In The Trip to Echo Spring, Olivia Laing examines the link between creativity and alcohol through the work and lives of six extraordinary men: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever, and Raymond Carver.
All six of these writers were alcoholics, and the subject of drinking surfaces in some of their finest work, from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to A Moveable Feast. Often, they did their drinking together: Hemingway and Fitzgerald ricocheting through the cafés of Paris in the 1920s; Carver and Cheever speeding to the liquor store in Iowa in the icy winter of 1973.
Olivia Laing grew up in an alcoholic family herself. One spring, wanting to make sense of this ferocious, entangling disease, she took a journey across America that plunged her into the heart of these overlapping lives. As she travels from Cheever’s New York to Williams’s New Orleans, and from Hemingway’s Key West to Carver’s Port Angeles, she pieces together a topographical map of alcoholism, from the horrors of addiction to the miraculous possibilities of recovery.
Rob Delaney is one of the rare people whose time spent on Twitter has helped his career. Before he was making money as a comedian, he was sending out 140 character or less jokes like “Imagine a shark. Terrified yet? Well you will be when I tell you that THE SHARK IS MADE OF GLUTEN!” and “The hour I lose from daylight savings time will now be multiplied by 6 as I try to change the time on the clock in my car.” and many others not exactly suitable for radio.
His twitter-persona is primarily brash, irreverent, and fearless. His memoir is funny - but also stuffed with thoughtful reflections on too-real experiences. And then - as you can count on from any good comedian - funny again.
Some stories are disturbing while others are inspiring, as they provide an honest and critical look at the current state of the addiction treatment industry in the U.S., contrasting what goes on in rehab with what experts and scientific studies suggest should go on.
Public health officials in Massachusetts and a non-profit provider of mental health and substance abuse treatment are working to reduce underage drinking in the state’s third largest city. A prevention plan has been developed based on the results of a survey of 8th graders in Springfield to determine reasons for underage drinking. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.
Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a law that allows state employees to be randomly tested for illegal drugs. The policy, which will almost certainly be challenged in the courts, raises some interesting questions about the appropriate level of professional oversight of those whose paychecks are derived from a state or municipal tax base.