Tuesday, May 3, 2016


HALF WILD: STORIES is available now! You can buy it here, of course, or, better yet, order it from your favorite independent bookstore.

Speaking of the indies, HALF WILD has been selected as an Independent Booksellers Association's INDIES INTRODUCE book for summer/fall, 2016. You can read about the other delicious selections here.

It's also been chosen by Barnes and Noble as a "Discover Great New Writers" book for summer 2016.

And is a finalist for the 2016 New England Book Award.

Below are some kind words some very generous readers wrote about the book.

Can't wait to see you at a bookstore! See "APPEARANCES" above to find out where I'll be.

“Move over Annie Proulx, Raymond Carver, and Flannery O’Connor. Make room for Vermont’s own Robin MacArthur. Half Wild is American fiction, and American literature, at its very best.” (Howard Frank Mosher, author of Where the Rivers Flow North and God's Kingdom)

“MacArthur writes with the ear of a musician and a classic, pure command of the short story form, like a dispatch from Eudora Welty in the great north woods.” (Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise and Almost Famous Women)

Half Wild... made me feel a bittersweet nostalgia for all the possible lives I could have led. This is a beautiful and emotionally rich book and it casts a big spell.” (Diane Cook, author of Man V. Nature)

“Feral, wise, deft, elegant, luminous, Robin MacArthur’s stories inhabit a reader with shimmering wonder.” (Rick Bass, author of All The Land to Hold Us)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Child


I haven't been here for a while because I have been: consumed, amazed, altered, hard at work. The last time I was here I talked about sending my "book child" out into the world. That week turned out to be, to my utter surprise, a whirlwind, that ended with my collection of short stories, HALF WILD, being purchased by Ecco Books, an imprint of Harper Collins. I'm now working with my dream editor on that book, and on a novel, too, which I'm hoping to have a first draft of by early next summer. (HALF WILD will be published in August of 2016.)

My life has, overnight, become, something radically different than what it was before. Who knew that such things happened? I've written a fair amount about here on this blog about the struggle between parenting and artistry, and with transparency and honesty about the struggle to make a living doing what we do. My husband and I have struggled, a fair amount, up to this point, to make a living, as (caveat/clarification) artists. We're artistically inclined. Artistically driven. Uncompromising on many fronts. It means that we've lived in this unfinished house for many years, and have each been working at least three jobs at once. (Of various, part-time natures.)

But that all just shifted. I am, this year and next year, making a living as a writer. Who knew such a thing was possible?

My husband and I just installed solar panels in the field next to our house, so that we can generate all of the electricity we use, from here on out, from the sun.

My short stories bought those panels.

And those funky, beloved, green doors and windows pictured above and below? Those were salvaged when we first built our cabin. Two of them don't open. The one that does open is rotting and lacks a screen. They're all single-paned and require duct-tape, plastic, and fiberglass insulation to keep the drafts out in winter. Which means...those windows are on their way. This Thursday they'll be replaced by double-paned glass, that opens and closes, with screens to keep the bugs out in the heart of summer.

They represent a lot to me, those windows. My youth. My aesthetic sense. My chosen poverty. Those windows belong in the stories in HALF WILD, and to the characters of HALF WILD. And yet. I'm also delighted. Honored. Unbelievably grateful. To be able to make my house better, tighter, more livable. To support my family. With words. Who would have thought such a thing possible? Not me, the daughter of carpenters and bus drivers and farmers.

Every day seems a little miracle of sorts. Every day I'm grateful. And face the page with...well...as much humility and reverence as I can muster.

Be well, loves. May the fall bring its sweet and particular blessings, and your dreams manifest in one way or another.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

room, book-child

A beautiful, early May morning, sunshine already touching the budding branches of the peach tree, the seedlings in the cold frame (spinach, arugula, cilantro, carrots, kale) rising higher. Soon I'll put on my sunhat and go out into the day with Owen Cricket, but right now I'm at my desk. My desk! For those of you who have followed woodbird at all, you know this spot has been a long time coming. We began building this addition when I was pregnant with O-Cricket, who will be three at the end of the month. We poured the foundation the week before he was born. We have picked away at it (with help) in the pockets of time when we had time and/or money. And now: here it is. A room of my own. A desk of my own. A place where I go in the mornings, when I can, with a cup of tea.  I haven't built shelves yet: the books line up in piles around the room, comforting me with their presence. Oh, what effort goes into these things! What a miracle that the good ones actually get published, and into our hands. My own book will be sent off to publishers next week, in search of a home, in search of love, and so I'm comforted by such reminders. Sending your book-child off is a bit like sending your real-child off, to Florida, to the ocean where she will look for seashells and dally in the sand. Except the real-child comes home—sun-kissed, smelling of salt, and throws her arms around you. But the book-child? The book-child could go drifting out there for months, years, and never write home. Oh, book-child! The hours that are inside you. The hopes and the love that I have placed there. But enough of this...the morning is so lovely. I have an essay to write. I have a garden to water. If you're looking for books to read, I recommend these spring beauties. May your days be bright, dear ones. 


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

them mornings

Hello, dear friends. It's been a while. But this morning there is a steaming cup of tea on my sunlit (new) desk, and my children have left the house. In other words: freedom. In other words: time to make the last few changes to my book before I call it officially, and finally, done.

There's volatility in Baltimore today...and wreckage in Nepal...things are broken. May you find your way towards fixing and towards healing, with the tools you have at hand.

Also: a poem for you, by Ross Gay, here, sent to me by the always-spot-on Jennifer Bowen Hicks. I think I'll be reading it for a long time.