Please Sir, May I Have Some More?

My grandfather and grandmother, Mack and Irene Kantor, on their back patio, 1957



For months now I’ve been desperate to finish the first draft of my “investigative memoir,” The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived, a book taking advantage of thousands of documents concerning my grandfather’s life that have been sitting in the Library of Congress for half a century. It never occurred to me to look at any of them, until now. It’s been an amazing, perspective-altering experience — I only thought I knew my grandfather well, it turns out. And like all books, it’s been a physical, emotional and mental energy suck — this one for a stretch of 18 months. I’ve been sweating, gasping, groaning under the weight of it, each morning bellying up to my laptop to push and shove the boulder uphill, only to find it waiting for me at the bottom the morning after. Last week, I finally pushed it over the top. I wrote the last word of the first draft and sent it off to Sarah Hochman, my wonderful editor at Blue Rider Press. I felt elated for 24 hours, and then …. bored. I miss structuring my weeks around that awesome/awful challenge. Striding into battle day after day gave shape to my life, and made the moments after knocking off for the day the sweetest kind of release.

Have to find another project soonest.

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