Kyran Pittman is a Contributing Writer for Good Housekeeping. Originally from the island of Newfoundland, she now lives in Arkansas with her husband, Patrick, and their three sons. Her memoir, Planting Dandelions: Field Notes from a Semi-Domesticated Life, is available now from Riverhead Books.
Kyran Pittman Takes the Deb Interview
Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
So many; but since my book is a memoir of family life, I’ll go with Jean Kerr’s wonderful Please Don’t Eat the Daisies. I read it for the first time when I was ten or twelve, having probably pilfered it from one of my grandmothers’ shelves on a rainy summer day. Kerr was funny, smart and cultured, and she wrote about domesticity with a voice that was both wonderfully wry and tender. As if the joke was on her, to be raising four kids in post-war suburbia. She managed to be both subversive and immersive.
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
I have a soft spot for poor old Newland Archer, from the Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton. He’s someone who’s caught between a deep regard for convention and the yearning to break out. Every time I read that book, I’m rooting for him to follow his bliss with the Countess Olenska. Yet I totally understand the gravitational force of tradition, society, and security. I suppose his appeal is part scheudenfraude: there but for grace, I go.
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
People have started reporting to me whenever dandelions pop up in their yards, as if I planted them there. I’m feeling pretty clever to have picked a book marketing strategy that’s self-seeding.
Where do you love to be?
Believe it or not, in the car with my husband and our children. I love the close quarters; the sense of being castaways on our own private island. A few years ago, we drove from Arkansas to Newfoundland–seven days each way. To some, I’m sure a solid week in a minivan with three kids sounds like the seventh circle of hell. But I was in heaven.
I wish I could play an instrument. Musicians were frequent guests in my childhood home in Newfoundland. I spent many nights sitting at the top of the stairs past bedtime, listening to the music of a fiddle or tin whistle. I would love to recreate that experience for my own children, but I have no patience for the repetition of practice.
Planting Dandelions is a memoir about a free spirit putting down roots. Spanning twelve years in eighteen linked essays, Pittman writes passionately and honestly about what it means to belong to a family, and still remain true to one’s self. With equal measures of humor and soul, Planting Dandelions celebrates the richness of so-called ordinary life, from the absurd moments to the profound.
Deb Eleanor and Kyran did a panel together at the Arkansas Literary Festival, so we can vouch that both Kyran and her memoir are wonderful – if you’d like to win a copy (US & Canada), leave a comment here!