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Why I'm Grateful I Got Sued by American Express and What you Can Learn From My Experience

The writer on his debt troubles and his experience with a debt consolidation program:

"It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When the sheriff showed up at my front door and completely upended my sense of security I was only five years removed from receiving a six-figure advance for writing a memoir for Scribner at 31 and only three years removed from traveling the country sharing my heartwarming tale of triumph over adversity in connection with the release of said memoir. When I spoke about how my obsession with pop culture helped me overcome a childhood of abandonment, institutionalization and despair to become a successful writer I felt like a fraud, since all happy endings are provisional, fragile and, on some level, illusory. They’re mirages that disappear in a poof more than sturdy homes to dwell in for perpetuity.

"I was peddling a tale of triumph of adversity while convinced that I would forever be mired in adversity, that adversity had become my natural state. It’s hard to buy into yourself as a success story when, deep down, you fear that your success is neither merited nor real. It’s even harder to think of yourself as a success when you’re being sued by a credit card company, are mired in debt and hand-cuffed to a dodgy debt consolidation group for the indefinite future."
PUBLISHED: June 18, 2013
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4161 words)

Longreads Member Exclusive: After Visiting Friends (Chapter 1), by Michael Hainey

This week's Longreads Member Pick is the first chapter from the best-selling memoir After Visiting FriendsGQ deputy editor Michael Hainey's story of his father's death and his search for answers. Hainey was 6 years old when his father, newspaperman Bob Hainey, died suddenly, but questions remained about the circumstances around his death. 

We're proud to feature the book. Thanks to Michael and Scribner for sharing this story.

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PUBLISHED: March 21, 2013
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2542 words)