No Wonder I Drink. But Enough About Trump. Here’s What Really Matters: Me, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Buying Stuff.



Sure looks like the Champs-Élysées to me:


Guess again!


Right: That’s the Empire State Building as seen from 29th Street in New York City, which I viewed on my walk to the Dutch Reformed church on 29th and Fifth on the evening of Sept. 29. I’m going to see Elizabeth Gilbert!


Life is so unfair. Liz Gilbert gets to do an author event on a stage such as this (see above) while I, on my first author event EVER, got the children’s department at a Barnes and Nobel store in Yonkers where I had to stand under a poster of Captain Underpants. Obviously, someone there had judged my book by its cover . . .


. . . and decided it was a children’s book.

Well, that’s what you get for not selling 20 million copies. But I’m not whining. Well, not much. Because I’m going to see Elizabeth Gilbert in person!

Elizabeth Gilbert’s very cool historic church event was ticketed and, OF COURSE, sold out :


Yes, you found him: that guy in the rainbow serape did get up to ask a question and he was crazy: mostly he wanted to tell Liz that she had called on him before at another event a year ago!!! and then complain how hard it is to make people love you.

Liz handled this guy with gentle humor and decisive kindness (got him to shut up without embarrassing him), which is how she spoke about her own struggle to stay engaged and productive while coping with all the demands of living an aware, open, adventuresome, and truthful life.

If you ever have the chance to see Elizabeth Gilbert speak about putting Big Magic to work in helping you deal with adversity, frustration, sadness, fear, perfectionism, and all those other things that prevent you from breaking free, you must go. Hey! Bainbridge Island! Liz is coming your way in March!


This evening at the Collegiate Dutch Reformed Church of Manhattan was made possible by the newly released paperback version of Big Magic (the book):


If you go to Liz’s Facebook page you can find a delightful and insightful video of her talking more about Big Magic . . . and, if you are very eagle-eyed, you will spot something quite  fabulous on her bookshelf:


See it now?


Yep. That’s my very own, un-related to Captain Underpants book, When Wanderers Cease to Roam.

In the past, Liz has said and written very nice things about my books — she even blurbed my second one, Le Road Trip. And when my recent book came out in March, she graciously included it on her Spring Reading list:



OK, now I think I’ve accomplished everything I set out to achieve when I became a writer.


I was in my “Happy Place” (Home Goods) last week when I spotted this:


I love, adore, cherish, and covet this chair!

I loved it back in 2013, when I saw it in Paris, on display at the Musee Carnavalet:


And I loved it back in 2006, when I first saw it in my New Orleans hotel — the St. Louis (in the French Quarter) :


I loved it so much that I made an illustration of it in 2009 for a book about Adventures in Tea Time that I never did:


So, if you happen to come across this chair in your “Happy Place” (your local Home Goods), now you will know that it is a Chaise a la Montgolfiere,  so called after the brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier, who ushered in the modern era of flight in 1783 when they demonstrated their invention, the hot-air balloon, at Versailles in the presence of King Louis XVI and his court. This successful exhibition before royalty made the Montgolfier brothers national heroes, and started a mania for all things baloony. The term montgolfière was applied to decorative arts, hair fashions, and dresses:






But getting back to the chair at Home Goods: This is not a cheap chair. It cost $249.99 at Home Goods, which is not in my budget even though it is the only one I’ve seen that comes with arm rests!!!

Vintage 1020s or 1950s reproductions of this chair are even more dear: they go for around 645 Euros ($710.11 American) each.

But I’m not whining. Well, not much. Because as soon as I sell 20 million copies of my books, you all know what I’m forking over an insane amount of money for:


And so, my Dear Readers, Remember: this blog comes to you free every Friday, so please support my continued presence in this totally gratuitous endeavor by giving everyone  on your Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa list a copy of a V. Swift book. Tell them Liz Gilbert’s bookshelf told you to.

I’m just 19,999, 950 copies away from getting my dream dining room!


14 Comments, RSS

  1. What a lovely connection to a splendid writer!
    Yes yes to your book being a lovely Christmas present.
    As to the chair – yes it does hark back to 18th century balloons ….
    do hope you your Christmas dreams come true….

  2. Casey

    I had my holiday shopping done before this post, everyone I love is getting Gardens of Awe and Folly, along with a box of special tea and a little mug. Adventure in Tea Time! (Will you maybe one day go back to that book idea and design a tea cup to go with it?????)

    I always knew Elizabeth gilbert had excellent taste. I got her book when you blogged about it last year and hmmmm…I think it’s time I reread it, it was so inspiring.

    I want to go to your Happy place with you and have you point out all the historical decorative arts clues that I am missing. I would learn so much about art, history, and art history. Ha!

  3. Bunny

    One of the things I most admire about you, is your ability to view the world in such a creative, and thoughtful way. I was in Home goods, and I tripped over that effing chair, but did not even notice it was some high faluting chair from over 200 years ago, as I cried out in pain. Thanks again for showing us the way, as usual, I got my happy Friday face on while reading your super entertaining blog.
    (trying to sound hip…is it working?)
    Sounds like a good idea for a new non-fiction—Reading the tea leaves with cats.

  4. Patricia

    I have all three of your books … actually I have an extra copy of “When Wanderers Cease to Roam” just waiting for the right person to need it. If you wrote / painted more books, I’d buy them too. Have you seriously considered the coloring book for adults idea? I’d buy that from you too.

    Please go ahead and buy the damn chair. It’s not going to get any cheaper… unless someone has the Mongolfiere chair sitting about their house unwanted and looking for just the right person to pass along to. You of course!

  5. I echo Patricia. Buy the chair. If you love it, buy it. You can’t take it with you so you’d better get it now and use it here. ‘Nuf said.

    I’m trying to think who I HAVEN’T given your books to — but never fear, the second a name comes up, I’m on the case!

  6. Kirra

    It think it’s just the problem with having good taste is that it means this actually cost quite a bit. If you can think of somewhere good to put it in your house then I think you should get it, that’s what I try and reason with anyway!

    Thanks for sharing your connections with Elizabeth Gilbert, I hope the rest of the talk was good (asides from rainbow man). I haven’t read any of her books but will look into them.

  7. Kim

    I forgot to add, I want the book, AND I felt like I had quite an adventure with my cup of tea already just by reading this blog. Merci.

  8. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS??!! I snorted my tea up my nose with that one.

    I love the chair – and Home Goods. So many lovely things I don’t need, but really want. At the risk of being an enabler, I think if something has been calling your name that long, it needs to be in answered. Think of it as an inspiration piece for “Adventures in Tea Time” – a work expense !

  9. Laura

    What other false-starts do you have hiding in your office?
    What’s the most ridiculous concept?
    What’s the most far-reaching/ stretch?
    You’ve shown us paintings that ended up on the cutting room floor – what book ideas have been left (a-hem) undeveloped (to date)?

  10. I can’t help but feel that if Elizabeth Gilbert holds you in such esteem you MUST write more books for us.

    And also, we’ve got a friend visiting #102 this week from Wales (she’s full of delightful opinions) and she spied _Let Road Trip_ and went mad for it. I like a person with an eye for the good things in life!

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