Meet writer Joyce Maynard

November 29, 1998
Elisabeth Sherwin --

Today, a writerís job isnít over when his or her book is finished. Now readers expect to meet their favorite authors at their local bookstore.

And Davis bookstores like The Avid Reader and Capital Crimes & Coffee have done a great job bringing in authors for readings and book-signings. So has The Next Chapter in Woodland.

Now Bogeyís Books in downtown Davis is offering two events in the month of December: Joyce Maynard will appear there on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. and three bioregional writers will be there on Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

First, Joyce Maynard, who recently moved from New Hampshire to Mill Valley. Her most recent book is a memoir "At Home in the World" (Picador, 1998, $25) but newspaper readers may remember her from a column she wrote for several years that was carried locally.

Her career started dramatically with a 1972 cover story in the New York Times Magazine when she was 18.

Her photograph captured the attention of reclusive author J.D. Salinger. They began writing to each other and in time she dropped out of Yale and moved to New Hampshire where she lived with him for nine months. He tired of her, a woman 35 years his junior, and broke off their relationship.

For these many years she maintained silence about that affair in the belief that she owed him something. She decided to go public when her own daughter turned 18. It wasnít until that point that she was able to recognize her own vulnerabilities at the same age. She then realized that she didnít owe Salinger much of anything.

It seems to have taken Maynard a very long time to recognize the relationship for what it was Ėemotionally abusive. When she figured that out, she was free to write about it.

Maynard says she has been severely criticized for failing to protect Salingerís privacy. Itís hard to believe that anyone today still thinks that abuse in any form should be kept a secret. Itís just too bad Maynard didnít get help much earlier for the pain of being a famous writerís lover.

Still, one pleasant scene that she wrote about comes to mind. I picture Salinger and the young Joyce dancing in his living room on a Saturday night to the TV music of the Lawrence Welk Show.

I ask myself: what if the New York Times Magazine had accepted an essay Iíd written? What if my photograph at age 18 had appeared on the cover? What if Jerry Salinger had written to me? Answer: I would have moved to New Hampshire in a heartbeat.

And I would have moved out again nearly as fast. Salinger may be a great writer, but he sure has some weird ideas about food. Rare lamb burgers and peas seemed to dominate a strict, dull menu. No eggs, milk, pancakes, chicken, sugar, pasta, potatoes, coffee, toast or mayonnaise? I suppose he would have frowned on chocolate cake, ice cream, marijuana, tobacco and alcohol too. Sorry. Iím as impressed with a famous name as the next person, but I have to eat.

Iím told that Maynard gives a great performance when she gives a reading. Iím sure sheíd also like to talk about her life before and after the Salinger episode. So be sure to drop by Bogeyís to meet her on Dec. 2.

Five days later, three less well known but eminently talented writers will give readings that focus on the local bioregion.

They are: poet Norm Schaefer, UC Davis English Professor David Robertson and recent UCD graduate Amy Boyer. A portion of the proceeds from the evening's book sales will go to Putah Creek Council, according to Bogey's owner Mark Nemmers.

Robertson is currently writing a small book on Putah Creek titled "A Narrow Way to Nearby," about a journey from the mouth of Putah Creek in Yolo Bypass to its headwaters on Cobb Mountain. Along the way he divides the creek into 11 sections, such as "Campus Reach" and the "Glory Hole," and for each section there are two or so pages of prose and a photograph.

Schaefer, who was raised in the Pacific Northwest, is a UCD graduate who works in Davis as a manual laborer. He is an avid hiker and mountain climber who has written two books of poems, "Ten Thousand Crows," and "Yoloy." These two chapbooks, on sale at Bogey's, were written after years of walking the Lower Putah Creek watershed.

Boyer, who recently earned her master's degree in creative writing at UCD, is working on a novel set in the Putah-Cache watershed. She was raised on Virginia's Eastern Shore, earned a bachelor's degree in math at Oberlin College, and taught English in Japan for two years. She now lives in the West Plainfield flood plain. She will read an essay about mushroom hunting on the shores of Lake Berryessa.

Join these three writers in celebrating Putah Creek. For more information, phone Nemmers at 757-6127.

To inquire about ordering any of the above mentioned books from an independent bookstore,
Bogey's Books [ Click Here ]

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