Author can be contacted directly for talks and signings
Mac Nelson was born at an early age and began reading soon thereafter.
Actually, my family worried that I was slow verbally. I almost never spoke or imitated, until one evening I said “Grandfather, look at the moon,” a polished, complete sentence from an eighteen-month old, and that amiable gentleman almost dropped me. It was he who taught me to read from the local newspaper, the Barry [Illinois] Adage, the same paper Floyd Dell wrote he’d learned to read from. On my very first day in school I was given a reading test--I remember it was about bunnies--and I spent the afternoon of that first day in second grade, scared shitless of all the big kids.
I got over the terror and became a wide and voracious reader. (I still
am.) There weren’t many books in our house, but there was the Harvard U “five foot shelf,” the fifty volume compendium of what middlebrow
readers with aspirations were supposed to read--Aristotle, Shakespeare,
Early literary influences include the aforementioned grandfather, his
daughter (my mother), family stories from both sides, and a lot of good
teachers, notably a demanding sixth grade teacher, Edna Grenoble, who
loved good grammar and good writing and expected both of me. As a
When I actually finish this book and market it, I may well work on another great American road. I have my eye on two: US 6 and US 41, both historic and interesting, both important in my life. TWENTY WEST grew out of my lifelong love of stories and travel, particularly of American road trips.
No book writes itself. As Red Smith wrote, writing is simple: you
just sit at the typewriter, open a vein, and bleed. And this one was
indeed a lot of work, taking me into new areas of experience. Yet, in a
way, it was the easiest of my books, because I had unknowingly been
Robert Frost put it this way in “Two Tramps in Mud time:”
But yield who will to their separation,
Mac Nelson is Distinguished Teaching Professor of English at SUNY Fredonia and coeditor (with Elizabeth Hoffman Nelson) of Telling the Stories: Essays on American Indian Literatures and Cultures and coauthor (with Diana Hume George) of Epitaph and Icon: A Field Guide to the Old Burying Grounds of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.