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Author Archive: "Alix Ohlin"

Personal Geography

I've lived a wandering life. I didn't plan it this way, but somehow I've managed to move every few years since I was 16 — for school, for work, and sometimes out of a sheer itchy restlessness that I can't entirely explain, even to myself. As a result, I spend a lot of time feeling homesick for the places that came before, while simultaneously casting an eye to the seductive destinations that are up next.

I've often feared that this nomadic tendency of mine is a character flaw, or — perhaps just as worrisome, from a writer's point of view — an aesthetic one. After all, isn't the best writing supposed to be colored by the landscape that gave birth to it, infused with its special climate and culture, like wine?

No small part of Faulkner's greatness lies in how vibrantly he conjured Yoknapatawpha County, the entwined personalities and lengthy, tortured histories of its inhabitants. Joyce lived in exile from his native Ireland but every word he wrote is both about and of that country. Alice Munro's stories venture far and wide, ...

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