Photos Courtesy of Chipotle via VF Daily
Toni Morrison, George Saunders, and Michael Lewis already turned their prose into the stuff you read on the side of a disposable cup thanks to Jonathan Safran Foer. Now Chipotle announced a new slate of authors for its bags and beverages. As VF Daily reports: Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors), Julia Alvarez (In the Time of Butterflies), Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist), and Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible) are among the new additions curated by Foer. But it's not just all literary bigshots, the mix also includes comedian Aziz Ansari and Walter Isaacson.
"I love the idea of unexpected stories in unexpected places," Burroughs said. "I'm working on a complicated memoir at the moment so writing a miniature memoir for the back of a cup was highly appealing."
They also provided an exclusive look at the Burroughs story you might be seeing on a bag at the fast-casual burrito joint near you:
by Augusten Borroughs
The grass was sawdust, stained green and sold in plastic bags by the pound. I never figured out what the bushes and shrubs were made of, because even up close they looked like the real thing. The pine trees were also fairly convincing, even though the tallest was under four inches. Several roads meandered through the town, all of them created with the same gritty gray paint that took forever to dry. The town itself had no name, and was located on an abandoned door in my basement, next to the pool table my mother used for stacking laundry.
My own home occupied nearly half the door; the half with all the grass and trees. It included several cars and a personal train station. A white plastic fence surrounded my land, with two tiny pay phone booths, repainted white, as guard stations at the foot of my driveway.
The other residents lived in featureless brown plastic houses crammed together across the street from a gas station, a barbershop, and a shoebox labeled "Mall." My mother leaned over my ghetto and frowned. "It would be horribly depressing to live here." I rolled my eyes. "That's why I live on the other side and have security people."
"You mean this whole section belongs to you?" She waved her hand over my estate, dripping cigarette ash onto my lawn. "It looks like a psychiatric hospital in Vermont."
"I'm the town celebrity," I explained. "I own the TV station and host the game show." My mother crushed her cigarette out in the saucer that was going to be my backyard pool. "Well, if this was a real town, I can tell you that there would be riots."
"Which is why I need twelve dollars," I told her. "I have to buy three police cruisers."
I'm not against the idea and actually share the excitement and agree with author Alvarez, who told VF Daily:
"When I received Jonathan Safran Foer's invitation, he mentioned that as many as 800,000 people a day might read Cultivating Thought. I was blown away! I love this democratization and liberation of literature from the gated communities of those who already have access to literature and an inclination to seek it out. I love the idea of taking Toni Morrison or George Saunders or Jonathan Safran Foer out of the classrooms, down from the bookshelves, out of 'devices,' and putting their two minutes of wisdom or whimsy in front of people, people of all ages, backgrounds, races, ethnicities, instead of the usual 'reader' types and intellectuals."