Writer-turned-carpenter to talk


Nina MacLaughlin

BAR HARBOR — Nina MacLaughlin wrote about her transformation from journalist to carpenter in her memoir, “Hammer Head: Making of a Carpenter.” MacLaughlin will visit the Jesup Memorial Library on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m.

MacLaughlin was spending her life behind a computer screen as “a lump in a chair.” This was making her soul become stale, so she quit her job and responded to a Craigslist job listing looking for carpenter’s assistant.

When MacLaughlin responded to the post, “Carpenter’s Assistant: Women strongly encouraged to apply,” she could not tell a Phillips from a flathead screwdriver. She found herself working for Mary, a petite but tough carpenter, who becomes her mentor in a field that is 99 percent male. Along the way, she introduces the cast of characters that inhabit the world of carpentry, including wild demo dudes, foul-mouthed plumbers, grizzled hardware store clerks and the colorful clients in whose homes she and Mary work.

Rebecca Steinitz of the Boston Globe writes, “Though MacLaughlin may be an apprentice carpenter, she is a master writer, with the rare combination of acute observation and astute word choice that characterizes writers like Annie Dillard or Joan Didion.” Lynne Cox, author of “Swimming to Antarctica” writes, “MacLaughlin built a dream by becoming a carpenter and transformed her life. ‘Hammer Head’ is her exquisitely inspiring story. I loved it.”

“Hammer Head” is book about professional and personal transformation. It captures all the joys and challenges that come with making the leap into a new life. MacLaughlin lives in Cambridge, Mass., where she still works as a carpenter. Formerly an editor at the Boston Phoenix, she has written for the “Believer,” “Bookslut,” the “LA Review of Books,” and elsewhere. She blogs at www.carpentrix.tumblr.com. Visit www.ninamaclaughlin.com.

Books will be on sale at the Jesup that night, with a percentage of sales donated to the library. Sherman’s is a co-sponsor of this event.

Contact the Jesup at 288-4245 or email [email protected].

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