You’re Married to HER?


Essays by Ira Wood

Praise for You’re Married to HER?:

 

“Saucy, sexy stories. A raucous romp through a novelist’s life.” -Kirkus Reviews

 

“Charming and witty, thanks to Wood’s intimate tone and keen gift of observation.” -Publishers Weekly

 

Fearless, gregarious, frequently humble and hysterical… I have no problem placing Ira Wood on the same pedestal we’ve placed Dave Barry and David Sedaris. Yes, he’s that good.” The Barnstable Patriot

 

“Hilarious. This slim collection of true accounts penned by a confirmed ne’er-do- well will provoke laughs, chuckles, and even the odd scream of outrage.”
-Foreword Magazine (Five Star Review)

 

“You’re Married to Her? feels in many ways like a second coming of A Fan’s Notes — a sharp, biting, unceasingly funny collection of thirteen essays and a brief epilogue that, for all their pith, are still rendered with such compassion that we cannot help but read on.” Fifth Wednesday Journal

 

“It was the cover illustration that drew us to this delightful little book – one look at that quirky pumpkin headshot was all we needed to know this was a book for us! And we weren’t disappointed: if you’re a fan of David Sedaris, you’ll enjoy Ira Wood’s brazenly self-skewering narrative.” —The Vancouver Public Library, 10 New Books We Love

 

You’re Married to HER? is a hilariously brazen memoir, a raucous and richly detailed saga of one man’s erotic pratfalls en route to a marriage made in heaven inside a Garden of Earthly Delights. Ira Wood lets his delirious inner Portnoy off its leash, no holds barred, and what a romp! His past life, loves, tribulations, and remarkable sustainability are a blessed antidote to all that currently ails us. It’s really fun, laugh-outloud, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s f**king delightful.”
John Nichols, Author of The Sterile Cuckoo and The Milagro Beanfield War

 

As the anti-Vietnam war movement drew to a close, a 26-year-old unknown playwright began an affair with a glamorous older woman, a feminist activist and acclaimed poet/novelist. What she saw in a neurotic, sexually naïve, poorly educated but very sweet guy was apparent to no one, especially him. In a wildly self-skewering but oddly sympathetic narrative voice, Wood reimagines his early years with Marge Piercy in a series of chronologically linked essays, never failing to raise the question that few failed to ask, You’re Married to HER?

With the brazen candor of Toby Young’s How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, and the wicked lunacy of David Sedaris, Wood tells tales of his first true love, who he told his parents were dead; his disastrous affairs; his childhood dependence on speed; running for public office on a lark—and winning—only to find himself responsible for the government of a small town. Thirty years later he’s still married to HER, confident enough to share, and laugh at, what men do when their behavior slips to the level of their self-esteem.

 

More Advance Praise:

 

“In his comic autobiography You’re Married to HER? Ira Wood takes us on a raucous, hilarious, bawdy, no-holds-barred ride though the life of a mid-list writer tormented by a catastrophic imagination and an insatiable sex drive. This is not just a funny book: it’s a darkly funny, wildly confessional, beautifully constructed description of an ordinary guy written as if it were a collaboration between Jean Jacques Rousseau, Robin Williams, and Woody Allen. I laughed from first page to last and couldn’t put it down.”
—Mary Mackey, Author of The Widow’s War

 

“Ira Wood is the funniest essayist I’ve read since Woody Allen. He is delightful company, wickedly observant, and capable of saying almost anything, though never with malice. In You’re Married to Her? Wood targets everything from small-town politics to the men’s movement to the publishing industry, but his favorite bulls-eye is himself. He tumbles through a lifetime of misadventures—call it sex, drugs and safety roll–yet somehow lands on his feet. Indeed, this is more than wit; this is hard-earned wisdom, a memoir of rare intelligence, honesty and integrity.”
—Martín Espada, Author of The Republic of Poetry

 

“In this ribald memoir, Ira Wood takes us inside his marriage to a famous writer. Along the way, he makes it abundantly clear why a woman like Marge Piercy would fall in love with him. Wood is a lively raconteur, and he has some damned funny stories to tell about his life as the ‘younger man.’”
—Pagan Kennedy, Author of Black Livingstone

 

Read a Review from The Provincetown Banner

Read a Review from Foreword Magazine

Read a Review from The Barnstable Patriot

Read a Review from Fifth Wednesday Journal

Read the Interview in ForeWord Magazine

Read an article from The Cape Cod Chronicle

Read a sample chapter: Mr. Nappy, The Artist

 

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction / Humor
PAGES: 208 – Also Available as an e-book

ISBN: 978-1-935248-25-5
PRICE: $15.95
Pub Date: August 2012


The Kitchen Man


The Kitchen Man
A Novel by Ira Wood

 

“In this delightful, laugh-out-loud first novel, Gabe Rose, the brash Jewish waiter with a play in his pocket, is looking for his big chance. Where else to find it but at the gilded, overpriced tables of Boston’s fanciest restaurant, where crooked politicians, tight Old Money, preppies, parvenus and, of course, the stars come to dine on yesterday’s fish under tonight’s hollandaise? Under-30 Gabe contrives to meet over-40 Cynthia Kagan, a tough, sexy playwright-director, big in feminist circles…Plot and character are pas de deux under Wood’s fast-stepping, always engaging choreography, but how to explain all the sharp and colorful, emotionally honest, sometimes heart-grabbing ensemble work? Besides the fun, The Kitchen Man is about love and loyalty outside conventional categories of age, gender and body proportions, a gamey kind of You Can’t Take It With You with extremely recognizable people.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

“Fresh, vital…totally convincing…Mr. Wood has a special gift for heartwarming comedy.”
—The New York Times Book Review

 

NOVEL
$14.95 Trade Paperback
ISBN 0-9654578-3-4
306 Pages/ 6 x 9


Storm Tide


Storm Tide
Storm Tide is a novel of lost dreams, fiery politics, and consuming passion.

 

At a very young age, David Greene, the guy with the incredible pitching arm, saw his dreams of playing in the majors almost fulfilled. But he never made it out of the minor leagues. Now, divorced, with a son he’s not allowed to see, David returns to the shores of his hometown, the small Cape Cod hamlet of Saltash, once a local hero, now a failure. There he meets Judith Silver, a beautiful, brilliant lawyer, and her husband, the eminent professor Gordon Stone – an imposing presence much older than Judith, a living legend now dying of cancer. These two prominent members of the community befriend, nurture, and eventually push David to run for political office. As David considers the proposition, he and Judith fall into a passionate affair. It is a liaison that does not go unnoticed by Gordon, who, curiously, tacitly allows it to unfold. Gordon is more concerned with the election at hand – which pits his candidate, David, against the powerful man who virtually runs the town. Into this explosive mix, a young woman appears – a single mother at the end of her emotional rope.

Crystal desperately needs David, and her son provides a seductive way into David’s heart. Yet, caught between two women, and two volatile triangles of desire and devotion, David bears witness to a heartbreaking tragedy that seems as inevitable as the push and pull of ocean waves. In Storm Tide, Piercy and Wood have produced a hypnotic story that joins richly imagined characters and a vivid New England setting with a page-turning plot.

 

Now in Paperback
Ballantine Readers Circle Edition with an Interview and Readers Guide
Fawcett Books
The Ballantine Publishing Group
ISBN 0-449-00157-1
$12.95 USA / $19.95 CANADA

 

Reviews of Storm Tide

 

The New York Times Book Review – August 23, 1998
by Ruth Coughlin
When young David Greene leaves his hometown on Cape Cod, he’s headed for what he imagines will be a big career with the Chicago Cubs. Fifteen years later, having failed in both baseball and marriage, he returns to the picturesque village of Saltash, seemingly a man with neither ambition nor purpose. Then along comes Judith Silver, a brilliant and gorgeous lawyer who is married to Gordon Stone, an eminent sociologist, known for his many marriages and his liberal politics. Stone, who is terminally ill, urges Judith not only to have an affair with David but also to persuade him to run for a seat on the Board of Selectmen, going up against wily Johnny Lynch, an old-time pol who has controlled the town for decades. Much to his astonishment, David wins the election, later becoming involved with a wildly seductive and troubled you woman who works for Lynch. Narrated from the alternating perspectives of David, Judith and Johnny, “Storm Tide” is the collaborative effort of the husband-and-wife team of Marge Piercy, a poet and novelist, and Ira Wood, a novelist, playwright and teacher. But the book itself speaks with one powerful voice, moving inexorably toward tragedy even as it offers a hint of redemption.

 

The Los Angeles Times – June 24, 1998
Churning Up a Coastal Town’s Demons
by Thomas Curwen
“What did it feel like to die this way?” we’re asked to imagine at the beginning. “They said her hair was encrusted with seaweed and crabs… They say she must have struggled to free herself, that as she grabbed at the grass her efforts only increased the suction of the mud. They still call it an accidental death.” Welcome to Saltash, Mass, a small town made instantly smaller by local elections. David Green just ran for selectman against a school teacher set up by town boss Johnny Lynch. Green was recruited by lynch’s foes and had an affair with the wife of Lynch’s longtime nemesis. But that was before he met Crystal Sinclair.Sex and politics, as we know, are a combustible mix. Find them in a small town and you have the making of a firestorm. Place them in a novel and you have the makings of a cliché. It’s all a matter of how you control the burn, and Marge Piercy and Ira Wood know how to play with fire. Wood, in previous novels, proved himself a deft, if sometimes uneven, storyteller, and Piercy, in her poems and novels, is an impassioned, if sometimes rhetorical, stylist. In “Storm Tide,” they’ve dropped all the sometimes – es and delivered a confident page-burner. Green and Lynch run into each other over the dike that Lynch built 30 years ago to keep back the tides and drain the land, turning a shellfish field into a housing tract. Its opponents want part of the estuary restored; Lynch wants more homes. Green’s undecided, and Piercy and Wood wisely show that politics, no matter the slant or civility, do nothing to ease fear and fear sharpens the acrimony. A Jew in a WASP’s nest, Green’s moment of fame was as the Sandy Koufax of the local high school baseball team. Recruited by the Cubs, he was let go after a disappointing round in the minors. At 32, broke, divorced and estranged from his son, David returned to Saltash, a little adrift. Old dreams also haunt Lynch. Gone are the days when his authority went unquestioned, when respect and consent were the price for a cord of wood or a driveway plowed to your door, and he blames Gordon Stone for devaluing his stock. Stone lives apart from the town and is dying of lung cancer. His fourth wife, Judith Silver, is half his age, and together they enlist David in the cause – and a little more. At first, David’s wary of consensual adultery, but Piercy and Wood make a case for it. “We do what we want,” Judith explains. “Everybody’s honest. Nobody gets hurt. What is the problem?” the question’s smartly drawn, coming from a woman who loves her husband, a man worried about her future when he’s gone. But the entanglement drives David into the arms of Crystal sinclair, prodigal daughter of Saltash, home now with her 8-year-old-son and more baggage than she can carry. “I’m your anything girl,” she eagerly tells David.Sex is played like a weapon in “Storm Tide,” and david’s a perfect target. A pawn in Crystal’s bed, he forgets Judith and throws any doubt into the campaign, and by the time the good people of Saltash chose their selectman, Piercy and Wood have turned the town inside out. On the night of Rosh Hashanah, a storm tide rises, and the next day, a body is found in the marsh. The death is ruled accidental, but everyone played a role in this tragedy.What threatens to go adrift in “Storm Tide” is deftly weighted to the histories that Piercy and Wood provide their characters. Few steps are mistaken. Crystal’s desperation becomes the story of a mother, frightened for her son, struggling to hold on to a world that threatens to wash away. And a simplistic dialectic – the debate over the dike – grows into a picture of economic uncertainty and material doubt.In an afterward, Piercy and Wood, who are married, describe the experience writing “Storm tide.” Collaboration, they tell us, “requires being able to detach from your own preconceptions and actually listen to the other person’s motives.” It is a process that makes “Storm Tide” a satisfying blend of sex and politics. If only real life were so honestly realized.

 

Kirkus Reviews – April 15, 1998
Two noted writers (Piercy’s many novels include City of Darkness, City of Light, 1996, and The Longings of Women, 1994; Wood is the author of Going Public, 1991) combine to write a seamless coming-of-age story in which a man must confront his past, his enemies, and the results of a tragic accident before he can finally settle into a new life. The story of David Greene, a native of Saltash, Cape Cod, is narrated in turn by David; by Judith Silver, a lawyer, and his advisor and lover; and by Johnny Lynch, the old politician who runs the town. While David is from Saltash, he has never really been a part of it; the townspeople, fearing and distrusting outsiders, had little to do with his Jewish family when he was growing up and still keeps David and summer people like Judith and her dying husband Gordon, a noted academic, at arm’s length. Johnny, in fact, has played cunningly on this fear of outsiders to keep himself in power. David has now returned to Saltash after his marriage and his career in baseball have both ended. His life seems to be going nowhere until Judith and Gordon suggest he try politics. He does, and in the process begins to fall in love with Judith, who now practices in Saltash, and also finds himself being dangerously attracted to troubled single mother Crystal, who, with her lonely son Laramie, insinuates her way into his life. But Johnny fights dirty, and David, though elected, has to deal not only with the two women who love him but with Johnny’s sly machinations. A storm and horrible accident help David realize that he can face down Johnny and that Saltash-and Judith-mean something essential to him. A wise tale, in a vividly rendered setting, of men and women learning to live and love more fully.

 

Booklist – April 15, 1998 
by Brad Hooper

Piercy’s latest novel was written in partnership with her writer husband, but the reader would never know that their book is the result of a collaboration. It is a carefully, artfully, and more relevant to the process of its creation, seamlessly told story about a man named David Greene, who, after his career in professional baseball, returns to his Cape Cod hometown, Saltash. There, David runs a landscaping business with his sister; he gets involved with a married woman, a successful lawyer, who is the wife of a distinguished older man who is dying of cancer; and he is pulled into running for local selectman. Then a fragile single mother comes into his life, and David stumbles into an affair with her, too; he comes to have great affection not for her but for her son. His self-admitted “tangled sex life” leads to the death of one of his mistresses, but not before the reader is totally engrossed in this stylish depiction of small-town politics, sexual vulnerability, insecurity of the heart, and good old-fashioned guilt.


Going Public


A Novel by Ira Wood

 

“A wickedly delicious and very modern romance full of wit, common sense, and real love.”
—Alice Hoffman

 

Corey Richardson lives the American dream of success. The son of a Cape Cod fisherman, he struggles to pull his Cambridge, Massachusetts, computer business out of the red. But when his original software design rockets onto the bestseller charts, the scale of his dreams and his sense of himself alter drastically.

The two women in his life are as different as earth and fire. Angela—with whom he shared early sexual awakening—has sacrificed her ambitions to her family, only to become the past he would rather forget. Marla Whitman, a modern executive woman, never comes between Corey and his work but encourages him to work harder. He knows that she is exactly the kind of lover a man in his position deserves.

Told through the intimate thoughts of Corey, Marla, and Angela, Going Public is a wry and perceptive novel where the price of success and the debt of dreams meet for a glimpse of ourselves and the beat of our lives.

 

“A sharp novel about the perverse linkage of romance and status…Wood uses sentiment without sentimentality to show the warts-and-all of modern romance.”
Publishers Weekly

 

“The sensibility behind this comic novel is all It’s a Wonderful Life, but updated to account for today’s divorce rate, sexual liberation, compulsive career grubbing, and good kids who nonetheless pierce each ear five times. The characters are quirky and loveable. A sweet bet of a love story.”
Kirkus Reviews


So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction and Memoir – with Marge Piercy


The second edition of the critically acclaimed writing lecture and sourcebook based on the worskshops that Piercy has given (with her husband, the publisher Ira Wood) around the country at universities and such venues as the Esalen and Omega Institutes.

Marge Piercy & Ira Wood

The “Best Book of the Year” for Writers Selection
—The Writer Magazine

 

In a Revised New Edition, Bigger and Better Than Ever

 

 

A Featured Selection of the Writer’s Digest Book Club; chosen by The Writer Magazine as a Best Book of the Year for Writers; compared by the American Library Association’s BookList to Strunk and White’s classic The Elements of Style; acclaimed by critics, students and teachers, and adopted by universities across the country, the unique collaboration between a major American novelist and a cutting-edge publisher is back in a revised second edition, bigger and better than ever.

The most useful and entertaining writing book on the market, the updated second edition has new exercises and expanded essays, covering every aspect of writing and publishing fiction and memoir:

• How to begin a piece so that a reader can’t put it down,
• How to create compelling, multi-dimensional characters,
• How professional writers use dialog to carry the load of their story telling,
• How to narrow a strategy for telling the story of your life,
• How to write about painful material without coming off as a victim,
• How to use description to intensify plot,
• How to solve complicated problems of view point,
• How to pin point the problems that keep getting your work rejected,
• How to create an absorbing plot that keeps pace until the end.

Included are hundreds of insider tips, such as:

• The seven most important things to remember when writing about loved ones,
• The ten most destructive things writers do to thwart their careers,
• What no one will tell you about rejection letters,
• FAQ’s about agents and how much writers really earn,
• Writing professional query letters,
• What to do if your work is continually rejected by New York publishers.

 

Why a second edition and what’s new in it?

 

So You Want to Write is based on a living workshop, one that’s given to hundreds of writers a year. Because the workshop is entirely interactive, it has changed over time to reflect the many different questions participating writers are asking and the newest information in the publishing world.

Critics, writing teachers, students in creative writing departments and writers who continue to study their craft in worskhops, were telling us that So You Want to Write was simply one of the best writing tools on the market. They told us that the book was personal, that it reflected real-world information about publishing, and that it explained the nuts and bolts of literature for a generation that had seen far more movies that had read books. When we sold out our entire first edition we decided that rather than simply reprint, we’d update it completely.

What’s New?

• A New Chapter on Writing Short Stories,
• A New Chapter on Writing Humor,
• An Entire Chapter on How Not to Write Like A Victim,
• A Chapter Dedicated to Choosing a Selling Title,
• A New Chapter on Genre Writing: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery and Historical Fiction,
• A Chapter Detialing the Worst Career Mistakes A Writers Can Make,
• Over 30 New Exercises,
• New Examples to Illustrate Concepts,
• Updated FAQ’s to Reflect What’s Going on in Publishing Now,
• A New Chapter on the Realities of Achieving Fame,
• Plus, updates of the book’s most popular chapters on: Description, Dialog, Characterization, Research, Viewpoint, Beginnings.

Don’t Take Our Word for It. Hear What People Are Saying About the Book:

“SO YOU WANT TO WRITE
  is a lively, informative, and down-to-earth guide for anyone who’s ever thought of writing and publishing a novel, story, or personal memoir.  It answers all the questions you  may have—as well as many you didn’t think of!”
– Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize Winning Novelist, Professor of English & Creative Writing at Cornell University

Marge Piercy and Ira Wood have been around the block plenty of times, stubbornly making their living out of a love of writing. And a tough living it is, too. While bestselling authors can make megabucks, most writers earn their bread the hard way: “$124,000, and it took four years of my life.” You do the math. Nevertheless, Wood and Piercy do not discourage the artist; instead they nurture with motherly advice on agents, and bittersweet tales, such as the story of “Kitchen Man”, Wood’s exemplary novel (excerpted in the appendix) that goes from campus favorite to out-of-print remainder in that too-short life cycle for so many excellent books.
There exercises, some to polish dialog, and my favorite exercise, a sort of checklist to get to know your characters that reads like a questionnaire for a dating service! There are anecdotes about other famous writing coaches, such as the story of a short novel that goes from coach Maxine Kumin to Joyce Carol Oates. Kunin advises the author that the work is going to be a short novella. “No, it’s a short novel of 180 pages” declares Oates. When the manuscript was finished, Joyce then tells the author “Treat this as if you are going to die. And this is what you will leave behind.” Pithy. Meaningful. This is good writing coaching. This is a warm, wonderful book especially for the memoir or fiction writer.
Joanna Daneman, AMAZON.COM TOP TEN REVIEWER

CRITICAL RAVES FOR SO YOU WANT TO WRITE:

A Selection of the Writer’s Digest Book Club
A ‘Best Book of the Year for Writers’ Selection of The Writer Magazine
Best Book of the Year Finalist — Foreword Magazine 

“This is a great book, no matter what stage of writing you’re at – whether you’re just dabbling with ideas that have been rolling around your head for years, or whether you are sending out 20 query letters a day and have three completed manuscripts in your bottom desk drawer.”
The Writer Magazine

“A how-to written by a popular novelist and a successful publisher, this fine book is a distillation of the wisdom they have accumulated and dispensed over the years. The focus here is on technique. They start at the beginning with story openings and move smoothly through character building, the importance of dialogue and plot, and how to craft compelling narrative passages.”
Booklist 

“Those not lucky enough to have participated in the workshops can now benefit from their no-nonsense wisdom. Eschewing the current trend in process-based writing classes and guides, Piercy and Wood urge writers to read critically and read often; to ask themselves specific, exacting questions about their characters and plots; to complete the book’s writing exercises; to do research in order to make a piece of writing believable; to participate in some community of writers; and numerous other practical steps. Readers will appreciate the hardcore approach of these two dedicated writers.”
Publishers Weekly

“The authors conduct well-known writing seminars, and they have put much of this information into book form. They address all the elements of successful writing. They also go into work habits, overcoming the “inner censor” and dealing with publishers. A good primer for new writers; a fine reference book for any writer.”
— The Tampa Tribune

“Best-selling writer Piercy and novelist/publisher Wood have been co-teaching writers workshops for years and have reproduced their master course in this useful manual. The two authors encourage would-be writers to read as much as possible (included is a list of recommended books) as reading plays the key role in the process of learning how to write. Their exercises are short and to the point, just enough to get the juices flowing. This book, although joining an already saturated market is worth the shelf space.”
Library Journal

“Seamless and exceptionally engaging … a valuable tool for the apprentice in search of practical advice on the craft of fiction and memoir writing from accomplished novelists.”
 ForeWord 

“This new column, The Writing Life, helps to choose the best [of the how-to-write books] … Writers seriously looking to have their work published should pick up So You Want to Write. Wood’s advice on getting your work published is extremely helpful and worth the cost of the book alone.”
The St. Petersburg Times