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Friday, January 26, 2018

Managing Life's Travails

“Our job as writers, as far as I can tell, is to attempt to express what seems inexpressible.” – Nick Flynn

Born in Massachusetts on this date in 1960, Flynn is the author of two award-winning memoirs, a play, and a number of poetry collections, including My Feelings and Some Ether, which earned him the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award.

Flynn said he always had the urge to become a writer, but out of high school he tried a number of other things before taking the plunge.  After working as an electrician for several years, he spent some time at sea, including serving as a ship’s captain before taking on a position at a homeless shelter in Boston.  While there, he resumed his studies and his writing.        After studying on a two-fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, he earned his MFA from New York University and began teaching at Columbia University’s Writing Project.  Today he teaches creative writing at the University of Houston while still living part time in Brooklyn, NY.

Some Ether, his debut work in 2000, focuses on his tumultuous family life and includes a detached yet affecting look at childhood and trauma.  “Certain stories we carry with us, events in our life, they define who we are,” Flynn said. “It's not a matter of getting over anything; we have to make the best of it.”

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