Joseph found himself rattled as he himself stepped off the train a few stops later and started his walk home. He wasn't used to weird experiences that couldn't be explained rationally. He wasn't capable of holding two versions of the poet in his mind: the successful academic writer and the dirty drunk on the train. And he was particularly troubled by the juxtaposition of their two seemingly opposite trajectories.
Joseph's agent had told him that the success of his first novel was a statistical anomaly. The fact that the worn pages he had typed--on his vintage electric typewriter--made it off the slush pile was a major miracle. That it went on to make it onto the New York Times Best Seller list was inconceivable. But deep down inside, Joseph believed it was his talent, not luck, that had determined his literary fate.
His book tour was a pleasant series of flattering interactions. Joseph didn't mind it at all. He'd hardly traveled in the 10 years since graduating from high school, and the constant string of flights and hired cars was a delight, even if they were Spirit flights and Uber rides. Each city was a new adventure. Of course, the book was already doing rather well by that point; the tour itself was a fun surprise.