Wilbur Frank McNair ~ May 8, 1919 – October 11, 1974

dad and dog

My father died forty three years ago today. Do we ever stop missing those people we love and lose? In memory of him, I offer this paragraph from my essay “Finding my Father and the FBI,” recently published in my brand new book out from Side Street Press, And These Are the Good Times, and before that, Chicago Literati.

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It’s true that my dad was followed by the FBI. He was a card-carrying Communist who was a union rabble-rouser in the forties and fifties. To some, that meant he was a national threat: not true, not really. He was a bad father to his first batch of children, and—mostly—a better father to his second; this is true. The file, what I can remember of it since I can’t find it, pieced together bits of his life, mostly from years before I was born. Those bits don’t add up to the father I knew, the suburban dad with an organic garden who worked a day job in an office wearing a tie and who mowed his lawn while wearing shiny work pants and black socks and dress shoes on weekends. My dad didn’t abandon my family or steal 500 bucks from his boss or plan in secret meetings to overthrow the government with his Commie friends. My dad took the train to work. The Skokie Swift. He sometimes left the office early on summer days to go to a Cubs game. He wrote books with titles like How to Get a Higher Paying Job Now and New Careers for Teachers. He had nothing to hide, nothing the FBI needed to know.

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→I will be doing a brief reading as part of Essay Fiesta at the Book Cellar on Monday, October 16 at 7 PM, and a longer one with the poet David Trinidad at Women & Children First on Thursday, November 1 at 7 PM. Hope to see you. And as always, thanks for reading! ~ PMc←

 

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Good Times Today!!!

good times with philip

And These Are the Good Times, Patricia Ann McNair

From Booklist, 9/1/2017: “Short story writer McNair (The Temple of Air, 2011) proves to be an irresistible personal essayist of refreshing candor,  vibrant openheartedness, rueful humor, and unassuming wisdom. In the title piece, which opens this companionable, down-to-earth collection, young McNair joins her beloved father at Sullivan’s, his favorite Chicago tavern, bugging him for coins for the jukebox and dancing happily by herself. Enthralled by music, hubbub, and motion, McNair remains adventurous and omnivorously curious. Swinging backward and forward in time, she vividly chronicles such indelible experiences as spending her seventeenth summer as a volunteer at a dental clinic in Honduras, how she set about losing her virginity after her father died when she was 15, her bartender days, a fling in Cuba, and marriage. McNair frankly addresses sexuality and sexual abuse, the last two presidential elections, and the lives and deaths of loved ones. Throughout these vital, confiding, potent, and superbly well-crafted essays, McNair also muses on her path to becoming a writer and a writing teacher, generously sharing insights into the creative process and “the yearning toward wonder.”” – Donna Seaman 

Sunday, September 24, 2017: TODAY IS THE DAY! In just a few hours I will be celebrating the launch of my second book, And These Are the Good Timeswith friends and family and with the wonderful folks from Side Street Press, my publisher. In honor and anticipation of this life event, I am sharing the book’s review from Booklist, penned by the fabulous writer and editor Donna Seaman.

Please join us for the celebration today: 4:30 – 6:30, The Riverview Tavern, 1958 W. Roscoe, (Roscoe and Damen), Chicago, IL

I hope to see you all soon, and as always, thanks for reading! – PMc

 

 

 

Good Times Tomorrow!

interior-of-a-piggly-wiggly-grocery-store-1959-photo-u1
Photo:14thCenturyHood/imgur

I watched as my mother selected things we needed (bread, milk, cigarettes) and put them in the cart. I watched her consider things we didn’t need but would like (steaks, orange juice, cookies), and choose a few of those as well. She calculated, the prices slipping over her lips like a murmur. ~ From “Saturday Shopping”

And These Are the Good Times, Patricia Ann McNair

Tomorrow, Sunday, September 24, 2017, I will be celebrating the launch of my second book, And These Are the Good Timeswith friends and family and with the wonderful folks from Side Street Press, my publisher. In honor and anticipation of this life event, I am sharing the first few sentences of the essay “Saturday Shopping.” Why? Because it is Saturday, and I am going shopping.

I hope to see you all tomorrow, and as always, thanks for reading! – P

Good Times in Two Days

juke box

“I Go on Running” trailer

“And These Are the Good Times” trailer

And These Are the Good Times, Patricia Ann McNair

In just two days, I will be celebrating the launch of my second book, And These Are the Good Timeswith friends and family and with the wonderful folks from Side Street Press, my publisher. In honor and anticipation of this life event, I am sharing links to two trailers made from excerpts of two of the essays. Trailers by the fabulous Philip Hartigan. Please click through to the links!.

Thanks for reading–and watching! – PMc

Good Times in Three Days

book innards

I overheard a friend recently say that every woman is afraid every day…. “Your characters are so stupid,” the woman said…. Two weeks in Paris, Philip and I. 

And These Are the Good Times, Patricia Ann McNair

In just three days, I will be celebrating the launch of my second book, And These Are the Good Timeswith friends and family and with the wonderful folks from Side Street Press, my publisher. In honor and anticipation of this life event, I am sharing the first sentence of three essays that hold the third place in each of the three sections of the collection.

Thanks for reading! – PMc

Good Times in Four Days

kissy face

“unselfconsciously sexy” & “arrestingly good” & “superbly well-crafted essays” & “prose is luminous”

And These Are the Good Times, Patricia Ann McNair

In just four days, I will be celebrating the launch of my second book, And These Are the Good Timeswith friends and family and with the wonderful folks from Side Street Press, my publisher. In honor and anticipation of this life event, I am sharing four things reviewers have said about the collection. And by the way…today is the official book birthday!

Thanks for reading! – PMc

Good Times in Five Days

roger

I regret that when we were children on a plane flying with our family from Spain to Portugal, while he slept I took the postcard Roger had written to our grandparents from the seat pocket in front of him and erased what he had written. ~ From “Roger the Dodger”

And These Are the Good Times, Patricia Ann McNair

In just five days, I will be celebrating the launch of my second book, And These Are the Good Timeswith friends and family and with the wonderful folks from Side Street Press, my publisher. In honor and anticipation of this life event, I am sharing a little teaser: after opening the collection to five different, random pages, I came to the line above.

Thanks for reading! – PMc