Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Most of us are waking up this morning after a very late, if not altogether crazy, night of celebration. And before long we'll turn our thoughts to the New Year and the many new beginnings it promises. Given those two prompts (the morning-after funk, and the appeal of a clean slate), there's no better story to share with you today than the Jay McInerney tale "It's 6 a.m., Do You Know Where You Are?"

Originally published by the Paris Review, this story later became the opening chapter to McInerney's classic novel Bright Lights, Big City. Since the story is written in the second person, the narrator is, well... the reader. It's the story of a man who 'comes to' out of a drug-addled haze, and continues his cocaine-fueled romp until he is brought to the realization that his life is in tatters. 

In the closing lines he is so desperate for real nourishment that he trades his designer silk jacket for a bag of warm rolls. It is a glimmer of hope that suggests things are about to turn around for this sorry addict:
"You tear the bag open and the smell of warm dough rushes over you. The first bites sticks in your throat and you almost gag. You will have to go slowly. You will have to learn everything over again."
It's a nice message for New Year's Day. Give it a listen. The 20 minute recording was made for a recent Selected Shorts podcast. Start at 3:00 minutes in if you want to hear Jay McInerney talk about the genesis of the story, or jump to 7:00 minutes in to start listening to the story itself (you can click ahead just above the green line in the player.)

Happy New Year.

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