In 1988, as a 25-year scholar at the Bread Loaf writers’ conference, I spotted one of the faculty, a pretty young novelist walking arm in arm with two other pretty young novelists (in fact, Jennifer Egan and Helen Schulman). But it was the one in the middle I called out to for reasons I don’t recall. She turned around. I introduced myself. She said hello and asked, “What do you want to do?” I said, “I want to write fiction.” She looked at me as if I were being silly and said, “You will.” She turned and walked away.
I wouldn’t see her again for twenty years.
I went on to write non-fiction and books about food and chefs. And then in the fall of 2015, I did indeed publish my first fiction.
Such great and unexpected changes in midlife don’t come without substantial costs and heartache. But this is life. I don’t know who said it, but they’re right: it’s not for sissies. Indeed, each of the three novellas is about love in middle age, marriages under stress, and the enduring nature of young love within that middle-aged love.
So this week, I embark on a new journey I never expected nor sought, and I want for that new journey to include more fiction, in addition to cookbooks and writing about food, the newest of which arrives next month! GROCERY: THE BUYING AND SELLING OF FOOD IN AMERICA. (My publisher, Abrams, will be cross with me if I don’t direct you to the pre-order page, which describes the book and offers you a cool canvas tote with the title of the book on it, without irony!)
Wish me luck my faithful readers and lovers of food and cooking!