Good Luck: Episode Twelve
[What follows is a transcript of a talk by Bud Smith given at McNally Jackson Books in NYC on Saturday, January 19th, 2019]
I didn’t know what I was going to say here tonight. I thought maybe I would read something, a story. I don’t know. I usually have my shit together.
For a while there, I was a wild goose about it, got nervous, couldn’t sleep. So I got out of bed and walked into the living room, asked for advice.
Someone on Reddit suggested I read y’all “The Swimmer” by John Cheever. A famous short story. I didn’t know it, and it wasn’t available online. So I killed time, looked outside, where the night slipped into morning, blackness shifting into shades of rose and tangerine. That old familiar blue of morning, blooming.
Rae got up, asked if I was all right. Her purple pajamas became a black dress. She went to work. I walked over to the public library. They had John Cheever’s Collected Stories. That big red book. So I sat down by the Pepsi machine and read “The Swimmer.” A sad story about a man who drinks his life away, develops psychosis in the suburbs. I figured nobody at this city folk reading would even know what the suburbs were. So nevermind, “The Swimmer.”