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. Wonderful! I am over the moon happy that I will have a new Margaret Roach book to read in less than a year. Will I be able to download it to my ereader (nook) do you think? Please tell your publisher for me that I want to read it digitally since publishers seem to be the arbiters of what is available for purchase via download… and…
    Go Margaret!

    1. Margaret says:

      I am just learning to use the site as it is now, and I happened in here to the “my new book” area and there you all were. Thank you.

      I promise to populate this section once I get my breath. We are actively editing now (even though every word was PERFECT just as I wrote it, of course) and as you all know there was the new website build to finish and and and and and and and … what ever happened to “downtime”? (As Molly advises, I need to go more s-l-o-w-l-y.)

      More to come, but meantime, I am really blown away at your kindnesses here. What an auspicious beginning!

  2. Molly says:


    I’m already looking forward to your book. Now, just 11 months to go! Your cover is lovely, like taking a deep breath and letting it out s-l-o-w-l-y.

  3. Laura says:

    Iʻm excited that you are writing a book; 11 months is a long time to wait though : )
    love reading your blog, it has definitely helped make winter a bit more bearable- Thanks!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I love the title! Can’t wait to read it. Hope to see your garden when the snow melts and all those little green things start popping up.

  5. Rick says:

    When can we pre-order it from Amazon? Wouldn’t it be great if the gardening community put you on the Times best seller list 5 months before it was released? Let us know when we can order it at Amazon. Looking forward to it.

    1. Margaret says:

      Thanks, Rick. Yes, you will be able to — later this year. Since I was doing my site redesign I wanted to get this section (for the book) set up, even though it was a few months early (before pre-order).

      I am giving your email to my publisher, saying you have volunteered to be in charge of the “bestseller campaign.” KIDDING, but thank you so much (all of you, Rick and others!) for the support. I just couldn’t wait to show you all the bits as they come together.

  6. Linda From NC says:

    Congratulations Margaret! I love the title. If that’s any indication of what’s inside, I know it’s going to be an amazing read.

    1. Margaret says:

      Nice to see you, Linda. The title derives from one of my favorite poems, W.B. Yeats’s “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” which I first read in college. And I shall have some peace there/for peace comes dropping slow… You can read the whole poem here.

  7. Steve Ambrose says:

    Bravo Ms Margaret!
    I too hope to “relocate” to my rural place in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains in the not too distant future!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Steve. I think we will start an international (or at least national) chapter of Dropouts Anonymous here. :)

  8. Amy says:

    The cover is beautiful!! Can’t wait — February will be perfect. We can all curl up and dream of gardens along with you…

  9. Debby says:

    I recommend dropping the “in” in your title. On first reading, one sees you bartering in the middle of the fast lane!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Steve; I don’t think we have officially “met” before. “Yay” is about how I feel, and also “impatient.” :) But these next few months, before ordering begins and all of that…I need to make a site that tells the tale of these last 2 years of walking away from “success” and what I read, listened to, did, whatever….to try to find the “next step.” I am pondering for now, but soon, I’ll figure out just what goes in a website that represents this book. Promise. Thanks for the good word.

  10. Margaret I just love the title… reminds me of many things dear to my heart. Looking forward to next February, but no rush after this long winter!

    Will send you my “Pippin” and “Sweet Pear” cookies if you like :)

  11. Heidi says:

    Can’t wait!! Looks like another winner and may I say I think we are all thrilled you “dropped out” and started this amazing journey( and let us share). Thank you Margaret, you are a gem.

  12. Ilene Sternberg says:

    I was just going to email you and ask why no one has reprinted your other book, which is out of print, according to Amazon.com, and hard to find, not to mention pricey if you can find it at all.

    1. Margaret says:

      Thank you all for all these well-wishes.

      @Ilene: I do hope to revise and republish “A Way to Garden” and it has really just been the economics of the book industry that have prevented it so far. I am waiting for the right moment. Maybe if this new book is a success that will be it!

      @Monika: Yes, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” a poem I have loved for more than 30 years since I first read it.

  13. Monika says:

    It is a beautiful poem, and a great title! Since I live in Hungary, I won’t be able to get hold of your book, but I love the idea behind it. I hope to be as brave as you one day.

    1. Margaret says:

      @Monika: The funniest thing is that (even though the book is not out yet) we are already selling rights to it in foreign countries, so it will be in fact published elsewhere, too. This last week we sold it in Russia (!!!) so maybe Hungary is coming up soon. And I will do some contests here on the blog and you might win one when the time comes…so don’t be so sure you will not get one. :)

      By the way, my very best friend from childhood was Hungarian, and her big family welcomed me for so many great holidays and meals over the years, so your comment makes me think of them (and all those Christmas cookies and pots of chicken paprikash) with a big, tender smile. Thanks for saying hello.

  14. monika says:

    Well, hello again. I’m glad that you have fond memories when you here the word Hungary.

    Great!!! You’ve made me hopeful. In the last few years the book market has opened up a great deal here, there are a lot more books to chose from. I’hope, a Hungarian publisher will like the theme of your book as much as I do. Although I prefer the original versions to the translated ones so I’ll be looking out for those contests.

    By the way, this week I bought my very first lemon tree. It doesn’t do well in our climate, so it is sitting on our balcony. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  15. Carol Bass says:

    I am new to your site via Slow Love Life. I will be a regular for sure and in great anticipation of your new book. Meanwhile, I’ll be catching up by reading all your other great stuff here and your related sites. I anticipate that I will live vicariously through it all.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Carol. So nice of you to come say hello. I have been lurking around Slow Love Life, too, to see what Dominique has brewing for us all with her new book. Thanks for your nice words, and see you soon again.

  16. Kitty says:

    YAY !

    Awesome news Margaret ~ I have been a fan of your writing for many a moon. Your timing, as usual, couldn’t be better !


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