to JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN, and more.

As I wrote this book, I became even more aware of how coming of age in the 60s and early 70s shaped who I am. the music, the culture, the shifting rules of that era remain a deep part of who I am.

I'm so delighted and proud that IndieBound, Apple, and Penny's Picks have all chosen MORNINGSTAR: GROWING UP WITH BOOKS as August picks. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!