We're compiling a list of questions about To Have Not for book groups, designed to spark enjoyable and insightful discussions, and maybe a few arguments. The questions target the book's themes (exclusion, infinity, and helicopters, for example), and its provocative pronouncements (such as, "Kill your dreams, I say. Kill them before they kill you."). Good questions, all. But then there are the questions you really want to ask. I once belonged to a book group in the sleepy town of Kennebunk, Maine, whose sole purpose was to bring a bunch of girlfriends together to drink wine and talk about sex. We had a lot of fun, but the book was incidental. With that easily-distracted group in mind, I pose this list of 5 more pointed questions:
1. Why is the author so hung up on what she doesn't have? Sheesh, she's got food, shelter, and surfboards. What right does she have to complain?
2. She describes meeting with Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, and Paul McCartney. Why all the name-dropping?
3. How could she go public with this book while her parents are still alive? Does she have no shame?
4. Why does she move so much? I think I counted almost 40 houses and apartments in California and up and down the Eastern seaboard. It's not like she's in the military or anything.
5. Speaking of sex, and settling down: shouldn't she be married by now? What's her problem?
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Yesterday I stopped into the offices of my publisher, MacAdam/Cage, to get my first glimpse and grasp of the memoir I have been writing for, oh, ten or maybe forty years. She's pink and fat and smiley, like a baby, and it will take some getting used to to refer to her as "my book" rather than "my so-called book," which is what I've been calling her in-utero incarnation. To be honest (and as a memoirist, what do I have if not honesty?), I had some fears of post-partum depression when I got the call from Mac/Cage to come in to see and hold the book. What if she had typos? What would I do with my life now that I no longer had to carry her unformed self around with me, worrying about chapter titles and commas and running themes? Would I be able to adjust my portion size after eating for two? So I postponed my visit--twice--and took five whole days to work myself up to it. Fear of success? Fear of failure? Fear of losing the project that has served as my constant companion for so long? All this and more, but...no more. She's lovely, I'm proud, and I hope you get a chance to meet her soon.