tv Judy Goldman Together CSPAN May 12, 2019 9:00am-10:01am EDT
word, when we use it in circumstances that don't involve something that the government cannot do to you or allow and facilitate happening to you. >> afterwards airs saturdays at 10 p.m. and sundays 9 p.m. eastern and pacific on booktv on c-span2. c-span2. all previous afterwards programs are available as podcasts and watch online at booktv.org. >> we are so happy to have judy here with us tonight. she is a author of two award-winning poetry poetry collections and two novels which was a finalist for the southern booksellers alliance novel of the year and winner of the so raleigh award for fiction and an award for first fiction or car memoir losing assistant was a finalist for a member of the year. our work has appeared in real simple "washington post" and others and she was born and raised in rock hill, south
carolina. where so happy she is called charlotte, north carolina, home for much of her life and we're so happy she came to visit us here in greensboro. without any more fights i'm going to get out of the way and let judy come up here and tell you about "together: a memoir of a marriage and a medical mishap." [applause] >> thank you. thank you. just a huge thank you to all of you for being here tonight. i mean, this is about the first decent pretty day that we've had in about 12 years. and we came here and i really appreciate it so much. what i'm going to do is i'm going to read a little bit from the beginning of my book, and then i'm going to tell you how i came to write it. so first i'm going to read from chapter one. don't you all love this
bookstore? so cozy and warm. i really love being here. >> henry and i are at the kitchen table eating breakfast. great nuts, sliced banana, milk for him, oatmeal for me with walnuts chopped small, fresh blueberries and dried cranberries, mugs of coffee. i did not always drink coffee. my feeling was that it never tasted as good at it smelled. we cannot half-and-half i like another funny how we describe ourselves. one minute we are i'm not a coffee drinker, never touch. the next website only in another camp, have to have campy every morning. who we are can flip like that. the details always shifting. henry picks up the sports section, folded in half, that half the game, pushes the rest
of the charlotte observer to the far side of the table. i've got the living section. it's mid-february 2006. outside wintry and wendy and went. doesn't it sound like a good idea, he says .2 and i i can't read from where i'm sitting. a nonsurgical procedure for back pain done by a podiatrist -- the scientist. what is fsi tryst? i ask him scooting my chair close as i can even read the fine print. according to the ads it's an md. apparently they treat spinal problems here six years ago henry had surgery for spinal stenosis which helped some but he's back has really never stopped hurting. he is stiff when he gets out of bed in the morning, stand for long. find to cheer pretty quickly, wherever he happens to be. he lives in normal life though.
a normal life backaches. he so athletic, what he did really like is to be able to jog again, play racquetball, tennis. yes, i say, that does sound like a good idea. the physiatrist tells henry he believes he can help. from what i can understand he will use fluoroscopy for guidance while he injects steroids and an anesthetic into the epidural space between the spine and the spinal cord. this injection is so, it's given to women during childbirth. as with all invasive procedures, there are risks. generally those of us are few and tend to be rare, headache, infection, bleeding, nerve damage. we make an appointment for the epidural but first our vacation
planned months ago on the french side of the island of saint martin, the romance of spending long days, are bare toes touching, how warm we are from the sun lost in our books. lesson 100 feet away our lunch place juts out over the sea. the smoky grill, the smell of fresh caught fish cooking. evenings we stroll the mile from our small resort to the role of caribbean covered gingerbread cottage restaurants. henry's back is still hurting, so we have to stop every now and then for him to stretch, backward, forward, bending way over, hands on these, but a little pain is not going to keep him from what he wants to do. the moons soft light catches the sea grape leaves all around us. we debate the menus posted on
the little front porches. our main concern, are we in the mood for muscles or soul? seven days after saint martin we leave early for our 1:45 appointment appointment as outpatient clinic. it's one of those golden north carolina days that always make me wonder why anyone would ever want to live anywhere else. pure sunlight, air fragrant. henry checks in. there are so many people here. the waiting room feels tight. the only available chairs together are catty corner, esquire table in between. but no sooner do we sit down and that anders comes to take henry back. she has an air of efficiency about her, the way she holds her head and her shoulders, her sensible nurse shoes. i didn't have anybody still one of those.
she says she will call from in a few minutes after they get them ready. i can keep him company while he waits for the doctor. i pick up people magazine and settle in, even though i don't recognize the names of any of the celebrities. the all recognize the names of the celebrities and people magazine? say no. okay. i glance at my watch. how did it get to be 3:00? why are they not coming from the? at 3:30 a nurse, not the same one who took it back, but a shiny faced young woman, turkey, smiley appears and says that my husband has had the epidural. oh, i say, i thought somebody was going to come get me so i could be with him before -- well, she says, we are real busy today and things got sort of hectic back there and then the doctor was all of a sudden ready for him around 3:00 and we just never had a chance to come get
you. i walked behind her down the long haul. she's repeating brightly, your husband is a very numb. very numb. as though she's marveling over some unusual turn of events, more amusing really think anything to worry about. he's numb? i ask, trying to match for brightness, wondering why my little laugh is coming out shaky. she stopped outside a closed-door, pauses, opens it. i follow her in. when she moves to the side and henry is in full view, i see that he's flat on his back on a gurney, as she pulled up around his neck, the way you attacking a child. his expression is contorted. his whole face an agonized
flinch, as though he took the world head-on and lost. judy, he whispers, his eyes clutching at mine. i can't feel a thing from my waist down. i can't move my legs. i turned to the nurse. where's the doctor? my voice rises with each word owing someplace totally unfamiliar. does the doctor know? well, she says, not exactly. he needs to see this. my voice verges on shrill. my hand brushes the air. go. get the doctor. please ask him to come in here. she's backing out of the room. i'm shivering. i sit down beside henry, put my hand on his arm. i don't know where to touch him, if it's even okay to touch them. tell me, i say.
he says that when the doctor was giving the injection, he felt severe pain. he must have ground, because the doctor asked him, are you okay? he told the doctor, no, i'm not okay. i'm in excruciating pain. the doctor said, we're almost done. then he finished the injection. henry tells me that his back, where the needle went in, still hurts. maybe it's not as bad as i'm terrified that it is. maybe he's really all right. maybe i i can help him be all right. maybe what's been taken away can be brought back. i just have to figure this out,, but i need to hurry before it, whatever it is, locks into place. place. i loosen the sheet around his feet. can you feel this? i scratch his bare toes. no, he says. not at all.
he sounds as though he has grown tired somewhere deep in his body. can you wiggle your toes? i'm trying. are they moving? they are not. i will go there myself to get them started, but then nothing. can you flex this foot or this one? i can't make either one move. how about your leg? can you list your leg? can you list it just a little? this one or this one? i'm trying. i'm trying as hard as i can. i stroked the tops of the seat, then the souls with my fingers. for a second i think another time another place i might run my hand down his calf to his foot. maybe in the morning on their way to the bathroom rounding the bed i might reach under the sheet and touch the bottom of
this foot. that careless, offhanded thing married people do. what about this? i asked, massaging his ankles. can you feel me doing this? i can't. now i'm reaching under the sheet and rubbing his calves. no. i reach further and touch is knees, thighs, grown, buttocks. no, no, no, no. he feels nothing. i feel everything. one minute you're complaining that the zinc based sunscreen is supposed to wear in the caribbean goes on like elmers glue. the next, your googling paralysis. everything is okay. then nothing is okay. that thin line. how a brush fire can interrupt on a perfectly sunny, clear sky
day. how your life can be taken right out of your hands. our y'all okay? i always feel so bad as agreed that like up with something awful on you and that i i can t go dancing off well you worry about it. so here's the thing. i never intended to write this book. people who know me you know i'm a writer when we were going to the epidural, when were going through the aftermath, people kept asking me, judy, are you going to write about this? my answer was always, never, never. i lived through it once. i don't want to live through it a second time, you understand that. however, something happened that changed my mind and going to tell you about it because it's a little bit, it's an odd incident and this is what changed my mind
about writing this book. the epidural took place in 2006. two years later in 2008 my husband henry had had shoulder replacement surgery and i driven him to the doctor for his final checkup and we were on the way home. so he said judy, i threw some close in the backseat. let's drop by the dry cleaners on the way home and i will leave them there. but had to interrupt the story for a minute to tell you this. so this is my husband accu, henry. henry, raise your hand so they can see. that's who i'm getting ready to roll under the bus. [laughing] we are a two drycleaner family and going to tell you why. so henry takes his close to a really cheap drycleaner. [laughing] and when you get your pants back and have to admit this is true,
when you get your pants back, zipper does not work. he just thinks that's okay. i take my clothes to really expensive drycleaner and the zipper works. so this they were dropping by his very cheap drycleaner to drop off the clothes. so he shows me how to drive up. they say drive-by window which actually is a drive-by door. i pull in really close, roll down my window, aren't around to pick up all the clothes to hand them to the window to the guy. realize i can't reach the close such open my door, get out of the car, opened the back door, get the clothes, close the back door but my driver side door still open to the right to hand over the clothes. the guy comes out to take them, but right before hand over my clothes to him this young, tall guy dart out of the drive-by door. and i'm thinking oh, he must
work your and he's come out to help his boss. and i look at him and he's wearing a ski cap and it's a really warm day. and unthinking, it's too hot to wear a ski cap. why is he wearing this ski cap? and i looked closer and i see that it is not a ski cap. it's a ski mask. his whole face is covered. i can just see his eyes. then my eyes traveled down his body and i see that in his hand he's holding a gun. i love when people go -- do that one more time. okay. so is holding a gun and it's pointed right at my stomach. really close to my stomach because the three of us are wedged in between my car door and the drive-by door. so i jump back in the car, slammed my door, start the motor. my window is still down.
they guy could reach through the window and grabbed my skinny little neck but he does not do that. he can shoot me, and he does not do that. i drive off. i do not worry about the owner of the dry cleaners. i leave him there with the guy with the gun. i own and taking care of number one at this point, you understand that. so when we get home, on the way rather henry calls the police but when we get home he calls the owner of the drycleaner. he is okay. they took all his money. now, here's what's odd about this incident. it did not scare me, not at all. it just made me sad. i was profoundly sad the day afterwards i cried. i could be walk in the neighborhood with a friend and all of a sudden i was sobbing. i could be shampooing my hair, and my eyes would well up with tears. i just was sad.
it took me a while before i figured out that i was finally able to cry about what had happened to my husband two years before. the holdup in the epidural that like the same thing to me, exactly the same thing. they were both proof that your life can change in an instant. one single reminder that we are all in danger every minute. you know that, right? we know that by now. i started writing this book around 2011. work worked on it for a few mon, put it away not ready to write again. started in earnest maybe 2012, and that i finished it, finish writing and revising probably
2016 i think. so it took me about four years to finally write this book. and the epidural and the holdup are starting points for all the changes that we will face in a lifetime, the slow ordinary changes wrought about by the passage of time, the winds that turn your brown hair white. and then the sudden, dramatic changes that take us by surprise. and if we are in a marriage, those changes can affect how we see ourselves, how we see the other person, how we operate outside in the world, and how we operate within the relationship. our identities can change, and our roles can shift here so how do we adjust? that's the question.
together, it's a story about the life we dream of and the life we make. it's about the ever after part of marriage. not long ago somebody was interviewing me and she told me what she thought my book was about, i do want to tell you what she told me because i think it's really good. she said my book is a meditation on what happens to love over time and all at once. isn't that a nice sentence? a meditation on what happens to love over time and all at once i really like that. so my book is actually a braid. there's the current medical crisis, braid, and then there's the marriage braid which actually is the chronology, the history of our marriage, and it is chapter by chapter until you
the end of the book they sort of blur and merge. i want to tell one thing about not learning and merging but about the two strains in my book. so if you hope to sell your book to a new york publisher, you need to have an agent. the agent is young. now remember that part, she's young. she's six feet tall, she has red hair. she is gorgeous and she's irish lives in new york. what's the main thing about her? she's young pic okay, you that. i give her my manuscript and nowadays a chance edit manuscripts more than editors edit manuscripts on the. she says judy, i think we need to tap down the medical part and plump up the marriage part, which was fine with me. i was so totally in agreement with that because i was
petrified that my book would be like, you know, you take a plane right and you sit next to somebody and they tell you all about their gallbladder operation the whole flight, you know the kind of person? i was just afraid that's what my book would be like for readers. so i was happy to cut medical stuff, believe me. because i happen to have a high tolerance for medical talk. i love anything about medical stuff. i'm practically a doctor. i just like to say that. i'm really not but i pretend i am. i mean, the other day a friend of mine had a problem and i told him exactly what his problem was that you believe this, michael, don't you? i told her what was wrong with him. i diagnosed at an i told in the medication he should be on. he went to his doctor and i was exactly right. [laughing] i'm just about a doctor really.
okay, so i was glad to change that knowing that not everybody feels the way about medical issues that i feel. now, my agent sells what book to a new york publisher. my editor is a little bit older, and she reads my manuscript and says, judy, i think we need to tamp down the marriage part and plump up the medical. [laughing] i just think that's all you need to know about publishing. that's it. that's the whole story of publication right there. am i right, those of you who know about it? i mean, by the time i cut medical and by the time i can't marriage, i practically had a pamphlet left, but i plump it back up and now i have a book. but anyway want to read a little bit more, a small section and this is dealing with marriage and roles.
barrel chested, bruiser henry, i always loved that he was so big and strong and brave. sensitive and kindhearted, yes, my friends say he's the most evolved of all our husbands, , e one most likely to join a cluster of women talking, the one most likely to get up at night with a fussy baby, but if you met him your first impression would be sturdiness. sturdy is what i must have been after when i married him. not consciously of course but it was probably on my checklist. as a child i was slight, not athletic, not known for physical strength, not brave. my grandpa called me flimely, a yiddish word meaning little bird.
that image of me stuck. i was sweet, demurrer, too small to be taken seriously. or at least that's how i saw myself. in any marriage one person becomes the, fill in the blank one, and the other person becomes something in tandem. henry would be the protector. i would be there protected here husbands and wives assume they do not possess the central quality the other possesses. if henry is strong, i must not be. he can shield me forever. i did the same thing that he first did, married my bodyguard. y'all know who patty hearst is? so here's henry flat on his back in the hospital, flat on his back in the rehab facility. i'm forced to take over. he's forced to give in. but i want to say something about writing memoir, and that
is memoir is the narrative of revelation. what does that mean? it means that while you're writing memoir, you are learning something. you are looking for the deepest patterns of your personality, and the reward for writing memoir is self understanding. so what did i learn while i was writing "together"? i learned that henry actually remained big and strong and brave throughout. because otherwise, how would he overcome the obstacles that were blocking his way? and what did i learn about myself? well, i learned that i can be slight and strong, not brave and brave. because really and truly we all can be many things.
we can be whatever it is we are called upon to be in a particular situation. so i'm going to go back to the date of the epidural that has now taken henry to another floor for him to have an mri because the doctors are frantic to find out what went so terribly wrong with that injection and i am in the waiting room that i been in that afternoon when i waited with henry, only this time i am sitting there alone. i look at the window. it's now dark outside. i hear somebody vacuuming out in the hall. and my thoughts flash back to early scenes in our marriage. seems that could probably be like this one.
henry and i always left the light burning over the kitchen table. then we double lock the back door and headed down our two steep driveway to our two mild evening walk through the neighborhood. all around us insects buzzed. sometimes we held hands pick sometimes henry put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close causing me to walk sideways like a crab. that's when he would whisper in my ear as no intent on the world-class seduction, ben & jerry's? i never said no. i always got one scoop of vanilla in a cup. henry sampled at least three flavors, usually four. he took his time deciding. what kind are you having?
he asked me, as if i ever picked anything other than vanilla. when i pointed this out he said, well, there was that one time you got peach. i worried when holding up the line it is only worry was which flavor he would try next year can i sample peanut butter cup? okay, all right. now how about chunky monkey? and how about chocolate fudge brownie? finally he would make up his mind. each time something different. over the years he tasted every flavor on the board, except the low-fat ones. we would take her ice cream outside and sit on the low brick wall under the moonlight telling each other what we had done during the day. his workout at the y, my writing, our children. everything we had saved up to tell. words like little toast to a
>> i think when i went through the hold up and i realized what the epidural, what the holdup meant to me, what it meant about life, i felt like i learned something really important about life that i believe i have always resisted learning. because i'm's such a status quo person, i want everything to stay exactly the same, that kind of person. they are really boring actually but that's me. and i realized we are in a constant situation of change. and i thought i needed to write a memoir because i would learn something writing it. i think that's one of the reasons i wrote the memoir and i'll tell you, there's another reason i wrote the memoir and i'll segue into that. i think i had to learn how to
forgive the doctor . i had to come to the realization that he did not set out to hurt henry. he only wanted to help him. and we all find ourselves in situations that we don't expect to find ourselves in. the doctor included. imagine how frightened he must have been to all of a sudden have a patient who can't move his legs . so i had to come to that realization that we're all just humans and we're all doing the best we can . but i didn't just have to learn to forgive the doctor. i had to forgive henry cause even though we had come to the decision for him to have the epidural, we came to that decision together. all of a sudden after everything that happened, i'm thinking why didn't he just go to acupuncture? why didn't he go to reflexology, why didn't he get a massage?
why didn't he try crystals? you name it, whatever and he was really just trying to feel better and i had to forgive myself because i could not keep him safe even though i wanted to and i had to forgive myself for that. a long answer to your question. other questions? [inaudible] >> did they determine if it was a technique problem or a medicine problem? >> the question is did they determine that it was a technique problem or a medicine problem . so, after the statute of limitations had run out, henry was with a colleague, the doctor who administered the epidural and henry asked
the colleague,did you all ever figure out what went wrong ? and his explanation was that it was the formula. it had been too viscous and that now, doctors all over charlotte change their formula for injections and that now they're lighter, not so thick. that was the onlyexplanation we were ever offered . i don't know whether it's so. i really don't know for sure but that's the explanation that we were given and i should add this also. notice how with every question i have like a bonus answer for you at the end. here's the bonus answer for that one. henry went from a wheelchair to a walker to a full size cane to the very, very
stylish, pearl handled cane that he walks with now so really, he was very fortunate. we were very fortunate. and that one leg after a period of time came back. it never came back all the way and one leg remained paralyzed, but it meant he could remain mobile and he got off with his left foot so we're very fortunate and we don't believe we weresingled out. every person in this room is dealing with something . we all have something, right? so hours i feel ended up being a fortunate situation for us. other questions? >> i hate to bring this up almost because i can't imagine you wanting to subject yourself to it but there's a podcast called doctor death and i wonder if you've heard of it for, if anyone has mentioned it in the marketing around your book? doctor death. it's about a doctor in texas
who was the first physician i think in the united states to be criminally charged, so it wasn't just medical negligence and he was a neurologist and it was a series of just a terrible series of watched back surgeries and the way that podcast deals with -- anyway, i was listening to you describe the immediate, the events around the waiting and then the nursing coming out in her overly bright voice. it gave me chills and the way thatlistening to that podcast did . it might just be something even that your publicist might -- it's been very popular. >> do you all know aboutthis podcast called doctor death? i don't know about it but i will check on it, thank you for telling me .
[overlapping conversation ] the brave part really has the upper hand, actually. so i'm glad you mentioned it. >> i don't find what you did derivative of it at all. it might just be an interesting point of connection. >> i want to say something, so at different readings that i give, of course there are different comments and nobody's ever mentioned that to me yet and last night i had a first at a talk. and somebody raised his hand and he was such a sweet man and he said you know judy, i'm wondering why your husband went to a podiatrist for an epidural. and so i said well, you know, the feet, the back, their close. they're both on the body. so you understand i was not saying but i interest, it was
a as i trust and they used to be rehab doctors and they handled pain with nonsurgical procedures. okay, you're with me on that. this is a much more tonight than i had last night. >> i'm interested in the days when it was hard to write and you feel like you were hitting the wall. what things did you do to get yourself writing again? i'm looking for tricks. >> did you hear your question, that she's interested in when you're writing and all of a sudden you find you can't write, what are the tricks to get you going again. the thing that works for me is to read either poetry or really good memoirs. and it just, i think what it does is reassures me that
other people are using language in a very fresh way and other people are telling stories in a very compelling way and judy, if you sit here long enough, you can aim for that. that's really, it's not a very unique or original trek. but it works for me. it really does. and i'm not one of these people who believes that you have to write every single day. i don't say that, but i do believe you have to write regularly. like exercise, which i don't do regularly. but i do write regularly but people say that you need to exercise regularly those muscles going. and it's the same thing i think with writing. you do have to and in the beginning, i made a appointment with myself to write. because you would never just not show up at a dental appointment, right? you would never end up the dentist but you'd stand up yourself all the time. you plan to write on tuesday and all of a sudden it's thursday and you have not
written though i wrote in my account in the book every day when i first started writing pros. 9:00, right. every day as though i had a dentist appointment and i kept those appointments so that your bonus you've got. >> you said you lot read a lot of good memoirs so within that statement was that was not a result of that? >> i'm just curious as to how you made that distinction for yourself, what you found compelling and inspiring as opposed did not.>> really, so she's asking what i found compelling and memoirs when i say goodmemoirs and bad memoirs . i don't read for pleasure anymore. i read to teach myself. i started so late, my first
novel waspublished when i was 58. i'm 77 now . and i got a lot to learn. i really do because i started so late so i only read memoirs that have something to teachme. and if i've read 20 pages and there's nothing there for me to learn , ", put it away. forgot something else. so very subjective, but you can use your own intuition and read to learn. and that is pleasure. that to me is joy. discovering oh, this is how this person handles dialogue. how do you handle dialogue in a memoir when you certainly don't remember every conversation and this is how that person ends chapters that leads us onto the next chapter. i read to learn. and it's a good way to discover a good memoirs for you. >> the virgin medical people
came and then a public relations woman came. and i took out my camera to take pictures and she says oh, americans are always wanting to sue and i said no, i'mjust doing it for fun . >> a lot of them are generous on the floor andyour staffing but go ahead i'm not judging . >> what i'm asking, was there a possibility for a lawsuit here that you didn't pursue? >> was there a possibility for a lawsuit here? [inaudible] [laughter] i'll tell you and you can still read the book,yes . we did pursue litigation, but it was interesting because
whenever henry was feeling like i want to sue that doctor and i'm thinking well, do we really want to put ourselves through that? and then i was angry thinking we want to really sue that doctor and henry's thinking do we want to put ourselves through that? we were never at the same place in the same time and we get did consult a couple of lawyers and it's very hard to prove medical negligence as some of you may already know so that is not pursued. in the end, we were so glad we had not put ourselves through that. we needed to work to forgive, we did not need to work in that direction. we needed to work in the forgiveness direction, that was better for us . >>. [inaudible] when you're on the floor andyour husband having fun . >> what i wanted to ask was
when you were reading i understand you only read a short section about the layers in the ski mask and the gun. i'm behind the book. is it more about that? >> about what? >> the hold up? yes, because i actually told the story. there's more. there's more about the hold up in the book . i mean, i even went so far, i was so upset with that hold up that we were at a dinner party and i made everybody do a reenactment. i said okay bobby, you stand here and you will be done and i'd say nobody, the gun has to be closer to my stomach, moving closer. okay john, you're the dry cleaner. get on your knees because he was really short and i want
to set it up exactly right. i was obsessed with and all that's in the book. >> i'm channeling that. three of your students, julie's the most amazing teacher on the planet for me to say that. and everybody hear that? in all the microphones hear that? ? three of your students have a question and i know you went into the agents you versus editors you there are a can articulate much better.>> she was getting my name called for her. >> i got it. >> here's my question. which we were discussing much better. so i'm curious to know, how close the book you published
was to the book you set out to write? and i don't mean the effect of the agent and editor. i mean the effect of writing the book from the moment you start, did you write a different book at the end? >> nobody's ever asked me that question, that an interesting question . >> i've been trying. >> it's an interesting question. i should think about it and you always here and i'll come back and tell you. i have to think about that. first of all, i'll tell you that it had a different title and that might show you the direction i intended to go in. this, but at this title until my editor said of course we need to change the title. and i said oh yes, of course we need to change the title. and i was just sick, i loved the title. here it is, what we can count on. don't you think that's a good
title? we can't count on anything. so it's interesting, what we can count on and that sort of sends the direction i was going in because i was really , i believe i was really into the psychology of thiswhole thing. in the beginning . and then i had to bring myself back to more concrete details. which is sort of the opposite of how you usually write a memoir because usually, your writing the concrete details and then later , you have to add those brief starts of reflection all the way through the book. i think that's probably my best answer to that question. i also, when this happened to henry, five minutes after the part that i read to you with the nurses and the doctor, i hold a paper towel out of the dispenser on the wall and i
started writingdown things . not because i wanted to write a book but because i needed to write everything down because i felt like if i could see it on paper, i could figure it out and i could solve this problem. so i had notes all the way through this and i had cast. i didn't even consult those notes when i started writing the book. i think that's how into the psychology of this whole thing and what it means about living a life and what it means about being in a relationship and changes in a relationship, i was so into that question. how do we adjust that much later i took out all those notes and then i filled in a lot with what had happened. idid it backwards . which is encouraging, i hope for you all are hoping to write or wanting to write are already writing is that there's really no right way to do it. and there's no wrong way to do it. it just happens to be your
way of doing it. >> i have a process questioni think . of the many things i love about your book, everything, the structure is so perfect for what you're doing. and i wonder if you knew some from the beginning that you would end up braiding so perfectly the medical mishap and the marriage and using twodifferent tenses . is that something that developed after your first draft were somewhere alongthe way , how does that happen? >> some of that was from the beginning. from thebeginning i was alternating , but i came, i decided on the change in the tents later, because i kept getting mixed up to which we
were in. are wein the medical or in the marriage because they will both were present tense . though it was obvious to me then the marriage part had to be in past tense and the medical part had to be immediate, it had to be in present tense and that helped me keep it straight as a writer and i hope it would help the reader keep it straight to. originally, the very first scene in the book was the hold up. obviously, i mean i was so obsessed with it, of course that's what got into writing the book so that was absolutely the first scene in the book. in fact, when i read a portion of it at a writers conference, somebody said to me judy, that does not belong inthe beginning of the book . and then another person who read the book read the manuscript form of the book, said and let me stop for a minute, have you already the memoir wild cheryl straight,
some of you have read that. it's about a woman who's in the middle of a divorce will also lost her mother and she said about the specific present trailing california. and at one point, one of her boots falls down the mountain in the middle of her fight so she takes another boot off and throws down the mountain. and this friend of mine said judy, the holdup should come about three quarters of the way through the book because that is the scene where you throw the book downthe mountain . that was really smart so i just shifted everything around. and that's to say the book underwent many changes during those four years that i was writing and revising and not an instance anything. it takes me a while to understand what it is that i want to say. and probably takes most writers a good bit of time .
>> completely unrelated but one of the things just as a statement that so impressed me when i read the book. given that i know you and i knew the trajectory of the arc of the story. the tension that you maintained throughout the book, i read it in a single setting. one sitting. i think i went to thebathroom once . but i did, i read it straight through and one of the reasons was that you managed to maintain attention throughout the book. it's like a mystery novel. you don't know how it's going to end. and i think that is absolutely remarkable with that kind of story. it just really so impressed me. how did you do that? >> thank you, that is the
best compliment i could receive, because we are all so afraid of boring the reader and we don't know whether we are boring the reader while we writing, we really don't know how what we've written comes across. we don't know that. and so for you to say that i kept up the tensionand that was like a mystery, that's the best thing youcould say to me . i don't know the answer to that. i really don't . maybe, maybe the answer is that you, the writer and i've said this before in workshops , that you the writer has to be surprised. you have to find yourself gasping at what you have put down on the paper. you cannot know how it's going to go. i really don't believe that's a good way to write. i think you need to be surprised. you need to be as i said earlier, learning something while you're writing so maybe
that contributes to it. because certainly it was all a mystery to me i was writing it. is this going to work, what's going to come next, how is this going to unfold and so maybe that's it. maybe the fact that i didn't truly understand all the psychology of the book until i was finished, and i still am discovering things about it, what i meant, what i was asking. what i was suggesting, so maybe that's part of the mystery, because there's a mystery there for me to. i just sort of made up that answer just now. >> as long as i answered one of them. >> any other questions, i don't want to put anybody off . >> what's next, well i've written another book and i have a draft. i do.
but don't be impressed because it's a mess. it's going to take years to get this thing decent. halfway decent, really and i have no idea whether it's going to work or not, whether it's something i have the right to write, it's another memoir. and as soon as i'm done talking about this book, and i'll get back to work on that and start the revision process. but i've got a lot of work to do on the thank you for asking because i do like to reassure that draft is sitting over there, i'm going to come back to you and i haven't forgotten you. we will work. so thank you, let me just say this. thank you for coming tonight, i really appreciate it and i'll be glad to sign books for you if you'd like me to. [applause] >> once, td was simply three
giant networks of the government supported service called pbs. and in 1979, a small network with an unusual name rolled out a big idea. let viewers decide on their own what was important to them . c-span opened the doors to washington policymaking for all to see, bringing your unfiltered content in congress and beyond. in the age of power to the people, this was true people power. in the 40 years since the landscape has changed. there's no monolithic media, broadcasting has given way to narrowcasting, youtube stars everything but c-span's big idea is more relevant today than ever. no government money support c-span, it's not part of the coverage of washington, it's a public service provided by your cable or satellite provider. on television and online, c-span is yourunfiltered view of government so you can make up your own mind .
>> book pd covers 25 book festival the year. at therancho mirage writers festival in california, karl rove provided a history of political partisanship in the us . >> you think politics today is broken? during a debate in 1884 on a terrorist measure that fails, one member of the democratic party stands up and says in personal terms the offended members as mister speaker, the members highlighting the decorum of the house and the speaker says the gentleman fromgeorgia is out of order and he turns to his colleague and says i would not blanket you if you were a dog . we have a period in 1889 through 1890 in which not a single bill is passed in the house of representatives for nearly 4 and a half months because the democrats announced they will not answer the rollcall and denied the house a quorum. no business can be conducted. this is not where going to shut down the government unless you repeal obama care, this is we don't care what you want to do, nothing! the past because we won't
answer the rollcall. thomas brackett reed, the speaker of the house plans on one particular day and this. he has the sergeant of arms lock arms in front of every door and announced he's barricading every door to the house on the outside and at the end of the vote, somebody calls for a quorum, they call the quorum, democrats don't answer and the chair directs the court to show mister jones present, mister smith present, called up a name of every democrat and directs the clerk to show them present and what happens? all hell breaks loose, they run for the doors. the sergeant at arms lock their arms, only one member of the house gets out. constantin august of texas, beat the crap out of the sergeant of arms and useshis cowboy boots to kick out the slats of the door and make good his escape . one democrat screams in anger at reed and says under god and the constitution you have no right to count me present without my permission and read says to the chairman, the chair is fading the stack
that this chairman denies he present on the floor of the house. for2 and a half more months, this is wrangled upon and settled by the us supreme court and in the meantime or 4 and a half months, no bill gets passed . opening day of the debate, another texan makes a contribution to the positive spirit, william henry mark, six foot six inches tall, thin as a rail, mean as the civil war with brigade, which is read and says to his fellow democrats, if any member will order me to remove this dictator from his position of power upon the podium, i will do so by force forth with. read says the honorable gentleman from texas is out of order, the next day martin shows up, is 16 inch long bowling night, sits in front of the speaker and methodically sharpened on his boot soul in order to minister speaker i don't remember pelosi doing this in 2011. i just don't. we've been herebefore, we'll get out of it again .
>> watch this in any of our programs in their entirety at booktv.org. type theauthor's name in the search bar at the top of the page . >> it's a full lineup of nonfiction authors and books and i can prime time. first up here, linda gave on her work with women around the world. then daniel and amar will discuss us expansion and the founding of the country . also tonight, republican editor mike lee of utah talks about our lost declaration. journalist mohsen larson examines what socialist system would look like in america and jacqueline jackson and her son overcome his men jesse jackson junior will discuss the letters they were to one another while he wasincarcerated. that's all the night in primetime , check your cable guide for more information. >>