My agent called, as agents do, to nudge.
“Working on anything? Any chapters for me to read?
“I wish,” I sighed. “I’m way too busy. The newsroom remains bonkers. Just relentless. I’m flat out, all day every day.”
“Of course you are. But in the evenings, on the weekends…”
“What about… a short book? Say, just ten chapters.”
“No, seriously. Especially now. This year of all years.”
“What? This year of all… What does that even mean?”
“James is about to be a senior. He’s about to turn 18. This is my last shot. I’ve missed so much—so many of his soccer games and concerts and science fairs and field trips—because I was always working. And I always told myself, next year I’ll be there. Well, I’m out of next years. This is it. My last chance to show up. To be present. This is the year of no more do-overs.”
“That’s it,” she said. “That’s the book. You’ve got to write it.”
Mary Louise’s memoir, It.Goes.So.Fast, is out now from from Henry Holt & Company
Mary Louise Kelly is a mother, a daughter, a journalist and a novelist. The order of these titles—the order by which she defines herself—might shift, depending on which moment you catch her. But since 2003, when her first child was born, “Mom” has been the name she is proudest to answer to.
When not driving soccer carpool, Mary Louise co-hosts All Things Considered, NPR’s flagship evening newsmagazine. Previously, she spent a decade as national security correspondent for NPR News, and she’s kept that focus in her role as anchor. That’s meant taking All Things Considered to Russia, North Korea, Iran, Ukraine and beyond. Mary Louise’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, Newsweek, and other publications. A Georgia native, her first job was working as a staff writer at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Her books have been translated into more than dozen languages. She is a recipient of the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation, a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation and the Award for Outstanding Broadcast Journalist from the Washington Women in Journalism Awards. She led the NPR team that was named Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2021, for on-the-ground reporting from Iran.
Mary Louise was educated at Harvard University and at the University of Cambridge in England. She lives in Washington, DC with her two sons.