Tuesday, July 21, 2009


If it's Tuesday, this must be a Piper day. That's the way my life has been the last month or so. I was rewriting the fifth Piper when The Dowser's Son galley arrived. Turn around time: 1 week. So with the Piper manuscript tucked away, I turned my attention to The Dowser's Son. This was an important step--the last time I could make changes.

After sending the galley to Christy, I focused on the acknowledgements for the book. There are always so many people to thank. Then I took the weekend off and yesterday switched my gears back to Piper.

Lately I've felt like an obit columnist, but it seems the older I get, the more people I know or admire or dear to loved ones die. Last week my friend Lois "Sug" Grant lost her young son-in-law to complications caused from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. He left behind a young wife, daughter and step-daughter.

And Sunday, the Pulitzer Prize winning writer, Frank McCourt left this world. I listened to Angela's Ashes on audio while I was on a book tour for one of my first books. McCourt's soothing voice kept me company as I drove the Louisiana highways and back roads. Somewhere between Winnfield and Monroe I became so caught up in the story that I got lost. Months later I picked up the book and got lost again.

Soon after, I had the pleasure of meeting McCourt during the authors breakfast at the 1998 Texas Book Festival. He was lovely and gracious. I was giddy and starstruck. I wish I'd been more sophisticated and calm. I'm certain I scared the man. But he was unaware of the time we'd spent together on lonely Louisiana back roads. So many times, I've thought of how I would act differently, but this week, I've left those regrets behind. I'm just happy I had the chance to meet him in person. In Angela's Ashes Frank McCourt wrote about his poor Irish childhood. It occured years ago on the other side of the world, but McCourt's moving memoir made this reader wonder about the plight of hunger today in my backyard.

If you haven't read any of his books, please head down to your local bookstore or library. Until then, here's an interview with Frank McCourt on the topic of writing about poverty.

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  1. Lucky you to have met Frank McCourt! Wow. I love his books; he started me on a whole Irish writers kick soon after Angela's Ashes came out.

  2. Jama, he was such a nice man. Talented without ego.

    I remember Charlie Rose interviewing him and he said that he learned he could write anywhere--airplanes, restaurants, etc.