Heidi Julavits

Heidi Julavits is a writer, editor, teacher, and life artist who divides her time between the bustle of New York City and the calm of Maine. Her fourth and most recent book, The Vanishers, was published in March 2012 and is written in what the New York Times calls “Julavits’s signature style: sharp-eyed, sardonic, hilarious.” Her previous books are The Mineral Palace, The Effect of Living Backwards, and The Uses of Enchantment. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, McSweeney’s Quarterly, the New York Times, and the Best American Short Stories, among other places.

In 2002, Julavits co-founded The Believer magazine, which quickly became a coveted must-read for anyone with serious literary proclivities. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and was a finalist for the Young Lions Literary Award. She earned a BA from Dartmouth College and a MFA from the writing program at Columbia University, where she is currently an Assistant Professor.

Julavits is easygoing and amiable, happy to share everything from serious advice to embarrassing stories. During a long and laughter-saturated lunch, there was time for a whole lot of both.

What were you like as a kid?

I was really, really, pathologically shy. And yet, obviously, I like to talk a lot. So these were competing forces when I was a kid. Writing enabled me to be verbose, since I never actually said anything! I never talked to anyone.

You’re not like that anymore.

Not at all. It was a very conscious, self-improvement program that I put myself on.

Wow. When?

I would say, probably my early thirties. I mean, I became socially more comfortable with people. But I was still terrified, terrified, terrified of public speaking. As a writer, ironically, you end up having to do a lot of public appearances. When I started to read aloud, this issue really came to a head for me. So I started teaching. I figured that was the way to deal with it. Teaching is public speaking but it is also leadership. You really have to take charge, the responsibility for the energy in the room is entirely yours.

For years I would totally panic before going in to teach. And I would have twenty-five pages of notes that I could fall back on. I over-prepared to a laughable degree. Now I still obviously prepare a lot, but I have a lot more confidence that if there is a lull in the conversation I will be able to pick up the thread somehow.

So, tell me what you wrote as a kid.

I wrote a novel when I was in fifth grade – of course it wasn’t a complete novel. It was pencil on lined paper and I remember giving myself little deadlines. It wasn’t so much deadlines, but more a page count thing. That goes back to when I was eight. From when I was eight to when I was thirteen, I kept a diary every single day. And I was never allowed to miss a single day. If I missed a few days, I had to go back and write it like I had written it on that day.

That is so self-disciplined.

No, it’s actually just obsessive and weird! When you go back and read them, it’s essentially: “Today I have to take a science test, I’m so nervous, I hope I do well…” It’s just this horrible, Type A, neurosis.

I kept keeping diaries after I turned thirteen but they were long… The “deep” thoughts… I recognize them as exercises, that is what they were to me. That is when I started to try out different styles, different voices, approaches. There would be personal entries with deep thoughts super earnestly conveyed mixed in with the first paragraph of a short story.

Did you write other than in your diary?

Not really until I got to college.

You went to Dartmouth, why did you choose that school?

I spent every Thanksgiving in Norwich, Vermont – which is just over the border. So, Hanover was the town that we went to go shopping and the college is right there. As I got older and got involved with the daughter of this family, we would go to the Dartmouth campus and go down into the fraternities – all of which were open even though nobody was there because it was Thanksgiving break. Nothing is locked. We would just walk in and go down into the basements. There would be these leftover kegs with horrible flat beer that, of course, because we were fifteen years old, we would drain into gallon plastic milk jugs.

Ew.

[Laughs.] So, given these fond memories I had… It was the only place I applied, it’s the only place I wanted to go. I applied early, got in, and that was that.

So you began writing in college.

I took a class on reading and writing the short story. I wrote three or so stories.

After I took that class I thought, I can always write – I don’t know that I necessarily need to use my undergraduate time to do that, I would rather learn something else while I am here. I did Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies. I actually thought at the end of it that I was going to be an academic – probably literature with a gender studies bent. But then when it came time to actually fill out those applications and taking those tests, I thought, “I just need to take a couple of years off and figure out what I want to do.”

What did you do?

[When I graduated] it was one of those, in a weird way, wonderfully liberating American economic recessions.

Please tell me how this is liberating.

I found it totally liberating! Because suddenly there was no track to follow, the track had ended. [Laughs.] There was no quote unquote real job to get, so why bother. Might as well go do something fun. Which I don’t know if I would’ve done, or it would have taken me a little bit longer to realize that I just needed to go blow off some steam for a while.

I left college and I had a boyfriend, naturally… He was studying Japanese and the Japanese sword…okay?

Wow. I love that. [Laughs.]

I know, don’t you? He was studying Japanese in order to become a more savvy businessperson because at that point it was all about doing business with the Japanese. But he was also learning the Japanese sword, and he had a dojo and a sensei and all that stuff.

Oh my God.

I know.

He had preceded me, he went over there [to Japan] first – he was a year older than me. I graduated and it was just about making money so I could go to Japan. So I spent the summer waiting tables and living in Norwich, Vermont in a house that hung over the Connecticut River with like, maybe, fourteen other people. You couldn’t even keep count. It was just one of those situations with mattress, mattress, mattress… And then I moved to New York because this guy we knew had an apartment and, again, he said we could just throw down some mattresses. We did that. And I got a job through a temp agency. I had a bunch of temp agency experiences, which were actually pretty amazing. Because you suddenly end up in these places that you otherwise never would have ended up in doing jobs you never thought you would be doing.

So, I ended up at Ralph Lauren’s international licensing company. I was the receptionist but I did a lot of filing. There was a very funny Polish woman who worked with me and she would suddenly get very alarmed and look at me and say, “Heidi, did you know there is a Korean scarf issue?!” [Bursts out laughing.] There were always Korean scarf issues.

So I did that for a couple of months and then I packed up and met my boyfriend in Japan. There I taught English and I was an extra in a movie about ca 1880’s Yokohama. The star was a Japanese pop star who was of course wearing this Scarlett O’Hara gown and she kept screwing up her lines. I was supposed to be eating at a café right behind her, something called ring cake. I was eating this ring cake, and I had to keep eating it all day long because she kept botching her lines.

Then I left there and traveled by myself for a while, eventually hoping to meet up with this boyfriend in Kuala Lumpur.

Did you have a specific purpose with the travel you did on your own?

I just wanted to take off. The other night I was at a dinner party and this guy was talking about Borneo. And I said, “Oh yeah, I’ve been to Borneo!” On the flight from Seoul to Hong Kong I was seated next to this guy who was a photojournalist. He was also going to Borneo, bizarrely, but we were going at different times. Anyway, we really hit it off.

This story is in your book, The Vanishers.

Is it in my book? Probably, I’m sure I’ve used it somewhere.

Yes, when Elizabeth and her father meet the photographer…

Yeah, yeah, yeah!! I totally forgot about that!! That’s so hilarious.

So, this guy is telling me that there is this Swiss dude in the Borneo jungle who has befriended these nomadic tribes and his name was Bruno. He was essentially rallying them to fight back against the loggers because there was terrible deforestation going on in the Bornean jungles. So subsequently there was a huge, huge bounty on this guy’s head and so this photojournalist had somehow contacted someone who had contacted someone and he had gotten Bruno’s permission to meet up with him. But it was going to be this super secret thing.

At any rate, he was telling me this whole story on the flight to Hong Kong. We get off the plane, I go off to be with the people I am staying with, he goes where he is going. We agree to meet for dinner the next night and he doesn’t show up. That’s fine, whatever. Then, many weeks later, I essentially trekked my way down through Thailand and Malaysia and met up with my boyfriend and we went to Borneo together. We landed in whatever town we landed in and then you get on this crazy boat that looks like an airplane with the wings shorn off. And you’re on this boat with all these tribes people who have the long droopy earlobes down to their shoulders. And you just go and go and go all day and then the river gets so muddy and shallow that you have to get into a dug out canoe and then you go a little bit further. Twilight is happening, we get to this tiny little guesthouse on a dock, on stilts. And as we’re pulling up, there on the dock is the photojournalist!! Like, how is this happening?! So we hang out with him that night and he literally was whisked away in the middle of the dark for his meeting.

You must have good stories from the time you trekked around alone, too.

So I went to southern Thailand, I was on a beach in my own little hut. It cost nothing – like five dollars a night. And as with a lot of these communities, they cut the electricity at, like, eleven at night and then there is none until the morning. All these places have mosquito netting over the beds because the bugs are so bad. I had noticed when I checked in that there were all these holes in my mosquito netting. I didn’t really think much of it. I just thought it was old, what can you expect for five dollars a night? Literally, it was like a horror movie. The lights cut, boom! I’m in the dark and all of a sudden I just hear, scrabble, scrabble, scrabble, scrabble…! It’s a thatched hut, you know? So the little claws are clicking away. I hear rats, rustling on the mosquito netting.

This is on your bed…?!

Yes. I am beating it with my hands to make them go away. I was up all night, it was so horrible.

And you know they can get through because there are holes…that they have made…

Oh yeah, there are holes! There are holes!! I literally had to sit there all night and beat the sides of the mosquito netting to scare them off.

So, I get up in the morning. I go over to my suitcase. Of course, I’ve been traveling for quite some time so it has a lot of, you know, clothing in various states of filth. And the rats had chewed holes in all the crotches of my underwear.

[Bursts out laughing.] Kind of an indictment, huh?

Such an indictment! “Do your laundry!”

I’m guessing you didn’t stay in that hut.

I left the hut.

But all that time, I was actually trying to write. I was writing in Japan, that is what I did all day when I was not teaching. I had said that is what I was going to do. I thought, “Let’s see if this goes anywhere, let’s try this out.” I really wanted to do this because I had decided not to apply to graduate school. I would write every day on this bizarre typewriter thing. I didn’t even bring it – it was in the apartment that we were subletting in Kyoto.

Something must have happened – from not really wanting to take writing classes in college, thinking you were going to be an academic, to committing yourself to writing in such a serious way.

I think I was always very conscious when I was in college and made the choice to pursue a more academic track that it was in service of eventually becoming a writer. That college would be maybe the one time in my life when I would be doing something different.

You came back to the States after a year of traveling. Why did you move to San Francisco?

The three months that I was in New York working for Ralph Lauren on Korean scarf issues, I was basically doing a lot, a lot, a lot of drugs. And staying out late and getting mixed up with the wrong crowd. So I thought, I am not mature enough right now to live in New York. San Francisco seemed like a healthier place to go. And it was. At that point, last call in San Francisco was like midnight! You could not go out after midnight.

Very mature to catch yourself like that.

Definitely. I have definitely made a lot of decisions based on the realization that I will not succeed in doing what I ultimately want to do if I stay where I am. I am very aware of my weaknesses and it seemed like it was better not to be tempted.

Good move. You worked as a copywriter in San Francisco. How was that?

I had such an amazing boss, he is still a friend of mine. I would write text and give to him. I would write real text but embedded in it would be totally outlandish shit that we would both laugh at. And one time, this was terrible… I was supposed to write a timeline for this company – we were working with Esprit, and it was the early nineties so all companies were struggling. So in my timeline, I wrote: “1991, Esprit is circled by vultures of financial doom…” He grabbed this thing without looking at it and gave it to the president of the company! He came back, saying, “Are you trying to get us both fired?!” He was so mad! Understandably…

So, yeah, that is how I entertained myself as a copywriter.

Were you writing fiction at night?

That is why I left San Francisco – it was too much fun in a different kind of way. I think I had the best group of friends that I ever had in my life there. For lack of a better word, they were lifestyle artists.

There is a Swedish word for that: livskonstnär. It means life artist, someone who makes their life into an art.

You’re kidding me! That’s what they were. It’s an amazing word.

So I was surrounded by these lifestyle artists. For example, this one guy was a writer and wrote a Shakespearean play that was to be performed at a dinner party, and he wrote parts for all of us, so it was sort of biographical…of course someone had found a dentist chair on the sidewalk that weighed like four billion pounds, and it was taken upstairs to the living room so that the king of the play could sit in the dentist chair. It was incredible!! But that’s where people’s creative energies were going. And mine as well. I just got caught up in it. Like, We are going to throw the most entertaining, unique parties! They were not just parties, they were events, experiences, a lot of them took place outside on obscure beaches that you had to hike to. It was phenomenal. But I was writing nothing.

So, again, I thought, I’ve got to get out of here. I’m having too much fun, I’m never going to write if I don’t put myself on a stricter social diet. And so, I decided to move back here [to New York]. I was older at that point and I was not tempted by the same things any longer. And I came here for grad school. I was spending a lot of money. There was going to be no fucking around this time.

Where did you end up living, up by the Columbia campus?

I have always been a little bit of a real estate snob – I would spend 99% of my income in order to live in a place that makes me happy. So, I got here, and Columbia had assigned me a place to live up by campus. I went upstairs and took one look at the place. It was so horrific! There was this tiny space that was too small for a couch or anything and that was the common area. Then there was this tiny, tiny artery of a hallway off of which there were four tiny bedrooms with, literally, like an infirmary cot that you were meant to sleep on. I got there, I lay on the cot, I cried for, like, an hour. And then I was like, “Alright, what am I going to do? This isn’t happening.”

I had a friend from Maine who lived downtown. I had her number, I called her and I said, “I need help, I will live anywhere, I am open to anything, but not here.” And she was like, “Well, I am currently squatting in one of the most incredible places in New York.” And you can never go there or see it because it is located in the center of a block in Little Italy. All the apartment buildings have been built around it, so in order to get inside you have to walk in through an apartment building and out the back of it. It’s like a three-story, brick, stand-alone house that is actually totally leaning and about to fall over.

Were you actually squatting?

It belonged to this woman who was married to a film dude. The film dude was always traveling. She was this super generous salon:y kind of party girl and she invited whomever to sleep wherever in this house. So I slept in a bed with my friend Rebecca and you’d wake up in the morning and there would just be the cokey, dusty remnants of whatever had been going on.

Where is this crazy place?

It’s on the block between Mott and Elizabeth, on Prince. It’s like a landmark. It’s the oldest building down there. It was really incredible.

But you weren’t there for long before you found a place of your own.

We found a place, a loft. The interview process was so bizarre. There were two dudes who were real estate developer guys, but they had pretenses to artiness or they wanted to just be near artists or be associated with them somehow. They seemed like they were a gay couple or maybe should have been and hadn’t realized themselves that they should. So, we had to interview with them and prove that we were artists so that we could rent this loft from them.

New York housing market, never ceases to surprise. And life as a grad student at Columbia, what was that like?

I often tell people that, for me, it was a very misguided way to go to grad school. ‘Cause I am a little bit of a debt-phobe.

Fair enough.

Right? And I think I knew that my life wouldn’t be yielding a lot of money. I couldn’t write if I owed a lot of money because I’d have to take a job that would infringe upon that freedom. And Columbia is not the smartest place to go if you don’t want to go into a lot of debt. So, I ended up having like fourteen gazillion jobs. In the two years I was there, I went to one student reading. I couldn’t go! I literally worked every night. So I was essentially a non-presence. I went to my classes but that is essentially all I did.

But you met people there.

Yes, of course I did meet amazing people there. Two of whom I quote unquote went into business with later in life, Vendela Vida and Ed Park. So, yeah, I wasn’t a total ghost. I had friends but I just didn’t have much of a social life with the people up there.

I don’t want to say it was a missed opportunity, but I didn’t get any writing done, let’s just put it that way. So, strangely, when I finished school I was like, “Ah! Now I can write!” From ‘95 to ‘98 I wrote during the day and waited tables at the night.

At this point, you were a graduate of both Dartmouth and Columbia. For outsiders who didn’t quite understand, it must have looked like you were “just” waitressing. Did you ever feel pressure to justify your choices?

It was nice when I was at Columbia because when I waited tables on people from college who had just sold their start-up for ten billion dollars, I could say, “Well, I’m at grad school at Columbia.” But then, when you’re not at grad school at Columbia anymore, you can’t say that. Then you’re just waiting tables.

But I do think, and I’ve said this to students: it is about taking your own psychological temperature. What circumstances must you create for yourself that will enable you to pursue this to the utmost of your abilities? Obviously with the understanding that we all have to make a living and there are certain necessities that we have to accommodate. So, for me, it just seemed that the no-safety-net option was the best way to freak me out enough that I would write every day. Because every day I didn’t write, I was only a waitress. You know?

What was life like?

It was great! I made so much money! Do you realize how much money you make as a waitress here? I worked until five in the morning often. If you had the late shift, the twelve to five shift, you could go home with four hundred dollars in just tips.

And it enabled me to leave. I never spent a summer here, I would always take the summers off. One summer I followed another guy to Morocco. Another summer I went back to San Francisco.

While you were waitressing, you got a very big first book contract.

I got very, very lucky, yes. I was blonde, I was cute, I was young. Right? I appeared promising. [Laughs.] So they gave me a ridiculous amount of money.

500,000 dollars is a ridiculous amount of money.

It was huge. And I was very aware when I got it that this would never happen again! I tell my students that, I gave them the talk at the end of the semester and said: You will never be as desired as you are right now. Your first book, your out of the gate debut. So don’t despair, the world wants you!

Tell me about the process. What happened?

It’s kind of like if it happened in a novel it would seem totally implausible and cheesy. But the cheesy reality was that I had actually put a little bit of a limit on my waitressing life. I had said, “When I turn thirty, I am going to start looking for other ways to sustain myself that will also enable me to write.” I felt it was time to plan my next move. In the interest of my next move, I decided I was going to be a wine writer. So I was taking a Sommelier class, which I loved. The class was held at Windows on the World. We would go up there every week and we would have breaks between the hours. And there were payphones there. I had published a story in Esquire and I had a partial novel, like 50 pages of a book. And so my agent essentially used that opportunity, while the [Esquire] issue was on the stands, to send out this excerpt.

Here is how it happened: I am at Windows on the World. It is my thirtieth birthday.

No!

Yes!

I take my break, and I go and call my agent to find out what is going on, because it had been sent out and there was going to be an auction. And he said we got this preemptive offer from the woman I actually wanted to work with. Yeah, and that was that.

You went back to that Sommelier class and were like—

See you later!!

I actually didn’t quit waitressing for quite some time after that because I think I didn’t quite believe it was going to happen. You know? It was amazing but it was also completely terrifying! Because I had never written a novel before, and now I had to write one.

From that point, have you only worked jobs that were directly writing related – writing books or teaching?

Yes. Writing books and teaching. And then I started The Believer with Ed [Park] and Vendela [Vida].

Tell me about that.

That was totally random. I met Dave Eggers when I published my story in Esquire, because he was an editor at Esquire. I stayed in touch with him. There came this point in 2002, when there were all these really crummy-spirited reviews coming out about fiction. And it seemed like a kind of nadir to critically discuss in a public forum how fiction was working or not working. These reviews had almost taken on the form of attacks on the author. Almost as if to suggest, maybe rightly, that no one cared about reviews anymore and that the only way to keep people’s interests was to roll in these bitchy elements.

So I had written to Dave about how this was upsetting. Then he sent an email that just said, “Well, we should start a new book review.” I thought he meant McSweeney’s should start a new book review and I said, “You guys should totally do that.” And he wrote back, “Okay, it’s yours. You’re on.” And that was essentially it.

Working with McSweeney’s and with Dave is this amazing experience where you just dive in and swim and no one is holding your hand. And Dave is, I think, really savvy because he hires people who are comfortable with that kind of no-guidance guidance. And so I just took a crash course, essentially, of my own devising. What is a magazine? How do you start one? [Laughs.]

How did Vendela and Ed come into to the picture?

They came on very quickly. Because Vendela was already conceiving of a long-form interviews magazine. She’d worked at the Paris Review, she loved the Paris Review interview as a form and wanted to have a magazine that was entirely about that. We realized when we were discussing things that these two should be together. So that was that. Then we thought, We need a third person. And we asked Ed.

From there on it was learning as you went.

Yeah, we all had to figure it out. But what was really crucial, what made this all possible, is that the production side of things was completely taken care of. I see people now starting magazines and I think, “That’s the nightmare.” The production, the distribution…all that stuff that I still don’t know anything about, quite honestly. I have no idea how The Believer is distributed, I don’t know! It was all in place, we just slid into this machine that already existed. So, yes, we had to find writers and develop our style and our identity, but the nuts and bolts of the operation were already in place.

All of a sudden you’re editing this new venture, you have book contracts going on, and you’re teaching…Life became very different for you in a pretty short period of time.

I got a book contract when I was 30, The Believer was started in 2002, so it was four years later, two years after my book came out. The time before all that felt long and horrible. I see my grad students who are in their twenties and I think, I would never want to be you!! I know I’m supposed to romanticize my youth, but those ten years…I don’t romanticize them and I don’t miss them.

Well, is there anything you would tell your twenty-something self?

You will turn thirty soon, and it will be better! [Laughs.]

Now a lot of my grad students are so much more focused, so on the ball. I guess I wasn’t.

I don’t know about that, it sounds like you constantly made a lot of difficult and deliberate decisions in order to stay on track.

I guess so. I think it just took me a much longer time. I see people in their twenties who know what they’re writing, who know who they are. I feel like I didn’t actually figure that out until my second novel. I was thirty-two when I started writing that and thirty-five when I finished it. So, I feel like I developed a little later as a writer than a lot of writers seem to today.

It’s hard for anyone to compare themselves to someone like Karen Russell, or Wells Tower…but a lot of these people, when they were in grad school they were already working in the mode that they ended up working in later. I still didn’t know what the hell I was doing, I really didn’t. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing with my first book! I consider that my bastard stepchild. I don’t regret having published it because I think it has created a certain challenge for me as a writer, but I do feel as though it has taken me three books to dig myself out of that perception of who I am as a writer.

To others?

Yes. I could be wrong about that, but after this book [The Vanishers], I finally feel like I am understood the way I understand myself.

You are now married to the writer Ben Marcus. But you were married once before.

Yes. When I was waiting tables, I got married.

First marriages are very useful in that they can really put into stark relief what you need in a mate. Not just emotionally, but in terms of your own personal passions in life. And my first husband was one of the most fun people I have ever known, so imaginative and eccentric and loveable. But the irresolvable issue between us was that I would want to go away for a month to a writing colony or something. And that was a challenge for him. That I would leave our life.

He was a writer too?

He was a writer too, but he didn’t need the same stretches of aloneness that I needed. I am in fact leaving for McDowell for three weeks in three days. And Ben [Marcus], my current husband and I, we can always say: “I just need to get out of here for a moment.” First of all, there’s no sense that your work is somehow threatening your marriage or more important than your marriage – it’s a part of your marriage. It’s a part of why you love this person.

We are people who really understand the need sometimes to get away from your relationship – and that is not because your relationship isn’t amazing, it’s just because you need some headspace and the only way to achieve that is to leave your life for a while.

Tell me how your work habits have changed since having kids.

Well, I am way more focused because I just don’t have that much time. And you have the added incentive that every hour is costing you 14 dollars. You are paying 14 dollars to be sitting at your desk, how do you want to justify that expenditure? The sleep deprivation part is hard. And there is a lot of brainspace that is occupied with the most mundane shit, and that can put you into this kind of neural pattern that is very opposite to the place you want your brain to be. It just feels very checklist:y.

And that has necessitated even more than ever that both Ben and I get the fuck out. Honestly, I hadn’t been to a colony in ten years. Because we got this house in Maine and we thought, This is our colony. Before we had kids. But then we had kids, and we thought: We have kids, we can’t go to a colony now! But I went two years ago for the first time in ten years. I basically cried every day I was there. [Laughs.] I would go up to the director and cry and just say, “Thank you so much!”

You weren’t missing your kids?

I wasn’t missing them at all, not even a little bit! I hadn’t had that kind of dedicated headspace since I had kids, where I would wake up and not think, “Oh my god, did I do the laundry?” Because my daughter only wears one pair of pants. So, if those pants aren’t clean, she won’t wear anything, and then she’s going to have a tantrum, and then I’m going to have to deal with that, so that by nine o’clock in the morning I am going to be so psychically drained that I am not going to be able to do any work. So not having to think about the mundane checklist reality of life with children made me cry with gratitude.

I think they must have really thought I was on the verge of some kind of breakdown when I was there. But I really was joyously crying. I felt so ridiculous saying it to anybody, but it was how I felt. I would say, “I feel like an artist again.” [Laughs.]

Do you have any advice for young writers hoping to make it in this big, scary world?

I would say, read a lot of writer biographies. I say I would say, but last night I was reading that Joan Didion piece [in Political Fictions] about Newt Gingrich, and apparently Newt Gingrich recommends that people read a lot of biographies about, say, rich people if you want to be rich. So at the risk of sounding like Newt Gingrich, I’ll stick by my advice— read biographies about writers. Even writers you don’t want to write like, even writers who had tragedy-ridden, miserable personal lives that few would want to emulate. Because there’s no clear path to becoming “a writer,” I found it reassuring and instructive to overload my brain on the myriad possible routes that others had blazed.

Interview by Astri von Arbin Ahlander

Photo by Jill Goldman

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5 Responses to Heidi Julavits

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  3. (ms) Julie Kilmartin says:

    Reiche School, Gr 2 Teacher, Portland, ME
    So exciting to see your name on the spine of The Uses of Enchatment. I brought it over to show the librarians and they smiled politely. When I got home (Sudbury,MA/Peaks Island in summer) I emailed Priscilla Webster. She told me of your books a few years ago when you were speaking at the Portland Library. I had an appoinyment in MA & sadly couldn’t attend.
    I’m so happy to read of your successful writing career And know it will continue . Now I’m going to settle down And read. I would love to hear from you and if your Maine home is anywhere near mine we can have lunch and talk in person. Julie

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