In an essay in her new book Would Everyone Please Stop? Jenny Allen invites readers to come and stay in her Vineyard home. It’s something of a cautionary tale.

There are rusty nails sticking out of the wooden stairs, the windows in the bedrooms must be propped open with a stack of hardcover John Gunther volumes, the plumbing is funky, and mysterious thuds and thunks cry out from the house in the night.

Sitting in a screened-in porch in the West Tisbury house that inspired the essay entitled Take My House, Please, Ms. Allen admitted some details may have been slightly embellished. She made up the handyman Chet, who often finds time to fix roofs in the middle of the night and the plumber Jim, who should only be called when the contents of the cesspool come gurgling up in the sink.

“I have a wonderful plumber who I thanked in the acknowledgements of my book,” Ms. Allen said. “I’d be sunk without him.”

She looked around the house that she lampoons in the essay. “I hope it’s not mad at me,” she said. “It’s a very old house, I’m kind of amazed every day that anything works at all.”

Would Everybody Please Stop? is comprised of 35 humorous short essays, both true(ish) and fictitious. The subject matter ranges from the perils of tie-dying to a scarves versus wigs debate for those with cancer.

On Wednesday, June 28, Ms. Allen will do a book talk and signing at the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, beginning at 7 p.m.

Ms. Allen, 61, has been living on the Vineyard year-round for four years, visiting for over 30 and writing nearly her whole life. Her father was a Reader’s Digest executive and she grew up attending Horace Greeley High School across the street from the Reader’s Digest building in Chappaqua, N.Y.

At 17 she wrote for Seventeen. She studied English at Smith and Yale, benefitting from writers on the faculty like William Zinsser and John Hersey. She became a magazine feature writer, working for publications such as Life Magazine, Good Housekeeping, New York Magazine and Esquire. She wrote a lot about architecture, and did profiles of writers, actors and actresses.

“The only thing I knew how to do was write,” she said.

It was on one such assignment that she met her now ex-husband and was introduced to the Vineyard. She came to the Island to interview cartoonist Jules Feiffer about a film he’d made. She was about 25 at the time. Wary of overstepping an ethical boundary, she did not go on a date with him until the piece was published.

“I thought we’d would go to journalism jail for doing that,” she said.

During her early career, her focus remained on journalism. Then she turned to motherhood while dabbling in writing plays and unfinished novels. But it wasn’t until a major upheaval in her life that she questioned what it meant to be a writer.

A routine pap smear came back showing endometrial cancer. During the hysterectomy, doctors found ovarian cancer. She was 48 years old. Her oldest daughter Halley Feiffer was in college, her younger daughter Julie Feiffer was barely a teenager.

“That seemed like a big wake up call in terms of being a writer,” she said. “I thought, I have to write about this in some way. I thought, if you don’t, you really can’t call yourself a writer.”

Though she’d always “noodled around on the typewriter” (and later the computer) taking notes about her own life, she’d never written about herself seriously until the cancer. The duality amuses her slightly now.

“It was great material, it was a horrible life event,” she said.

It started with a piece for More Magazine, a publication for women over 40. The piece was called Cancer Rant and that’s exactly what it was. She wrote about being sick of seeing pink ribbons and hearing about donating money or hair, and of walking or running for a cure. She turned her darkly humourous and yet poignant piece into a monologue that she performed at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, about 10 years ago.

“I just read from my notebook,” she said.

Ms. Allen had some experience performing. In her 20s, she was a part of a sketch comedy group, Serious Bizness. In her early 40s, she started doing stand up comedy with a group of other journalist/performers. Her style had always been more observational than straight joke-telling.

In the audience at the Playhouse that night was James Lapine, award-winning dramatist, theatre director and filmmaker. After the performance, he emailed her.

“He said, I think I could help you with this,” she remembered, pausing, overwhelmed with emotion. After working with Mr. Lapine for two years, reading from her notebook evolved into her one-woman show, I Got Sick Then I Got Better.

“I got to perform something that I wrote. That emboldened me to maybe think I would have a life beyond feature writing for whatever some editor asked me to write about,” she said. So she began to try and amuse herself with her writing. She sent a piece called I’m Awake to the New Yorker. They accepted it. It’s now the first piece in her book.

“In some way I really did think, well I’ve been in the New Yorker, if I die, then at least I’ve been in the New Yorker,” she said. “But then I didn’t die.”

So she kept submitting pieces.

Several pieces of her work have been featured in the Shouts & Murmurs sections of The New Yorker. These pieces caught the attention of Sarah Crichton, an editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, with her own imprint. Ms. Crichton, whom Ms. Allen had known for several years, contacted her, suggesting a collection of essays.

After hours, days, weeks, months of writing, Ms. Allen turned in a stack of papers about two-inches thick to Ms. Crichton.

“She felt the stack like it was bread or a baby or something and she said, ‘it’s just not a book yet,’” Ms. Allen remembered. “She could feel it, the heft of it.” Two or three years later, the stack had doubled, maybe tripled and once again Ms. Crichton took it in her hand, feeling the heft, and said “Look, it’s a book.”

“It only took 61 years to write it,” Ms. Allen said. “Everything I know is in this book, it took way too long to get here.”

JJenny Allen will speak on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Harbor View Hotel, and on Sunday at 2:45 p.m. at the Chilmark Community Center.