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A Piece of My Mind
February 15, 2006


Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2006;295(7):731-733. doi:10.1001/jama.295.7.731

I spent a year in Greece after college trying to be Raymond Carver. I drank Teacher's whiskey, which thankfully my local supermarket stocked, and had a poet girlfriend who was flirting with alcoholism herself. I wrote very short stories about down-on-their-luck people who also drank Teacher's whiskey and had unhealthy relationships. My dream was to sell a collection of stories and become a new voice in American writing; like Carver, once I’d achieved success, I’d become more responsible and cleanse my life of all my prior vices. When my year in Greece was through, I had about nine or ten horrible stories on my laptop computer and the remnants of a very messy breakup hanging over me as I returned to New York to start medical school. I hadn't written anything worth a damn, but, like Carver, I was about to become a responsible adult.

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