Along with the daffodils and tulips popping up, Under Magnolia just stepped out in paper. The cover is simplified–just my eighteen-year-old face looking out at the world from a long time ago.
At the end of the book, I included an essay, “A Life on Paper.” I write about why anyone would want to attempt a memoir. Aren’t you risking bad scenes with the family at Thanksgiving? Aren’t you disturbing those who’ve passed on and are are beginning to cool off nicely? And what about the accuracy of memory? All answered! More or less. Also included, a list of memoirs I’ve found important as a reader and writer, and a section of questions for book club discussions.
Since I finished my memoir, I’ve found that I wish I’d written more about a few things. Isn’t that writing, though–you get to a point and you’re finished, and later more material rises to the surface. Here are notices about short pieces I’ve written since the memoir. “Frankye’s Recipes” is in the Spring 2015 issue of The Oxford American with its lovely peachy cover.
“Frankye’s Recipes” is one sentence, the longest one I’ve ever written. The links and clauses and dashes seemed, as I was writing, to keep me close to the process of memory itself. Writing this felt a little like drawing without lifting the pencil away from the paper.
Magnolias, of course, are symbolic for me but they are also ever-present. I have two old beauties in my garden. I wrote about their power for Garden & Gun, April / May issue.
The third short essay was published in South Writ Large, an online magazine which I recommend checking out. My “The Monumental Cakes of Frankye Davis Mayes” appears in their Summer 2014 food issue. It’s about the grand cakes my mother made, especially caramel and coconut, but also about how such anticipated appearances created for me an expectation of great things to come for my whole life! Here’s the link: http://southwritlarge.com/articles/the-monumental-cakes-of-frankye-davis-mayes/
I am traveling in April (see TOUR) and writing a lot online. I enjoyed writing “A Perfect Food Day” for tastebook.com The day begins with watermelon in North Carolina, moves to Italy for merenda and pranzo, and ends with drinking bitters late at night back in the South. Here’s the link: http://www.tastebook.com/blog/author-frances-mayes-on-her-perfect-food-day/
Now it is time to launch a new project. That most exciting moment, when you begin and everything is possible!
Thank you, as always, for reading See You in the Piazza! I imagine I will be seeing some of you just there during the coming travel season. The Euro is stunningly low and all of Italy awaits. Pack your bag with great things to read, some orange espadrilles, and big sunglasses. Keep those eyes open! Occhi tutti aperti!