Sunday, March 1, 2015

Kenny Porpora

Kenny Porpora's memoir is The Autumn Balloon.

From his Q & A with Claire Bidwell Smith at The Rumpus:

The Rumpus: The big themes in this book—family dysfunction, alcoholism, and grief—are ones that are not unfamiliar to most of us. Yet for me, your writing breathed fresh air into these motifs and made me curious about your journey to understand them yourself. Was there a specific turning point when you realized that perhaps your childhood was atypical, and were there any particular books or films that resonated with you in the way your book might resonate with others?

Kenny Porpora: I think it starts with forgiveness. I’m not sure you can write honestly about a situation you’re still stuck in. And so it’s up to you to make peace with your circumstances, or change them altogether, and then you can look back with clarity and tell a more honest story. I used to think my life was atypical, especially when I’d meet people three or four times my age who’d never lost a single loved one. But I don’t feel that way anymore. The scope of loss in my story might be greater than some, but pain is pain, loss is loss, no matter how great and no matter what age you experience it, and you never know how it’s going to change you.

As for books, there were many. I used to carry certain books around with me: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, a magical, spiritual book that I can’t manage to summarize in a neat paragraph. It’s about the wondrousness of being alive and the inevitability of death. A Good Scent From A Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler is a book of stories about the displaced Vietnamese in New Orleans after the war. I don’t have a particular interest in that era or that war, but...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue