my dropout memoir, due february 2011

AFTER I LEFT MY FANCY ‘MARTHA’ JOB on the last day of 2007, I mostly sat at the old Swedish farm table (below), staring out the window, month after month—or at least that’s how I remember it. Somehow by the summer of 2008 I had a book proposal; by that fall a book contract; and a year later a manuscript.

“And I Shall Have Some Peace There” is the longest piece of writing I’d ever attempted (nearly 80,000 words, about twice the length of “A Way to Garden”), and also the most personal. It’s a book about dropping out, at midlife and in peak career; about trying not to be afraid about lost prestige or about money–or about snakes and electric storms and a collapsing economy and whatever else rattles my cage.

It is a story about starting to realize a dream I’d had for more than 20 years but always been to afraid to try for–to live in my rural garden fulltime, and return to the personal creativity that got lost in my executive years in publishing. It’s a book about letting nature be the guide, finally, and listening to its signals; about looking for (and finding) some peace.

The title derives from a poem by William Butler Years that I have been re-reading for many decades.

As publication date approaches, there will be more to say here, but for now just that little bit as a means of introduction.

Categoriesmy memoir
  1. Meredith says:

    That is a lovely title,which makes me want to read your book.The peace is something that I dream of,working in a NY restaurant kitchen all week,and looking forward to my time in the garden on my days off ,where I feel most glorious.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Meredith. We can thank William Butler Yeats for the title. It’s a line from “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” a poem I have loved for about 35 years. And you are correct: “most glorious” is the desired effect (even though I rarely bother with proper grown-up clothing and makeup and the like any longer. :)

      @Diana: Pre-sale will be in the fall, but actual pub date is February 2011.

  2. Kathy says:

    Congratulations! I discovered your blog last summer and have been delighted to savor every word of yours. I checked A Way to Garden out of my library and both my husband and I love it. Your new book has a lovely title from a beautiful poem. Let us know when pre-sales begin! Happy gardening.

  3. Margaux Drake says:

    I serendipitously discovered your blog this evening looking for images of ligularia or astilboides of all things. I know, call me late to the party;) You’ve been at this for a few years, sorry for the delay. It seems as though you have lived and already written about what I am getting ready to embark upon…simplifying my life. Coming home and staying home. I’m very interested in reading your new book. It is comforting to know there are others out there who have the same mindset. It will be nice to continue to keep up with your blog and I will patiently (I’m a gardener too and have learned a bit of patience although it is not my strong suit) for your book next winter. Thank you for the inspiration.–Margaux Drake

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Margaux. Big-leaved plants are always a good place to start. :) So glad to have you here with us, and hear of your plans to come home and stay there. I have many things to figure out (ah, life!) but I have never regretted my decision for even an hour so far. See you soon again, yes?

  4. Margaret- I am so excited for your book! We recently moved out of NYC and my first move was to buy an herb pot and geranium for our new deck. We can’t wait to get our lawn up and running so I can really start a garden. I’ll be looking to you as my resource. So exciting!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Kelsey — and thank you. Good for you for taking the first steps; love hearing about the adventure. See you soon again, I hope.

  5. Darleen Lau says:

    Hello Margaret,
    I am seeking your good advice for a project to remove a section of Scotch Broom trees growing on the creek side on our property and replace them with low-maintenance plants for erosion control. We plan to remove the Scotch Broom with a pullerbear tool. Holes will be left in the ground after the removal, so what plants can be used to fill up those holes for erosion control.
    Thanks for your suggestions.
    Darleen Lau

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Lorna; I don’t think we’ve “met” in the blog comments before. Thanks for the encouragement. I know you are a woman who knows the meaning of the expression “pressure cooker,” tee hee, and so I have left it behind but seem to have created my own new mini one of projects galore. :) See you soon.

  6. Carole Clarin says:

    Looking at the simplicity of the cover and the poetic beauty of the title, I so look forward to opening your book and exploring it’s contents!

  7. Margaux Drake says:

    Margaret, I “just” saw your reply to me from earlier this year regarding your book (see above). It never came to my email…hmmmm. (maybe into my spam folder?) Anyway, winter is almost here and SO IS YOUR BOOK! Very exciting!!! Not too much longer to wait:) My transition is occurring slowly, and it feels right (thankfully). I started my blog: HeavenOnEarthHome.Blogspot.com earlier this year check it out when you have a moment. It would be an honor. I took the summer off to be with my kids (first time since they were infants) and it was an amazing experience! I’m ramping back up this fall with a goal to blog nearly every day. This coming week I’ll be blogging about a fundraiser I did for my gardening nonprofit, The Giving Gardens. Your old business partner donated plant material from her garden in Bedford (Martha) among other celebs (Richard Gere, US Botanic Garden, Gov. Granholm & more). Wish I knew you replied to me I could have swung by your garden for a few cuttings:) Hope you had a great summer!!!

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