Oh my gosh! Well, I’m just about as crazy-pleased as I can be that at last, as of August 1st, THE MAGIC OF FOUND OBJECTS is out in the world for everybody to see! (And not just in Amazon First Reads anymore!)
The Magic of Found Objects is a Bestseller in multiple categories!
It turns out that I’ve mostly been spending my time lately writing a new novel, kayaking, drinking wine, and trying VERY HARD not to scratch my millions of mosquito bites, so I hadn’t been watching out for my sweet little newly hatched book. Imagine my surprise this week when I looked up and discovered that THE MAGIC OF FOUND OBJECTS was just bubbling along on its merry way in the world, introducing itself to people, making friends, shaking hands—and that already over 2,000 people had reviewed it AND turned it into a bestseller.
So…wow. I want to thank everyone who has read it and told friends about it, and even taken the time to write a review. Word of mouth means everything! I wish I could show up at each of your houses and bring you blueberry muffins. That’s how happy I am. However, there are a lot of you, so it would take a long time…AND also I’m covered in calamine motion. (See: mosquito bites, above.) You probably wouldn’t want to see me. I look scary, like somebody who’s bathed in Pepto Bismol.
The Actual Reason The Magic of Found Objects is So Close to My Heart
This book has meant so much to me for a couple of reasons. One is, of course, that part of the love story takes place at Woodstock. (I’ve always been fascinated by Woodstock!) In the book, it was at Woodstock where Phronsie’s parents met in a kind of serendipitous, tumultuous way. Her mother was a hippie artist who was looking for magic and a way to sell jewelry, and her father was a down-to-earth farmer’s son from New Hampshire, who had left his longtime girlfriend at home and had come to the festival just to check out the music.
What they found was mud, marijuana, and a half-million other people who all knew the same rock music. And each other. Touched by the life-changing spirit of the place, they fell suddenly in love—and nine months later, Phronsie and her twin brother, Hendrix, came crashing into the world.
This brings me to the second reason that this story has meant so much to me. Most of what I write isn’t autobiographical, but like Phronsie and Hendrix, I was born to two people who met by accident, and married quickly. I think the record would show that they probably should have taken just a teensy little bit more time to know each other before they decided to tie the knot. (Although perhaps they would have decided not to stay together, and then where would I be? Possibly not anywhere at all. So there’s that.)
My mother was a 20-year-old worldly sorceress with platinum blonde hair and a killer sense of humor, and she met my dad when he came looking for a room at the boardinghouse where she was staying. He was 22, gawky, innocent, and had just been hired for an engineering job hundreds of miles away from his home and his longtime girlfriend.
And BAM!! There was my mother, with her pink, polished toenails and a television set. (He had never seen either one of those things up close, and I think he got so bedazzled by that combo that he completely forget that he was already in love with somebody else.)
And so my parents got married, because that was what you did back then when bedazzlement had struck you.
Eleven months later, I showed up to seal the deal.
It didn’t last. Oh, they tried to stick it out. Went thirteen years trying to make it work, as a matter of fact. But in the end, true love won out—and fifteen years after he had broken up with his back-home girlfriend, Helen, he divorced my mom and married Helen, and they were very happy in the “until death do us part” way.
I ended up being raised and influenced by these two very strong, very different women: my wacky, magic-loving, flamboyant mom, whom I lived with most of the time—and my stepmother, who was stable, practical, generous, and who said I was always meant to be HER daughter. I adored both of them in such different ways—and the truth is I always wished there had been a way to set aside the past and bring the two of them together. They could have had a rollicking good time, I think, once both of them had mellowed into old age.
That’s the story I wanted to tell when I sat down to write THE MAGIC OF FOUND OBJECTS, how other people shape your view of love and life without your quite noticing their voices showing up in your brain. How people will tell you that you need to know exactly which kind of person you are, and which camp you fall into, but maybe you don’t have to decide. Maybe you can embrace all the myriad sides of yourself…the crazy and the serene, the madcap and the settled. You can be all things at the same time.
(See? This is the gift of fiction; you get to make things turn out the way you would have preferred.)
And here’s a secret: when I started the book, I didn’t know which camp Phronsie would fall into. Would she choose to marry her long-time best friend who knew everything about her, who promised a life of children and faithfulness and community and companionship, her stepmother’s choice—or should she hold out for a distant possibility, waiting to see if magic was going to step in and disrupt everything she thought she knew, the way her mother thought she should?
I honestly didn’t know.
Luckily, Phronsie knew, and she wrote the last part of the book, guiding me along the way, telling me scenes I’d never envisioned.
Thank you again, all of you who have written to me, who have sent me notes and cards. Thank you to the man who said he was going to try again at love after reading this book. And to the woman who called it a “Maddie miracle.” And to all the people who said they could relate to Phronsie and Hendrix. It’s so much fun to hear from you! I treasure all your letters—and I ANSWER THEM!
Enjoy the rest of the summer. Don’t scratch your mosquito bites. Eat a lot of whatever makes you happy. Laugh when you can. Eat blueberries. Make muffins. I’ll be back soon.