There’s so much simple truth here that we’re boggled:
Anna Quindlen may have a Pulitzer Prize and a résumé full of best sellers, but she’s not above doing some channel-surfing, too. “I’m an inveterate TV watcher and needlepointer—simultaneously,” says the acclaimed author, 61, whose latest novel is Still Life With Bread Crumbs. “There’s so much good writing on television now: True Detective, Justified, The Good Wife, House of Cards.” Quindlen, who lives in New York City with her attorney husband, Gerald Krovatin, admits that most of her writing rituals “are designed to allow me not to write: power walking, newspapers, phone calls. But eventually I run out of other things to do.”
What was the first book you remember loving as a child?
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. Jo March wants to be a writer and then becomes one. Enough said.
Still Life With Bread Crumbs has a reinvention theme. If you were to reinvent yourself, what other career would you like?
I always wanted to be a doctor. I drive my doctors crazy by self-diagnosing, but in my defense I’m nearly always right.
You were a newspaper reporter in New York in the ’70s. What’s your favorite memory of that period in your career?
When you’re a young re porter, every moment is pretty indelible. Just taking the subway to a crime scene or a press conference or a community event was exciting because you never knew what would happen when you arrived. And, frankly, I was so green that I was always nervous about my ability to deliver the goods. I dictated a fair number of stories from phone booths on deadline. Boy, does that date me! Bottom line: I more or less loved it all.
Do you ever have writer’s block?
Some days I fear writing dreadfully, but I do it anyway. I’ve discovered that sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better. Not writing at all leads to nothing.
What’s your perfect Sunday?