Door to the River by Aram Saroyan

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Synopsis

I grew up the son of a famous writer, grew up in his shadow in a general sense, except for two fortuitous graces... the first, that astrologically speaking I had many planets in Leo and so I was absurdly full of confidence, when I wasn't struck numb with my own incapacities. And the other, and perhaps the decisive factor, was that I had the honor of being a member of the generation that came of age in the sixties. So begins Aram Saroyan's essay, 'Occupation: Writer,' about his vocation, the sixties generation, and the fundamental task of coming to understand himself not as the son of William Saroyan but as his own person. Saroyan found his calling as a writer early on, starting out as a poet, and going on to write op-ed pieces, reviews, novels, biographies, memoirs, screenplays, and plays. In this essay and others included here, he explores the difficult task of finding one's way as a writer: the ongoing search for the various doors which must be opened in order to renew one's resources and access the river of creativity. Both the contemporaneous essays and the earlier reviews from the 1970s, 80s and 90s assess major and minor cultural figures from the generation of which Saroyan himself was so much a representative member, and recall a time when being an independent writer was feasible, when even a young author could hone his craft and critical sensibility through book reviews and op-ed pieces. In these works, Saroyan contends for books that make for good companionship, what Jack Kerouac decreed was the true test of a book. In Saroyan's engaging and always engaged company, with the likes of Andy Warhol and Charles Mingus, Robert Creeley and Ted Berrigan, Joan Didion and Gore Vidal, Door to the River is good companionship as well.
 

About Aram Saroyan

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Aram Saroyan is an internationally known poet, novelist, biographer, memoirist and playwright. His poetry has been widely anthologized and appears in many textbooks. Among the collections of his poetry are Aram Saroyan and Pages (both Random House). His largest collection, Day and Night: Bolinas Poems, was published by Black Sparrow Press in 1999. Saroyan's prose books include Genesis Angels: The Saga of Lew Welch and the Beat Generation; Last Rites, a book about the death of his father, the playwright and short story writer William Saroyan; Trio: Portrait of an Intimate Friendship; The Romantic, a novel that was a Los Angeles Times Book Review Critics' Choice selection; a memoir, Friends in the World: The Education of a Writer; and the true crime Literary Guild selection Rancho Mirage: An American Tragedy of Manners, Madness and Murder. Selected essays, Starting Out in the Sixties, appeared in 2001, and Artists in Trouble: New Stories in early 2002.
 
Published March 1, 2010 by Black Sparrow Press. 192 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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