Sunday, May 19, 2013

Gail Godwin, author of the extraordinary Flora, talks about TOURING!

Gail Godwin is a genius, and also one of the warmest, loveliest women on the planet. I was so lucky to be invited to a lunch with her and I, of course, wanted her to be on my blog. She is the author of 13 novels, 2 story collections and non-fiction works. Three of her novels, The Odd Woman, Violet Clay, and A Mother and Tow Daughters, were National Book Award finalists, and five of them (A Mother and Twp Daughters, The Finishing School, A Southern Family, Father Melancholy's Daughter, and Evensong) were New York Times bestsellers. She's the recipient of two National Endowment Grants, one for fiction and one for libretto writing. Flora, her new novel, about remorse, loss, and a child and her caretaker, is a stunner. I'm thrilled to have this piece from Gail, on the business of touring.

Caroline: since you and I are both on tour, which is a surreal mode of living, so alien to what we writers do when alone, I'll tell you what is foremost in my mind this morning.

In  room 417 at the Washington Hotel, after a good room service breakfast. Yesterday I actually did something I considered worthwhile: a forty-minute talk with Bob Edwards on Sirius Radio. We laughed, I read passages from Flora that he had chosen, unexpected choices that were so right that I have decided to use them in my reading tonight at Politics and Prose.

I am very tired, but going on adrenalin and the desire to be a Trooper.  You have your wonderful Old Gringo red boots as your magic costume, I have my 24 year old silver Armani jacket and scarf.  So we swagger, or sashay, on stage. After the reading at Politics and Prose, Jim and Kate Lehrer are giving me a party at their house.

  But what is keen in my mind this morning is this: How can I use this time--so alien to the kind of time that we need to produce our novels--to serve me when I get back home? And as I was eating my lovely breakfast, it occurred to me that I needed to invent a kind of emergency writing code which would allow me to trap the talk, sights, essences, of these hectic tour days--an emergency shorthand that can encode the essences in that little notebook you saw.

The other thing--call it my magnificent obsession--is this. We writers are a freemasonry and we need to connect and uphold one another in every imaginative way we can think of! And you, Caroline, with your Leavittville blog, were among the first of us to perceive the possibilities.

So: that is this morning, on tour for my fourteenth novel, eighteenth book, in Washington, D.C., looking out my window at the Treasury Building just a month away from my 76th birthday.

Keep those red boots moving, Caroline, and I'll slither nobly through the rest of my tour in my silver threads.

Gail Godwin

1 comment:

Nancy/Caroline said...

Love this. And "Flora.'' Wish your tours were near me!
Nancy Pate/Caroline Cousins