Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

I fret about any piece of writing I get into, because nothing you do in the past is going to do the next thing, even when you’re in your 80s.

I would never sit down and think I was about to turn out something good.

Quite the opposite.

~ John McPhee, “What I Think: John McPhee” (Princeton University, September 17, 2017)

John McPhee, 86,  received the Pulitzer Prize for his book “Annals of the Former World” in 1999. In the same year, McPhee received the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching from Princeton. He was rejected by The New Yorker for 15 years and eventually became a staff writer for The New Yorker for over 50 years, where much of the content of his 32 books originally appeared.


  • Source: Lori Ferguson – Princeton Grad. Word magician. Writer extraordinaire. Thank you for sharing this inspiration interview.
  • Portrait of John McPhee from Longreads


  1. amazing humble demeanor. his unshakeable persistence and talent finally won out.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I recognise the feeling and sentiment. Each piece of writing, each painting in my case – is like starting from the beginning again!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow great and such a wonderful looking person too. Great post, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 32 books!?! 👏 Amazing effort and persistence.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A veritable force of nature. I never cease to marvel at his commitment to his craft or his humility. Truly an inspiration. So glad that you enjoyed the piece as much as I did, DK!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Would that insecurity and persistence only go hand in hand with writing…I kinda live this daily!😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. He has a nice smile too! Love those shining eyes 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. And those early writing rejections…always a surprise. Interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I like the Joy on his face…interesting advice ” eventually became a staff writer for The New Yorker for over 50 years, where much of the content of his 32 books originally appeared.” – so I say Dave, like others have suggested, too – your content for your book is here in your blog already, written…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Has anyone read McPhee’s THE PINE BARRENS? I’m in central New Jersey, and this area is about an hour east of me. He is given credit for “saving” it–you know how we Americans seem to abhor unspoiled land! He’s such a natural, easy to read writer. Thanks for this, David–just picked up my old copy to look at again.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great collaboration, you two.

    Liked by 1 person

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