Oronte

John Griswold, who uses the pen name Oronte Churm at Inside Higher Ed and elsewhere, was born in Vietnam and raised in coal country in Southern Illinois. His stories, poems, and essays have appeared in War, Literature and the Arts; Brevity; Natural Bridge;  and Ninth Letter. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, listed as notable in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009, and included in The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 3 (WW Norton).

His most recent book is a collection of essays, Pirates You Don't Know, and Other Adventures in the Examined Life (University of Georgia Press 2014). He is also the author of a novel, A Democracy of Ghosts, and a nonfiction book, Herrin: The Brief History of an Infamous American City.

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Most Recent Articles

November 26, 2008
Actually, the title of the book I’ve been reading this week is The Turkey : An American Story (University of Illinois Press, 2006), by Andrew F. Smith.
November 25, 2008
Last night I ran into this listing, at the online Jennie-O Turkey Store, for a college internship:
November 21, 2008
Maybe I’m one of those late-bloomers or else just take my waking slow, but I often come to read books long after everyone else already has. It’s fine with me, since by the time I get there the books are succeeding on their own merits, not merely on buzz.
November 14, 2008
It’s interesting and strange to me how easy it is to sink into a willful belief that the Internet has everything we might want to know, loaded up by handlers into its magic boxes, if only we knew where to look.
November 7, 2008
Before Crazy Larry dropped out to play the train conductor in some holiday “experience” that we aren’t allowed to call The Polar Express down at the mall, he was an IT manager at a famous university. He and his staff provided support to administrators and faculty, some of whom willfully refused to help themselves yet expected instant and total service. There’s a triage for this sort of thing when resources are limited—resources are always limited—but out of some sense of privilege the faculty especially felt they shouldn’t have to play by the rules.
November 5, 2008
The jubilation on campus last night after the winner was announced was so loud, even at a distance of a mile, that I started looking out the windows in our house like a nosy old man wondering what the neighbor kids are up to. I’m sure I heard the entire drum line from the marching band going at it, and enough voices in sporadic cheering that I thought there might have been an impromptu rally in the stadium.
October 28, 2008
Teachers, who age while the students in their classes do not, are big on noting time’s passage. Most often this is done by pointing out what their students have not—and never will—experience directly.
October 24, 2008
Question: What do you get the writer, reader, teacher, actor, director, medical doctor, or translator in your life who has everything?Answer: This book.
October 17, 2008
I know: I’m the one who chose to write, and to complain about the problems inherent in one’s own choices is tiresome. Hemingway says it more colorfully in his memoirs, A Moveable Feast, when he upbraids himself for getting discouraged (and hungry, supposedly) as an apprentice writer in the early days in Paris. “Outside on the rue de l’Odeon I was disgusted with myself for having complained about things. I was doing what I did of my own free will…. You God damn complainer. You dirty phony saint and martyr,” he says.
October 15, 2008
I wrote a while back about my feeling that the complexity of technology is accelerating so rapidly that we can’t even understand how little we understand about it anymore, so I was interested to read this essay by John C. Orr over at The Kenyon Review, called “Back to the Future: The Continuing Appeal of The Education of Henry Adams.” (The book for which this blog is named.)

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