What is Pub Day Without Cats?

Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful messages of support on Pub Date for Le Road Trip — April 10, 2012. Just think. A mere eight months ago this was all I had:

This is something you don’t’ see any more: a manuscript. Made of real paper. Like in the olden days.

A stack of Damn France pages (and a tea bag). And now:

I admit it, this photo is a tiny bit STAGED.

I’ve got a Damn France Book!

The cats can’t hardly contain their glee and pride at this great achievement.

I’ve certainly been enjoying every single message of approval, validation, and assurance from you dear readers that what I’ve sent out into the world doesn’t suck. Whew.

I don’t know what other writers do on the eve of Pub Dateis there a writer who is cool, calm, and collected 48 hours before The Day of Reckoning? — but this writer gets her husband to take her to Atlantic City. Because I got important people to meet and greet in America’s Playground.

You know who I mean. Under the boardwalk:

A lot of people don’t notice the ally cats of Atlantic City, or the big Ally Cat Allies of Atlantic City sign, until there’s a crazy cat lady taking pictures under the boardwalk, attracting attention.

And then I have to explain that the wild and stray cats of Atlantic City are provided for by a corp of dedicated animal lovers at Ally Cat Allies of Atlantic City who bring food, water, and medical care to the colony.

Although there are people who free-lance it, which is not recommended. (There’s a black cat on the second step there, being fed by the guy in the baseball cap.)

But sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. That is, sit and feel better about the world in the company of a cat.

I also don’t know what other writers do the day after Pub Date — if I were Neil deGrasse Tyson I’d be watching my book leap onto the New York Times best-seller list, and if I were J. K. Rowling I’d be getting a kick out of the tsunami of consumer demand for my e-book crashing the internet, and if I were a soft-core pornographer I’d be signing a multi-million dollar deal with my New York publisher…

…but I’m just a humble illustrator/memoirist, so I’ll be sitting at home, sorting out all my big ideas for my next illustrated travel memoir.

Hmmm….. Maybe I should do a cat book?

Do you think I could possibly do anything with this?

21 Comments, RSS

  1. August April 13, 2012 @ 8:10 am

    Get divorced and then remarried and call that your plot. Write about how drawing your cats taught you lessons about falling in love again. It doesn’t have to be true. It just has to be salable.

  2. Carol April 13, 2012 @ 8:30 am

    How about a travel book of your life – from MT – reading 1966 National Geographic article on Bayeux at the age of 10 – high school adventures – your first passport – travel, travel, travel – Peace Corp – certified gemologist – travel, travel, travel – Christies – staying put – Top Cat – books – being reviewed by a National Geographic publication! Now THAT is a TRIP!!! Many congratulations, streams of best wishes!!

  3. Deborah April 13, 2012 @ 8:49 am

    Cat Travel Book! I don’t know why I keep pushing the Cat Book thing since I’m a dog person, but I just know you have it in you & once you draw bead on it, it will be amazing.

    I’m having so much fun with Le Road Trip — finding pictures that I remember from this blog: I remember you had to change the thumb angle on the hitch hiking picture. And I remember all those attempts at painting the waltzers on the bridge — my own little rememberance of things past.

    I did a double-take at reading “James” — huh? who? oh, Top Cat. My only complaint is not enough dogs. Hope you find a myriad of ways large and small to bask in your success.

  4. chel April 13, 2012 @ 10:49 am

    I got my book- I can’t wait to curl up in the swing out on the back lanai and devour it. I’m saving it until the PERFECT moment this weekend. YAY! And then I’m going to re-read “Wanderers…”

    And I really can’t think of many better ways of celebrating anything besides spending time with a cat. Seriously.

  5. Sandy April 13, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    Got my beautiful Damn France Book yesterday and can’t wait to spend the weekend curled up with it and a glass of wine! Ahh a girl can dream.

  6. Jen April 13, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

    When Wanderers Cease to Roam added to my life, for all time, the idea of The Acre of Earth Theory of Life (pg. 137…go re-read it). It ends with this: “If you EVER feel crowded into a corner by your life, you need to take a better look at your acre of Earth. It’s bigger than you think.”

    I remember reading that. I remember writing it down in a notebook that I had nearby. I remember thinking: this is something I’ve felt inside, but never thought of it in these words and they are perfect. Thank you Vivian.

    And last night in the Damn France Book (it will always be that, like a child who never loses the nickname given in utero) I read this on page 5:

    The point of “traveling light” isn’t to cram as much stuff as possible into a small bag. Rather, it’s discovering how little you really need in order to have the time of your life.

    Vivian, you present your thoughts and your illustrations in a way that feels light-hearted and carefree so that when wisdom shines through, it never feels didactic, it feels illuminating.

    You give your readers so many “Yes!” moments. Those moments where we have always felt what you’re describing, but never had it put into quite the right words until yours came along.

    I don’t have any books by Neil deGrasse Tyson, J.K. Rowling or 50 Shades of Gray on my book shelves. I have two by Vivian Swift. You’re a best-seller in my house.

  7. Jen April 13, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

    p.s. sorry about the poorly proofread (i.e. not at all) comment above. I was excited, what can I say?

  8. Alexandra MacKenzie April 13, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

    I picked up my copy today and it had a wrinkle on the dust jacket so I forced the poor bookstore worker to go get me a PRISTINE COPY RIGHT NOW OR ELSE. He did, and I am happy, happy, happy.

    The first thing I do with a book is read all the flap copy, the table of contents, and then the acknowledgments, where I was amazed and delighted to find my pal and coworker Gitana Garofalo included! I am envious of such coolness. Sweet.

    I’m eagerly looking forward to every word and painting awaiting me.

    I’m a dog person so I have no comment on the cats other than that both your photos and your paintings make me like cats. Please remember to only use your power for good!

  9. Barbara Lemme April 13, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

    I can’t wait to get home from our trip to order the “Damn” book! Or maybe I’ll need several; these will be the best gifts of the year. I’m excited for you and for us.

  10. Rachel April 13, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

    I have bought a lot of things from Amazon lately, some of which have arrived almost before I had finished ordering them. BUT MY DAMN FRANCE BOOK HASN’T SHIPPED YET. I am being calm and know it will be here soon. Just not soon enough. Meanwhile, a trip to the Jersey Shore to visit the boardwalk cats sounds like a delightful way to pass the time waiting for the raves to come in.(sic) Did TC win?? And I think the right topic will present itself. Back to that old *Patience* thing again. sigh.

  11. Katherine Catmull April 13, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

    oh congratulations! I didn’t realized this had happened! Off to purchase.

  12. Mary April 13, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

    I actually called the “Feature Editor ” of my local paper, ( Philadelphia, PA)
    He was very nice,and sounded sincere when he said he would call Bloomsbury Press and request a copy of Le ROAD TRIP”.–after my enthusiastic approval of this beautiful book.
    If I can do it, so can you followers of Vivian’s newest accomplishment. I just felt I had to do something. I loved it; starting with the first page after the Contents, when she asked a cook —
    “Is that an EAR in there?”–and he shrugged.
    Vivian realized, there is NEVER a good answer to that question. I laughed out loud.

  13. Vicki Abbott April 13, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

    I just picked up my copy this afternoon. I can hardly wait to start it this evening. With Creamcheese on my lap, of course.

  14. Nadine April 13, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

    * Spoiler Alert re “Le Road Trip” *

    At long last, we meet “Top Cat.” NOW I get the subtitle! Very sweet of you.

  15. Tracey April 13, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

    Do a Scotland book.You can comment on tea shops, haggis, bagpipes. You can drag Top Cat through the prehistoric ruins in the Orkneys. Visit some place that sells kilts. Think of the great Scottish ballads out there, too. Plus there are bound to be great cats in Scotland.

  16. Teri April 14, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    Hi Vivian,

    I just received my copies of LE ROAD TRIP in today’s mail — absolutely gorgeous, these books. Can’t wait to browse through mine and wrap up the others as gifts.

    Congratulations. It really is one of a kind. Cheers to you.


  17. Jeannie April 16, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

    I am waiting for snail mail to deliver my copy. Then I’ll pop open some bubbly and travel to France via your book. Perhaps some interviews with the people who tend the Atlantic City cats. How they relate (and we know they do!) to the cats and the stories that follow. We have a group that does the same thing here for our river cats. They have them spayed/neutered and then tend to them. The volunteers are as unique as the cats they help!;)

  18. christine April 16, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

    Thank you for your new book and congratulations on its release! I wanted to savor it over time, but ended up reading it all last weekend! Each new section draws you in–it’s not my fault:). It’s beautifully done and illustrated: a treat for the eyes and the mind, an insightful blend of observation and reflection. Love it. Can’t wait for the book about your trip to Scotland….

  19. Bobbi April 17, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    Well let’s see how long it takes for the Damn France book to make it to damn France. Je dois attendre mais c’est dur! Many congrats Vivian, this will be THE book about France, I just know it.

  20. Jacqui April 19, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

    Here it is the rainy gloomy afternoon before the morning you will be back here with more pictorial delights accompanied by fun stories.
    I’ve been waylaid by company for days……..so quickly I have to say that I was so excited to see results of Alley Cat Allies in action that I hardly connecting to the fact this is and was a celebration of Le Book!! I only know west coast board walks….what cold damp places for kitties but my heart went out to see the human/cat interactions ….Good for the kitties but really special for all those humans. They seem to be fairly tame, or at least used to humans in their territory. thank you so much for this tour “under the boardwalk”. Books for me and Maman are on the way…Hooray and Happy May

  21. Laurie April 25, 2012 @ 1:21 pm


    I’m half way through Le Road Trip and it’s just as wonderful as Wanderers, if not more! Thank you for turning my travel bug into a full-fledged disease. I’ve sent a copy of the book to my friend who is in the Peace Corps right now in Africa. She loved your first book (which I also gave to her as a gift years ago) and will surely love this one.


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