A Day in the Life ~ One Writer’s Tuesday, Funk and All

Every once in a while a day comes up when you feel like you might really be doing this author thing right. I had a day like this a couple of weeks ago when I had the opportunity to read in London at an event sponsored by the incredible Daunt Books at The Stag in Hampstead. I shared the stage (not really a stage but a comfy sofa next to a fireplace upstairs in a lovely British pub) with Adam Marek, D. W. Wilson, and K. J. Orr, three short story writers who are taking the UK by storm and reinvigorating the country’s interest in the short story. The event was one of the highlights of my book tour (as it is, working it in around my day job) and I can’t tell you how gratifying it was to read to such an engaged, thoughtful, and curious audience–each who actually paid 5 pounds to be there, and in many cases sit on the floor! I made many great long-distance friends in that way you can now with social media, and I will never forget the evening.

Today is shaping up to be another of these great days in the life of a writer, I think. Tonight I get to read at Tuesday Funk, a very fine Chicago reading series at the remarkable Hopleaf in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. I get to read with a number of very interesting writers, among them, Jody Lynn Nye, a woman I went to high school with and was in plays with (I was in the secretarial-pool chorus and she was a sexy, hip-swinging secretary in How to Succeed in Business…)

And this morning, I will be on 848, Chicago’s news and events program on its local NPR affiliate WBEZ. Recently I was interviewed by the show’s smart and funny Alison Cuddy, and we had a nice chat about The Temple of Air. I had heard about other radio interviews for other shows that writers have done, ones in which authors felt as though the interviewer had never really read their books, and in some cases, didn’t even get their names right. This interview, with Alison Cuddy, I am glad to tell you, was nothing like that. A more thoughtful reader I can’t imagine having. Her questions and thoughts about the book were insightful and reassuring, the sort of thing that makes me glad to have written the book so that someone like Alison might read it.

So that’s the way the day is shaping up. Oh, and work. That. In between interview and reading, I get to go to school and spend time reading student stories. Not a day, really. Not a bad life, when you think about it.

Thanks for reading! PMc←

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Alison Cuddy




Immense and Startling Power ~ Raymond Carver’s View From the Keyboard

“It’s possible, in a poem or short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language, and to endow those things—a chair, a window curtain, a fork, a stone, a woman’s earring—with immense, even startling power.” – Raymond Carver

Back from England, where I spent an evening reading and talking about short stories with K. J. Orr, D. W. Wilson, and Adam Marek for a Daunt Books event at The Stag in Hampstead. And today, back at work in Chicago where meetings loom in the next few hours, I find myself thinking about writing, about story, about the wonderful story writers I have come to know. And about Raymond Carver.

Thanks for reading. – PMc←

Reading at The Stag, Hampstead, London ~ Thanks to Daunt Books

Philip Hartigan, my trusty photographer, uploaded this album of pictures from my reading at The Stag, a literary pub in Hampstead, north London, on Wednesday evening. Great event, great hosts (yay! Daunt Books Hampstead!), great fellow writers, great audience. Click on the picture below to open the album.

Patricia Ann McNair, The Stag, London, 11/9/11