I have never done this before ? "blogged." A friend said that you write what's on your mind. That sounds like going to a therapist, a bit more fun, I'll add. Today is Monday, April 23. My third novel, L'America
, is just out in paperback and I think the book looks beautiful. I finished work on it in the fall of 2005 so it feels very far away from me, yet seeing it in a new form recharges the thrill.
Tomorrow I head for Boston to give a reading at The Harvard Book Store with my father, the nonfiction writer John McPhee. He also has a book out in paperback, Uncommon Carriers. We have read together once before and it was a success and a lot of fun. We're giving three readings: 192 Books in NYC and Politics & Prose in DC. I'll write about how Boston goes Wednesday.
What I'm looking forward to most, actually, is the train ride to Boston, alone, no kids, no responsibilities. I'm reading student stories (I teach creative writing at Hofstra University) and then back to Sentimental Education given to me by a very smart student because I said I hadn't read it and he wanted me to have. I love my students! The other wonderful thing about the publication of the paperback edition is that you don't have to worry about reviews. They are already out there, processed, dismissed, rather ? absorbed. Funny how it goes with reviews ? you can get 100 good ones but it is the bad ones you remember. My father once said that to me. He said, "Even the good ones. They always have to shit on you somewhere." Since I'm onto his insights I'll include that he also always said, when I was growing up, "Never be a writer. The average annual income of the writer is $800 dollars a year." Of his four daughters, two are novelists. Clearly, if you want to make your child into a writer, tell her not to be one.
Since I've mentioned my sister the novelist...her name is Jenny McPhee and she has a novel forthcoming in September ? A Man Of No Moon. In 2002 we went on tour together to California and had a fabulous time ? eating, shopping, gossiping about our other sisters. In San Francisco one day, after a wonderful reading the night before, feeling hopeful and rich though we both didn't have much money, we went shopping and fell in love with the most beautiful coats. I actually fell in love with two coats. Torn between which to buy, Jenny looked at me with dare and mischief and said, "Let's buy everything we want today." There's no way I will get my father to do that in Boston, alas ? he's a proud Scot.