Friday, June 12, 2015

Mother's Pearls

A real staircase writing post. If I had known of this exchange, I would have been delighted to tuck it into The Memory Of All That. (Picture is my grandmother, Kay Swift, not wearing pearls.) The writer David Margolick sent me this little find in the S.N. Behrman papers at the New York Public Library.

Letter from Kay Swift to SNB, MAY 21, 1972:
     Dear Berry,
     Thank you for that keen edge of delight I felt while reading the first two instalments [sic] of ‘People In A Diary,’ in the New Yorker. I can hardly wait for more.
     At the risk of sounding fancy-schmancy, I’m compelled to tell you something I’ve told only Emily Paley – and that just now on the telephone. After reading the piece and noting your extraordinary use of words, and thinking about the fact that nobody else quite possesses this faculty, I went and found my mother’s real pearls in a hiding-place, and put them on. I’m wearing them right now, (in bed, after a fairly trying day) and there is some connection or other between these beautiful pearls and your writing.
 Three days later, SNB to Kay Swift:

   Thank you for your enchanting note...I have never driven a girl to wear pearls before, and thank you for initiating me into this revolutionary activity.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Still Revising (With Monkey)

Yet another revision in progress........responding to superb notes from wise editors.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Revising! Still Life With Monkey

One of my favorite moments in the process of writing a novel is where I am right now, pumping more air into the tires, responding to utterly brilliant and insightful notes and questions from my literary agent, Amy Williams. I aim to finish before the end of the month.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


The finished manuscript goes to my literary agent today, with a new title that better captures the sensibility of the novel: Still Life with Monkey

I like the multiple layers of possible meaning here. While I have thought about my work in progress for some three years as The Monkey Helper, it really isn't quite right. And this way, the inevitable, "Is that like Hamburger Helper?" is averted. Though I do have someone ask exactly that in the novel.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Steering toward the finish line!

My Monkey Helper manuscript is now in final stages of revising and filling inside straights, for delivery to my agent next week.