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Philip Petit

The Author as Hero

This is a brief summary of my speech at this year’s Night of Writing Dangerously (also known as the best writing party on the planet). I spoke at the Frankfurt Book Fair earlier this year. The theme of the event was “The Heroes of Storytelling.” Naturally my heroes of storytelling are authors, but I began […]

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Recent Writings

Going Long. Going Short.
New York Times Draft Blog
I’ve always wanted to go long, as in writing that big behemoth of a saga called the “Great American Novel,” no matter the absurdity of questing after such a holy grail. I thought the best way to understand the endless ribbons of America’s highways, the oozing boundaries of our suburbia and the rhythms of life they induce in us, resided in an ever expansive aesthetic of maximalist comprehensiveness, full of crisscrossing tentacles of story lines and sentences bursting with syntactic curlicues. …

Mr. American
Digital Americana, Fall 2013
Will looked through the gap in the soiled floral drapes, forgetting the girl and her drunken ribaldry for a moment. The hotel lay at the edge of New London in a no man’s land between farmland and the highway heading to Des Moines. A slanted barn lay sketched on a hill covered with a scrim of snow. Cows ate the scrubs of cornstalks in a field nearby, and a solitary tree, speckled with the last frazzled leaves of autumn, clawed at the sky. …

Morphine Drip
Green Mountains Review, Spring 2014 Issue
“It’s what we remember,” Dad said, as if clinging to a frayed thread tossed to a man overboard in a storm. He said something about a boy named Jim, his pants down to his ankles, his tuxedo shirt unbuttoned. Long baby hairs on smooth cheeks. Frogs croaking in the woods, gin rickeys under an August moon, the violet night. Outside a few parked cars, inside the ruckus of others. “Never underestimate the comfort sin can provide,” he said. “A lifetime of bedtime stories all to your lonesome.” Skin crinkled around his eyes. His dry lips pressed feebly around a straw.