This Tuesday, April 10th, 7PM, at KGB Bar here in New York, I’ll be reading with my good friend Maud Newton. Maud is one of my very favorite people ever. We met on Facebook, over a shared love of Jean Rhys that turned into this exchange over at Granta, and since then, we’ve shared our struggles on writing, work and life, as well as some fine food and drink, and notable Karaoke (Her rendition of “9 to 5” is a revelation).
In preparation for this reading Maud and I shared drafts, a process that lead to us both uncovering what we were actually writing about. As Maud put it over on her blog, “Both of our essays are about family mysteries, conversations across generations”. The essay I’ll be reading from is something I’ve been working on for years off and on—it began as a garden diary of the sort every gardener is supposed to keep, back when I was growing roses in Brooklyn, and pretty soon I knew it was more than that, but only recently have I been able to finish it. Maud will read from an essay about a mystery in the life of her maternal grandfather that she decided to investigate that I, quite honestly, think is thrilling–and it is, in part, a testament to the power of research in writing about family, something not enough people do. Which is to say, you think you know about your family, but have you ever really checked out their story?
What I love about Maud as an essayist is that no matter the topic, whether it is personal or intellectual, she pursues it all with a trenchant honesty and self-regard, alongside scrupulous research, and a good portion of wit. If you don’t know Maud’s work, start with her self-titled blog, where she writes about her writing projects, books she is thinking about and her family’s histories. There’s a terrific interview with her here at Brad Listi’s Other People podcast series (note her beautiful voice). She is at work on a novel, also, which is almost done. And if you perhaps somehow don’t know her Twitter feed, well, you’re missing out. So, don’t—follow her here. And then, if you’re in NYC this Tuesday, come find us.