The postcard at the top of this post has nothing to do with Manet or Victorine Meurent. It’s a French postcard featuring a young dancer or performer named Mademoiselle Rochet, but it’s from 1908—nearly 50 years after Victorine began posing for Manet. Nevertheless, the postcard helped me find my way to Victorine in Paris Red. […]

Sometimes I wonder how a person like me came to write a novel about Victorine Meurent and Édouard Manet. I live in a meadow and see more wildlife than I do museums. I wear jeans every day, and belts with big, rhinestone buckles. (See above.) Though I lived in NYC from 1980 – 1987 and […]

As I wrote Paris Red, I had two book talismans: The Lover by Marguerite Duras and Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje. I kept those two books on my desk and sometimes by my pillow. I turned often to Duras to see how she created a young narrator who appeared self-possessed and self-aware, and to […]

I haven’t written anything for this blog since April 19. The end of the school year always makes me scramble, and the universe has been pulling at my pigtails recently, trying to get my attention on some different issues. But the other piece of truth to all of this is that while I like to […]

I always get intimate with my characters. Since it takes me years to write a book, that’s bound to happen—I live with my characters day in and day out. But I also mean that I experience great physical closeness with them. I know what their faces and bodies look like, and I often know how […]