You Are Here: A Memoir of Arrival

Yesterday and today I read You Are Here: A Memoir of Arrival by Wesley Gibson. The book chronicles the author's return to New York, detailing his adventures in work -- catering, telemarketing, teaching a writing class, trying to finish his novel -- while dealing with the illness of his new roommate John, who reluctantly accepts his care. Gibson recalls other experiences as well, like his first wanton journey to New York as a younger man, his life as a hypochondriac, and his rejection as a potential roommate for not being gay enough. He's not the polished adult that society tells him to be; I like how he reveals this in his relationship with writing:

"I lacked some faith in ordinary life that would have suited me for ordinary life. I was twisty inside, and in the past year it had dawned on me that I was only happy -- though anyone with a dictionary open to the Hs would never describe me as that -- when I was trying to squeeze the twistiness out of me and onto the page. I was starting to realize that, like it or not, I was chained to myself like escaped cons in a thirties movie who were wading upstream to throw the bloodhounds off the scent; and that the biggest part of myself was, regrettably, this writing thing, which felt more and more like an addiction, and less and less like anything as noble as a vocation or a calling" (p. 86).

Despite this conflict, Wesley Gibson has surely put together something worthwhile: a tragicomic view on strangers becoming family, family becoming strangers, and finding a way to fit in for the time being.

posted at 09:05:00 PM on 04/04/04 by nullibicity - Category: Books


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