Thursday, July 30, 2009
Seeing Joyce Maynard Again
Last night I drove to Book Passage, a wonderful independent bookstore in Corte Madera to hear one of my former writing teachers, Joyce Maynard, read from her newest book, Labor Day, which just hit the bookstores. Since Book Passage is in the same neck of the woods where my brother works I met him for dinner at Izzy's before the reading. We don't get much time to talk—visits are usually family affairs, lively but chaotic. My brother is a musician, posing as a salesman by day. He is hugely talented (at both music AND sales), well read and has a wickedly twisted sense of humor that I just love. It was great to see him. Izzy's is a classy joint with wonderful food. My blackened snapper, scalloped potatoes and green beans were perfection. The mojito wasn't bad either.
Seeing Joyce again was fun. She was in a giddy mood and most of us in the audience were friends and acquaintances. She had a glass of red wine in her hand and laughed a lot as she recounted how this book was written in about ten days. It was inspired by a dream and she said it was such a joy to write as the characters quickly took on lives of their own and just flowed. She felt she was taking dictation. She referred to herself once as "Mrs. Self-Disclosure" which is pretty true. She often writes memoir and has gotten to a place where she's not afraid to show her life, warts and all. She is probably best known for the newspaper column she wrote for years called "Domestic Affairs." She caught a lot of flack for her memoir, At Home in the World, notably about her year long, live-in affair with J.D. Salinger when she was eighteen. It, too, is a fascinating read.
I purchased a copy of her new book and started reading it when I returned home. The characters are well-drawn and compelling. I'm enjoying it quite a lot. You might want to check it out.
After she signed my book a friend snapped this picture of us.