Monday, January 23, 2006

Getaway

I'm all ready to head for New York. I've got a studio apartment on Bleecker Street for three days. They take pets but unfortunately for Shelly, I'm not up to taking one to New York. I bought a new suit, a new coat, new make-up and new socks. I have copies of Patrick O'Keefe's collection, The Hill Road, and Jim Harrison's collection, The Summer He Didn't Die, for them to sign. I have Derryl Murphy's collection, Wasps At The Speed of Sound to read on the flight. I hope, if I get a spare minute, to pick up a copy of Tom Bissell's God Lives In St. Petersburg to read on the way home. I have ear plugs for sleeping in New York City. CDs for lulling me through the morning routine. My office is still clean, my schedule is chock full of seeing people in New York (with more that I won't be able to see.)

I'm not taking my laptop. That alone will make it feel like a vacation.

10 Comments:

Blogger Dave said...

Good luck at the awards!

January 23, 2006 2:46 PM  
Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

I'll be rooting for you!

January 23, 2006 5:34 PM  
Blogger SquidgePa said...

Best of luck, Maureeen.

January 23, 2006 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Deborah Roggie said...

Good luck and enjoy New York!

January 24, 2006 9:25 AM  
Blogger Derryl Murphy said...

Go you! And if you win, make sure Feeley always shows up at these things; he may be a good luck charm.

D

January 26, 2006 12:30 AM  
Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

Well, Maureen didn't win. Or rather, she won $5000! As did Jim Harrison, with Patrick O'Keefe getting even more. She certainly behaved like a winner, however, and she was right to.

The ceremony was very well-attended, at Tishman auditorium at the New School. Maureen gave her reading first, the opening scenes of "Ancestor Money." There was a little chit-chat between the author and Larry Dark, which Maureen handled with great poise and aplomb. She was assured, funny, off-handedly articulate -- everything that good writers often aren't (and don't have to be), but come off well when they are. You could gather she had done so many TV appearances, it was by now second nature. The audience loved her.

Patrick O'Keefe was next, and he proved to be the epitome of the writer who is wholly at ease only when shaping sentences on paper. He was uncertainly dressed, ill at ease, halting in speech, and read his piece (a passage from near the end of one of his novellas) very stiffly and uncomfortably. One's heart went out to him: taking him out of his office was like pulling a fish from the water.

Jim Harrison is a writer I greatly admire: I have been reading him for nearly thirty years. He was the crusty old coot; unkempt in good clothing, with his hair sticking out every which way, and looking as though Time has been kicking him around for the last several years. He read a tiny bit from each novella in his volume -- an odd choice -- and offered some pleasant off-hand commentary. You got the impression he wasn't putting a lot of effort into this appearance.

It was a surprise when O'Keefe was announced the winner, but everyone applauded like mad. The Hill Road was his first book, its stories his first published fiction, and he had freely confessed that he did not know whether he would write any more fiction. He was very affected by the award, and gave a moved (but again, halting) speech.

"He needed the prize more than you did," I told Maureen afterward, who agreed. We had separately reached the same conclusion about the very favorable review of her book on NPR by Nancy Pearl (one of the judges) last week: that she had wanted it to win, and had not prevailed.

Harrison seemed a bit grumpy at the reception afterward, but Maureen was as happy as O'Keefe, and good for her!

January 26, 2006 2:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, heck. But also hurray!

Leslie ?

January 26, 2006 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I watched the live webcast with the dogs while eating Chinese takeout. I told them, "Mom's on the internet." Smith ran to check the front door and Shelly looked at me as if to say, "Are you going to finish that fried rice?"

January 27, 2006 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw Maureen last night at a terrific dinner gathering at Grand Szechuan on St Mark's Place, organized by her publisher Gavin Grant. She said she was having a great time in NYC, staying at her Bleecker Street apt in the village.

I only feel badly that I didn't have time to take her shopping--I know a great store she would have loved!

But Bob will thank the heavens that there wasn't time ;-)

Ellen

January 27, 2006 6:52 PM  
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