Maggie Shipstead is the guest. She is the author of the novels Astonish Me and Seating Arrangements, both of which are available from Vintage Contemporaries.
Maggie is one of those people who seems to be doing everything right. Harvard. Iowa Writers Workshop. Stegner Fellow. Her first novel was a critically acclaimed national bestseller. Her second novel, many say, is even better. We talk about all of this. I try to get answers out of her. How did she do it? How was she raised? Is it nature? Is it nurture? How does a person turn out to be so accomplished, and at such a young age?
In the monologue, I talk about an episode from last night at around 2 a.m. I woke up and my wife was doing some Lamaze breathing. She had some sort of abdominal contraction, some sort of cramping, and the pain was so bad it woke her up from a dead sleep. And so then there I am, in the dark, trying to process this, trying to decide whether or not I should call the gynecologist (or 911). Fun stuff. Late stage pregnancy. We're getting down to the wire over here. (All is well, by the way. The cramping went away. No home births...yet...)