Excerpt from Corrections in Ink by Keri Blakinger, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Corrections in Ink

A Memoir

by Keri Blakinger

Corrections in Ink by Keri Blakinger X
Corrections in Ink by Keri Blakinger
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2022, 336 pages

    Jun 6, 2023, 336 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Valerie Morales
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Print Excerpt

Chapter 1

Ithaca, 2010

I have problems: I am out of clean clothes, I cannot find my glasses, my English paper is late, and my pockets are not big enough for all the heroin I have.

But, honestly, more than anything, I want a cigarette.

I'm only ten minutes from where I'm going, and it's cold outside. The sun is deceptive; it looks like a nice upstate New York morning, but really it's December and the wind is whipping up from Ithaca's gorges. I stop walking and push my fingers deep into my pockets in search of a Parliament.

In a minute, there will be police, with questions and handcuffs. By tomorrow, my scabby-faced mugshot will be all over the news as the Cornell student arrested with $150,000 of smack. I will sober up to a sea of regrets. My dirty clothes and late English paper—one of the last assignments I need to graduate—will be the least of my problems.

But that's all in the future. Right now, I just want that cigarette. Where the fuck did I put them?

When I woke up this morning in the stash house on Stewart Avenue, the first thing I did was look at my day planner—I am over-organized as ever, even on the brink of disaster. Then, I answered the phone after my boyfriend called repeatedly. We got in a fight. I emailed one of my professors to beg for another extension and promised myself today would be the day I would finally finish everything I need to graduate.

Then I mixed up a spoon of heroin and coke and spent the next two hours poking my arms and legs, fishing around under the skin with a 28-gauge needle in search of relief. My veins are all shot out and scarred and hard to find, so my stabs at oblivion usually involve a few hours of crying as I bleed all over the floor, leaving behind the speckled blood spatter of a crime scene.

This time, I got extra-high, and that last shot was really just out of spite; my boyfriend had the nerve to accuse me of stealing from our heroin, and frankly, I'm pissed. I'm pissed at him, I'm pissed at myself, I'm pissed at every moment that's led me here, and I'm pissed that he's calling on repeat, screaming and threatening me while I'm just trying to get high, to get smashed, to get far away from the darkness I'm running from—or toward. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

The phone goes off again, buzzing with the pop-punk notes of a New Found Glory ringtone bought with drug money.

You were everything I wanted, but I just can't finish what I started.

It's him, of course: Alex. He's been smoking crack all morning, holed up with my skittish dog in our basement apartment beneath an unofficial adjunct sorority house up the hill in Collegetown. I can imagine him there, his tattooed arms prying the blinds open as he checks for the black bears and SWAT teams of his drugged-out hallucinations. He is fourteen years my senior, but I know how his face looks childish with terror when his dark eyes gape at what is not there and he begins muttering in his parents' native tongue. They are Greek, and he is whispering a tragic chorus.

Right now, it seems, he's more focused on his phone than on his fear, as he's been calling me again and again to demand that I come back immediately with our Tupperware of drugs. He wants me to bring the whole six-ounce stash so that he can check the weight and make sure I didn't steal any before we sell it.

Before leaving, I take out three or four grams and tuck it under the insole of my black suede sneakers. I like to be prepared. You never know when you might need more heroin. I leave behind the tiny digital scale, an array of baggies and needles, some assorted pills, and my backpack of schoolwork. But then the drugs kick in, and I accidentally nod out for an hour or so in the bathroom before I finally head out into the cold in a black, dragon-print hoodie that leaves me significantly underdressed for twenty-five-degree weather.

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Excerpted from Corrections in Ink by Keri Blakinger. Copyright © 2022 by Keri Blakinger. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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