“Why Did I Ever” by Mary Robison


A writing friend recommended Mary Robison’s Why Did I Ever to me after she read something I’d written that was in the same style.

I bet my writer friends can relate to when you read something by someone really good, realize you’ll never be that good, and resist the urge to crawl into bed and never write again. That’s kind of the feeling I had while reading Robison’s book, which has subtitles, and beautiful writing, and is disjointed but works as a whole, and is overall damn impressive and damn humbling.

Our unreliable narrator is Money, a Hollywood screenwriter who has several exes, a boyfriend named Dix who lives in New Orleans, two adult children who have significant troubles, and much, much more. Money is on the hook to write a script about Bigfoot, and things aren’t going well, at work or at home.

You Can Fly But Your Body Can’t

My first seat was in first class between Penny and Belinda. Before I poured Rémy Martin down my throat and had to come see what the folks back here think of things.


‘Cool out, you know, I didn’t mean it, I don’t really hate you,’ I hear someone say.
While, over the intercom, the pilot jabbers. He’s explaining that some dysfunction, once we’re on the ground, can be easily fixed with a pin. I don’t know, at that point, how much any of us will care. Maybe I’m drunk, but seems like they could give the plane to the Arabs once we’ve all made our connecting flights.


The beer nuts just served to me in a cello packet are the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted in my life. Back at Dallas-Fort Worth I put an Otis Redding CD into my player and I doubt I’ll ever have a reason to take it out. Through the window, trigonometry, under a silky pink sky.

This is a book I never would have found without a friend’s recommendation, and I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but most definitely to writer friends and short-story fans.

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