Bestselling author Meg Waite Clayton

We’re thrilled to have Meg Waite Clayton guest blog this week. Meg’s national bestseller, The Wednesday Sisters, has been selected by major book club programs including the Target Stores Bookmarked program and the Borders Book Club program. Her first novel, The Language of Light, was a Bellwether Prize finalist, and her third, The Ms Bradwells, is forthcoming from Ballantine Books. Her stories and essays have been read on public radio and performed on stage in dramatic reading, and have appeared in anthologies and magazines including Runner’s World, Writer’s Digest, and the Literary Review. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Michigan Law School, and lives with her family in Palo Alto, California.

If you haven’t read Meg’s novel, The Wednesday Sisters, treat yourself to this gem of a book about a group of women who cheer on and support each other as they all pursue their dream of writing (sound familiar, Debs?) And be sure to visit Meg’s website for interviews with authors and other great posts.

MegWaiteClaytonAuthorPhotofDropping the Turkey

The memory Thanksgiving is calling up for me lately is the year I didn’t come home. It was my third year of law school, my first turkey trot (three miles in 26:00; even then I wasn’t fast), and indeed my first crack at making a turkey myself. It may or may not have been the turkey who visited the floor on his way to the platter—a metaphor for my life, perhaps.

What I do remember from that Thanksgiving is a gang of friends filling the chairs and couches around a small coffee table that worked as well as any swanky dining room table I’ve eaten turkey at before or since. Not a single one was “family” in the traditional sense. And when I look at the photos from that day two things strike me:

What is my then-boyfriend’s arm doing in a sling? (Is he perhaps the turkey in my metaphor?)

And,

While two of us in that Thanksgiving photo were from California, a long way to go for such a short holiday right before finals, most us shunned easy drives to our homes to spend this most family of holidays together.

TWSPbackCover500x771forWebI know part of the reason that particular Thanksgiving haunts me this year is that I have a son in college, one who has spent every Thanksgiving of his life eating mashed potatoes and monkey bread with me. He’s coming home this year even though he has finals looming as closely as I did in law school, but I know the day is coming when he will choose to share Thanksgiving with someone else. I’m not sure that I ever realized until now how much my own parents must have missed my absence that Thanksgiving I first didn’t come home, even with the chairs filled by my brothers and cousins and friends. I can and do imagine it in my fiction, now, though. It’s something I find myself writing about more and more as my children leave me: motherhood.

Then there’s the fact that I’ve been living for the past year in that same house on Division Street in Ann Arbor where I made that first turkey. I’ve been sitting on the ratty couch on the front porch, and rolling up the living room rug to dance. Not literally living, but writing-living. Not even me doing the living, but a character in a novel I’m writing, who may or may not bear some resemblance to me—in ways I will no doubt deny. It’s a moment I long to go back to, friends I don’t see often enough, and whom I dearly miss. We’ve all gone our separate ways, but in revisiting that time in my writing, I’m allowed the blessing of luxuriating in old photographs and memories and calling it “work.”

I have so many things to be thankful for this year: My health and that of those I hold dear: my family (including a brother who cooks two turkeys, who may or may not drop them; if he does I won’t tell!); my friends, many of whom I shared a lovely weekend back in Ann Arbor with me this fall, all of whom support my writing dreams; a new group of New York friends who’ve made a great success of The Wednesday Sisters, and bought the novel I’m writing, the one with the ratty Division Street couch, as well; and time to write, time to observe the world around me, to question it, yes, but also to appreciate, to remember, and to dream.

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9 thoughts on “Bestselling author Meg Waite Clayton

  1. I love the idea of “writing-living,” and that it allows us writers to revisit times past and old friends who’ve since moved on. Thank you, Meg, for this post, which I found very moving. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. “I’m allowed the blessing of luxuriating in old photographs and memories and calling it ‘work.'” Beautiful and true. Thanks for this post.

  3. It’s funny, but it never really occurred to me that my parents might miss me more on a holiday. I have lived away for so long, and I don’t have kids of my own to have that experience. Hmmm…I better call on Thanksgiving! Thanks for the reminder and for being our guest at the Debs.

  4. Meg – You are a lucky woman, indeed. And luckier still to realize all your blessings. Have a great Thanksgiving.

    And … any chance you’re related to the Waites of Winchester, MA?

    Eve Brown-Waite

  5. Aw, your son is still coming home for the holiday!

    My siblings and I came home for holidays for years after college. I remember when my oldest brother was the first to “come home” for Christmas after moving out. My parents didn’t make a stocking to sneak into his bedroom while he slept. He woke up and was like, what the heck?? Where’s my stocking? They’d promoted him to “grown up”, but he wasn’t putting up with that!

  6. Eve, most of the Waites in my family tree came to South Dakota and then Iowa through Canada. But my middle name is Eva, a family name, so perhaps our family trees connect somewhere?

    Emily, we consider stockings a necessary part of the holiday celebration for children of all ages.

    Deb, definitely call!

    🙂

    Meg

  7. Thanks so much for visiting, Meg. Everyone – if you haven’t read The Wednesday Sisters, I urge you do to so immediately! It completely captivated me, and I was so thrilled when Meg agreed to guest blog. Can’t wait for her next book…

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