Dearest and Closest,
Meet Margaret Roach:
I first heard about Margaret Roach and her new book, And I Shall Have Some Peace There, from my agent and friend, Kate Lee. Kate said, “Hey there’s this writer I met who I really think you’d get along with.” Now Kate has an uncanny sense of…well, everything, and is often right. So I often follow her lead. Introductions were made, books exchanged. Then, suddenly Margaret was everywhere I was: she was in People as I got my hair cut; she was reading at Gibson’s in New Hampshire –where I will soon read; she was coming to the Maine Festival of the Book, where I will also presenting….the list goes on.
When I saw that her book was about a woman (Margaret) who had left her job as the Editorial Director of Martha, Inc (as in Martha Stewart) to, in a sense, go back-to–the-land and move into her weekend home in upstate New York, I didn’t yet realize that her life would share so many themes—albeit from a totally different angle—that I share in my book, Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home. What struck me especially was how she, too, needed to find home—and it didn’t necessarily come easily.
Margaret, too, spent years chasing one kind of dream only to find that the simplest existence was where she belonged: at her home in a thicket of trees, her gardens surrounding her. When she was finally ensconced in her new life, she began a very popular gardening blog, that garnered the love of both real and virtual gardeners. It was called awaytogarden.com.
Her book, And I Shall Have Some Peace There, is such a lovely mediation on being a woman in the natural world that surrounds us—birds, frogs, bushes and flowers— and, also, it’s the story of someone who took a brave leap out into something that she had no idea if she could handle—she just knew she had to get out of the life she already had. I love it when she says such bracingly honest things about her corporate self as, “I could blow through five thousand dollars in fifteen or twenty minutes, a sort of fuck-you-pay-me reaction to whatever exercise in frustration the day had served up.”
Chock full of poems and lovely, relatable anecdotes, And I Shall Have Some Peace There is a satisfying read. I especially enjoyed her story of the cat, Jack, who appears in her life and is not necessarily welcome at first. However he soon becomes her solid companion and, more than that, Jack is a living, breathing example of how Margaret has changed her life.
Here are a few of the many lines I loved—and also related to:
--“All lives involve hard decisions and compromise.”
--“I know only one thing for certain about gardening now, thirty years in:
Things will die.”
--“I am mounting my own slow-food movement, a one woman, one-mouth-to-feed effort.”
“…I am a cat person. I learned this just the other day, when I grabbed Jack off the kitchen floor and was spontaneously taken with laughter, clutching him to me. ‘I can’t believe how much I love you,’ I blurted right out loud, before the thinking mind had a chance to stifle that declaration.”
So, here’s the thing, folks, if you’ll write in YOUR STORIES BELOW IN THE COMMENT SECTION of how you found home—and of what home means to you, from your musings I’ll choose two people with compelling stories to send And I Shall Have Some Peace There to—free—a gift from Margaret and me to you.
YOU’LL DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES TO WIN, if you click HERE on Margaret’s blog (where she is giving away MY book).
SO, AGAIN HERE'S HOW TO WIN MARGARET'S, AND MY, BOOKS:
I HAVE 2 COPIES of Margaret's "And I Shall Have Some Peace There” that I bought to give away; Margaret bought two copies of my “Made for You and Me” to share on her site. Simply comment below, answering the question:
How have you found home—and what does home means to you?
Then go do the same thing over at Margaret’s, HERE. We’ll each draw two winners after entries close on Sunday, March 27, at midnight. Remember: You double your chances by commenting on both blogs, even if you simply cut and paste your same comment to both spots.
Now you know me: I understand some of you are shy and just want to say, “Count me in,” or “I want to win” in the comments. That’s fine—but it’s even better if you talk a little about the notion of home. Good luck in the drawing!
LINKS, IN CASE YOU WANT TO JUST BUY RIGHT NOW!:
PS: IF FOR SOME REASON YOUR COMMENT DOESN'T GET THROUGH, PLEASE DON NOT WORRY. MARGARET AND I WILL READ ALL THE ENTRIES TOGETHER AND CONSIDER EACH ONE THOROUGHLY.