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Speaking of road stories ….

April 22, 2008

The only real question, then, is “Where to start?” The beginning, of course, seems the obvious answer, but if you’re looking to be a smart-ass, at least I’ll know where to stuff the monkeys when I finally clean up the mess in the living room.

Do we start, then, with Kerouac? Or fast forward to the 2008 Lexus Original Fiction Series?

Apparently there’s a press release, and maybe someday I’ll find the thing; it’s not exactly prominent in the results of the most basic Google search I could manage, so we’ll borrow from MediaBistro:

“The Great American Road Trip: immortalized by Jack Kerouac, it holds a special place in the American romantic imagination. Now Lexus magazine is adding to the literature of the road with the 2008 Lexus Original Fiction Series,” reads the press release Lexus magazine (which exists!) sent out today. Just think, if Jack Kerouac was alive today, maybe he, too, would have contributed a chapter to “In The Belly of The Beast,” a collaboratively-written story that “chronicles a young couple’s cross-country journey from Brooklyn to the Bay Area in their Lexus IS F.”

MB’s Emily Gould notes that she hopes that the writers got “seriously paid”, and it’s hard to disagree. Certainly, some people are going to hold their participation against them, but it’s also worth noting that Arthur Phillips, at least, has gone about the task of the first chapter with something close to a sense of irony.

I know I am to blame for what happened next—in the desert, obviously, but also in Indiana. I started the trip in high melodrama mode from the very first block, because this, after eight months together (three with him living with cannibals), was how our life began: in the stunning Beast, on our way up the West Side Highway, with me about to make more money than either of our parents could imagine earning; with him not required to contribute a single penny for the first year so he could finish turning his dissertation into a book; with a realtor’s erotic dream of a house sparkling in readiness for us; with a Napa Valley wedding to plan—and with him asking if I shouldn’t have the lumbar support set a little more forward.

Chapter two is from Richard McCann, and the third by Curtis Sittenfeld. Beyond that, you’ll have to wait until July.

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