Writing about what haunts us peter orner

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writing about what haunts us peter orner

Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live by Peter Orner

“Stories, both my own and those I’ve taken to heart, make up whoever it is that I’ve become,” Peter Orner writes in this collection of essays about reading, writing, and living. Orner reads—and writes—everywhere he finds himself: a hospital cafeteria, a coffee shop in Albania, or a crowded bus in Haiti. The result is “a book of unlearned meditations that stumbles into memoir.” Among the many writers Orner addresses are Isaac Babel and Zora Neale Hurston, both of whom told their truths and were silenced; Franz Kafka, who professed loneliness but craved connection; Robert Walser, who spent the last twenty-three years of his life in a Swiss insane asylum, “working” at being crazy; and Juan Rulfo, who practiced the difficult art of silence. Virginia Woolf, Eudora Welty, Yasunari Kawabata, Saul Bellow, Mavis Gallant, John Edgar Wideman, William Trevor, and Václav Havel make appearances, as well as the poet Herbert Morris—about whom almost nothing is known.

An elegy for an eccentric late father, and the end of a marriage, Am I Alone Here? is also a celebration of the possibility of renewal. At once personal and panoramic, this book will inspire readers to return to the essential stories of their own lives.
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His piece addresses guilt as a motivation for writing fiction in general, and a particular incident in his young life that haunted him so deeply he had to turn to non-fiction to tell it. Similarly, our original guilt was over the theft of something that had particular meaning not necessarily worldly value to people we loved his father, my grandmother, respectively. Also similar was our finding that it took a stark recounting of the facts in print to deal with it. Only memoir would do. But in many ways, I was so much luckier than he because my grandmother was aware of the theft. Orner had to live with his secret most of his adult life, so the secret itself became an accessory to the crime.

Private Lives: Personal essays on the news of the world and the news of our lives. Call this a Chicago story. It seems a cheap way of looking at a story, to judge it by whether or not it actually occurred. We had a bachelor uncle, Uncle Harry, and my brother and I loved him. But we were, my grandmother said, the only family he had left. My grandmother never had much use for the man herself.

By Peter Orner. Private Lives: Writing About What Haunts Us. By Peter As a fiction writer, I feel an almost righteous obligation to the untruth.
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Draft is a series about the art and craft of writing. As a fiction writer, I feel an almost righteous obligation to the untruth. Fabrication is my livelihood, and so telling something straight, for me, is the mark of failure. Dressing them up into fiction, in this case, wrecked what is essentially a long overdue confession. I watched my father in the front hall putting on his new, lambskin leather gloves. It was a sort of private ceremony.

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5 thoughts on “Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live by Peter Orner

  1. Writing About What Haunts Us Now at least one of us may be absolved. Peter Orner is the author, most recently, of the novel “Love and.

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