Fiction Excerpt – “Your Average Year”

A few blog posts ago I mentioned how I was a short story writer, and that I would be posting excerpts from my current projects. “Today is Sunday, the start of a new week” I thought to myself, and after a week’s absence from this blog, I decided to start there.

This is the opening paragraph from my short story “Your Average Year.” A bit of history about this story: I completed my first draft of this about two months ago. At the time, it was the longest piece I had written, and was told in the third person. Lately I have been experimenting with POV in my stories, such as shifting character points of view within the same story. Around that time I heard a performance of Jay McInerney‘s story “It’s Six A.M. Do You Know Where You Are?” on the Selected Short podcast. This story, the first chapter in his novel Bright Lights, Big City, is told in the second person. I decided I wanted to try writing in the second person, and this story seemed the best place to start.

You are fond of the black stubble that appears in your reflection every morning, yet the unwritten custom at your new office requires all men to bear smooth, clean faces. At least, this was your impression when you interviewed at that upscale Madison Avenue retailer your final week at Stern. So you shave. You then gel back your thick black hair so it sits like a polished helmet atop your olive-skinned face. You are unfamiliar with this clean-cut version of yourself as you take one final glance in the mirror, next to the door of your new Upper West-Side apartment. Nevertheless, you are content.

This story follows the protagonist (in the third person version, Jamie) through his first job out of college, and the challenges his faces with his boss, his girlfriend, and his struggle to recreate a little piece of his hometown, the fictional Millview, Delaware, in New York City.

I will continue to post more of my fiction along with my other rantings regarding office life, New York, and oatmeal.

More information on Jay McIneney:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_McInerney

 

 

My Man Purse

About a week and a half ago I bought myself a Fossil messenger bag. Most guys I work with either carry a standard book bag, laptop bag, or gym bag. And I bought this, an accessory I like to call the man purse.

I don’t go to the gym, I don’t carry a laptop and I’ve been out of college for almost two years (!). The bag is small, and inside it I carry the following: the latest issue of Harper’s, Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene, printouts of the latest drafts of the stories I’m working on, my notebook and a pen. Despite the list, it’s actually not a lot to carry. Hence the man purse. Before this I had a blue and black laptop bag, like my fellow co-worker men, in which I carried the same. It was bulky and cumbersome considering the little bit I carried with me to and from work. For some guys it works.

Am I satisfied with this purchase, this man purse? Of course I am. I’ll go so far as to say it’s the most practical thing I’ve purchased for myself in quite some time.

Now of course, nothing is perfect. There are some mornings when I have to carry a box of oatmeal packs in a plastic bag because the man purse is not just not wide enough to take it. But that’s alright.

 

My Day Cup of Joe

Every morning before heading up to my office I stop for a cup of iced coffee at the deli next to our building. The twelve ounce cup costs only two dollars, cheaper than Starbucks or any other chain coffee house in the city. And I drink my coffee slow. Very slow. This single cup will last me the entire day, up until five thirty when I’ll sip down whatever’s left so I can feel nice and jittery on the bus line and ride back home.

Yet as we enter October, the weather will inevitably cool down, and I will make the seasonal switch over to hot coffee. Last Christmas I received a French Press to use in the office, and I liked it. A lot. Yet as part of my new-found desire to not draw attention to myself, I think that I’ll be sticking to two-dollar hot, black coffees this.

And a French Press did draw attention last year, how could it not? Every morning I would walk to the break room, my French press in one hand, my oatmeal mug in the other, and my water bottle tucked in between one of my pits. I mean, it looked like I was going to spend the day in a darkened hole and not come out. To a certain extent, this was true, as my cubicle had no windows.

And that coffee would last me all day too. And it had better flavor. I would like to think that came from this satisfaction that I made a beverage for myself, save any single-cup machine or wasted paper cups. However, I know it was the quality of the beans: I bought mine from the Starbucks on the other side of our building.

Dressing Up For Drunk

Inevitably I would have posted while drunk, so I figured why not now? After all, I went to two happy hours tonight, and am currently at a bar, alone, drinking jack on the rocks. I can’t say I feel good. Just drunk. And tomorrow’s Thursday.

I wore a polo shirt today, the only one to do so. Honestly, I’m not even sure I should have worn one. Polos are allowed as part of our summer dress code, but I’m unsure otherwise. Also, I’ve given up on contacts, at least for now. For the first time in a decade I’m wearing glasses on a daily basis. And I like it. People at work have commented and them being “hipster” glasses, and I’m alright with that. Honestly, if you saw me in casual Friday you would peg me as the same. An H&M jacket, skinny jeans and stripped sweater, who wouldn’t?

And I’m alright with that, as I’ve already said.  Yet to fully and completely dedicate myself to that image I’m unsure of.

Oh, and this bar I’m in, it’s playing Smooth by Rob Thomas and Santana. This song was number one for twelve weeks in 1999, and the first official number one of 2000. I do miss the nineties, though I currently own nothing to wear for it.

About Myself

Last week my posts were nothing more than rants about the trivial occurrences at my day job. This will continue. However, I thought it be good to say a bit about myself, and I wrote nothing yesterday because, let’s face it, who wants to do more than the bare minimum on Monday?

Outside of work, I’m a fiction writer, currently working on a collection of short stories. Through these works I explore the balance of youth and adulthood, that precarious time of life I find myself in. Apart from my diatribes on office life, I’ll be posting excerpts of my fiction on this blog. Indeed, this is where a great deal of my work had been inspired.

So that’s all I’m willing to say about myself for now. And I’ll work on the Monday thing, since I don’t consider this work.