cover image A Broom of One's Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning, and Life

A Broom of One's Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning, and Life

Nancy Peacock, . . Harper Perennial, $13.95 (169pp) ISBN 978-0-06-135787-9

As a struggling writer, novelist Peacock (Life Without Water ) took all kinds of jobs to support herself, fantasizing about the day she'd be published and could write full-time. But after two critically acclaimed novels, not only could she not afford to quit cleaning houses for a living, she wasn't sure she wanted to. She hadn't yet developed the confidence, “the strong foundation,” to write full-time, and cleaning houses provided her with “the two things writers love more than anything else... solitude and gossip.” But Peacock offers an honest and refreshing look at what life is like for most writers, few of whom can expect to crack the bestseller lists or make it to Oprah's Book Club. She also offers an insider's look at housecleaning that may lead readers to start cleaning their own houses or, at least, be more careful about the messes they leave for their cleaning people. Peacock no longer cleans houses for a living (it began to wear her down physically); now she supplements her income by teaching. If you can't make it to North Carolina for one of her classes, she offers plenty of useful lessons here. (Apr.)