Research for Lunch: David Giffels

David Giffels, Assistant Professor of English, will present on Thursday, November 14, at 11am-noon in Olin Hall, Room 362.

“The Box: An Exploration of Mortality, the American Death Ceremony, Fine Carpentry and Fatherly Wisdom through Immersion Narrative Nonfiction”

“In a new book of creative nonfiction, I intend to enlist my 80-year-old father, a master woodworker, to help me build my casket, and to write a memoir about our interaction and the unfolding process as an exploration of mortality.

The Box will use the structure of the creative nonfiction narrative as a framework to explore and challenge both my own and larger cultural attitudes toward mortality, funeral rites and the afterlife. The story will also capture in prose the spirit, wisdom and craftsmanship of my father, who, within the past 18 months, has struggled through cancer, turned 80, and experienced the death of his wife, my mother. The writing project will build on my experience and national reputation as a nonfiction writer by challenging me to take on a story with considerable emotional weight and cultural relevance, and to write in such a way that makes a seemingly morbid endeavor engaging and enlightening.

This work will meld the personal memoir with large universal themes, an approach that has a dynamic place in contemporary American literature. The project will employ the technique of “immersion,” in which a writer adapts the role of both participant and observer, entering an experience in order to document it.”

Bring your lunch and show support for one of your colleagues.

RSVP Kelly Ruszkiewicz, ORA, by email