Joyce Carol Oates is ridiculously prolific. I can’t even go into it here, hence I send you to the great Wikipedia. I want to get a copy of her new book, High Lonesome: Stories 1966-2006. I’ve been meaning to read more of her work, and this looks like the perfect thing–four decades of work plus some new pieces.
My husband read me a paragraph about Danielle Steel from the Weekend section of the Wall Street Journal yesterday. Her 67th novel, Coming Out, is in stores next week. 67th! The secret? She writes 20 hours a day when working on a first draft. “I end up with swollen hands and bruised fingers from typing for that long.” Hearing this alone was enough for me to fall on the floor and fake death. And then my husband says, “58-year old mother of nine,” which was almost enough to prompt real cardiac arrest. Nine? We burst out laughing. We laughed at ourselves, at the enormity of it, in the numbers of books and children. Whether you would read Steel is beside the point–she is a successful and appreciated writer, and a mother of nine. She has sold over more than 550 million books, according to the Wall Street Journal, according to her publisher. Some people must just need less sleep, and have better coping mechanisms. We only have one child, and that’s tough enough. I’ve gotten a decent amount of writing done over the past two weeks, but I’ve been slacking elsewhere. My house looks like a tornado came through, I have mountains of filing piling up, and Friday I went out and came home to realize my shoes didn’t match. They were both black flip-flops, but still, one was Old Navy and one was Mossimo. And the only reason I realized this is because I stepped on an olive, because that is what we do around here, we don’t match our shoes and we harbor food on the floors.