Why Cheever loved Monday mornings

John Cheever

Everybody hates Monday morning, right? Well, maybe not everybody. Here’s John Cheever writing in 1952, barely able to contain his excitement at the prospect of catching the 08:22 train on a Monday morning. The fact that he had just enjoyed a wonderful weekend – so beautifully described in this journal entry – must also have a lot to do with his euphoric mood.

Is there anything more wonderful than the Monday morning train: the 8:22? The weekend – say a long summer weekend like the Fourth – has left you rested. There have been picnics, fireworks, excursions to the beach – all the pleasant things we do together. On Sunday we had cocktails late and a pickup supper in the garden. We see the darkness end the weekend without any regret – it has all been so pleasant. In the garden we can hear, from the west, the noise of traffic on the parkway rise to a high pitch that it will hold until nearly midnight, as other families drive back to the city from the mountains or the shore, and the sleeping children, the clothing hung in the backseat, the infinity of headlights – the sense we take from these overcrowded Sunday roads of a gigantic evacuation, a gigantic pilgrimage – is all part of this hour. You water the grass, tell the children a story, take a bath, and get into bed. The morning is brilliant and fresh. The children and the dog come along. From the minute you wake up you seem to be on the verge of an irrepressible joy. The drive down Alewives Lane to the station seems triumphal, and when you see the station below you and the trees and the few people who have already gathered there, waiting in the morning sun, and when you kiss your wife and your children goodbye and give the dog’s ear a scratch and say good morning all around the platform and unfold the Tribune and hear the train, the 8:22, coming down the tracks, it seems to me a wonderful thing.

::taken from The Journals of John Cheever (Vintage Books)

The key to handling Monday mornings then? Making your weekends as enriched and fulfilled as they can be, spending time doing exactly the kind of things that you want to do. Well that, and catching the 08:22 train from Ossining, NY, first thing on a Monday morning.

I do have a personal tip for making Monday mornings all the more bearable. It involves hooking yourself up with a digital subscription to New Yorker magazine. Trust me, there’s no bigger thrill than waking up to a shiny new copy on your iPad every Monday morning and discovering which short fiction gem is lurking within (and yes, even if you do live in the UK the magazine is still waiting there first thing in the morning when you get up, regardless of time difference).

So dear reader, what literary flavoured tips do you have for making your Monday mornings all the more bearable?

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. winstonsdad (Twitter: stujallen)

    i love mondays but mostly because I m off a number of mondays 🙂 ,all the best stu

  2. Ahh great post and extract. I confess I’m thrilled when Monday comes around because that means offspring are at school and I have the house to myself to write. A great weekend certainly helps – oxygen, sport, goodwill.