Remembering John Cheever

We all have anniversaries. Key dates. Big events. Pivotal moments. Sometimes we need to kick the dust off those memories. We have to be reminded because our recall is foggy or may not recall at all. Stuff piles up. The unimportant or irrelevant takes precedent because we avoid a required remembrance. 

This week, I received a new cellphone. The previous slowed, could not hold a charge, conked out. A dreadful first-world problem. When the fruit-named company’s product arrived, I figured out the upgrade and transfer of data that we have deemed integral to our lives. A digital soul was transported into another body.

While cleaning things up, I discovered in the podcast app, an old download. This was a literature podcast, one that featured the reading of John Cheever’s very short story, Reunion. I have listened to it probably 20+ times. I have read the story more than double that number. It had such influence that I was published in Canada’s National Post newspaper in Letters to the Editor singing its praises as the best short story in response to a story on short stories. 

I have read everything Cheever has written. In an homage, I wrote a story that follows Cheever around Manhattan. It is self-published on Amazon, proving to be more cathartic than impactful. Cheever would have ripped it apart before pouring three fingers of gin to further lubricate his critique. I would have nodded and drank, lots.

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