10 Things to Ask Yourself While Reading Raymond Carver

I’ve been experiencing a resurgence in my passion for reading. My love of books has returned to the level it was at when I was seven and had yet to be exposed to the notion of reading for work, or homework or school. Like my seven year old self, I am totally pumped to inhabit someone else’s mind, narrative and life. (Clearly between the ages of 8 and 24 I was too consumed by my own self-importance to lose myself in a book, but I guess things have tapered off now.)

In the past three weeks, I’ve read:

American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
The White King, by Gyorgy Dragoman
Old School, by Tobias Wolff

and I’m in the middle of reading Where I’m Calling From, by Raymond Carter. Before starting the Carver stories, I was finding that my renewed obsession with reading felt totally meditative. Subway rides were serene. Life was slower. My thoughts were more collected and dignified. Then along came Carter.

I started the book on a 1 1/2 long subway trip from Lefferts Gardens to South Williamsburg. I arrived at the party looking “distressed and tense” sources say. And I thought maybe I was going to cry.

I attribute my consternation to this list, which I devised while trying to ignore the techno drum beat raining on my head from the fourth floor.

10 Things To Ask Yourself While Reading Carver:

1) Is it going to get worse, or just stay this bad?
2) Should I have another drink? Or six more drinks?
3) Who cares?
4) Does this diner waitress uniform make my butt look fat?
5) Should I expect four, one or zero years of happy marriage?
6) Did my friend loan me this book because he thought I’d be happier at a mental institution?
7) Was this baby a mistake, or just an accident?
8) Why me?
9) If I cheat on my wife, but I make my mistress cry, is it still cheating?
10) Where the hell are my cigarettes?


One thought on “10 Things to Ask Yourself While Reading Raymond Carver

  1. Next…Was my last e-mail too much?Are the people around me drinking too much or am I drinking too little?The list cracks me up.e


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