As an undergraduate, John P. O'Grady studied forestry, believing that this was a chance to dwell in deep groves and sequestered places, but when he realized that resource management is not an appropriate pursuit for one who delights less in the chainsaw than in the standing oak, he embarked upon graduate studies in English. For a number years, he served as a professor of literature and environmental studies. Along the way he lived in Maine, California, Montana, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Germany, and Ireland. Now he is back home, for good, in the Catskill Mountains of New York. There, not far from where Rip Van Winkle took his twenty-year nap, he practices writing and photography. His musings appear regularly on the Mountain Gazette (http://www.mountaingazette.com/blogs/land-in-the-sky/).
When asked recently about his philosophy of teaching writing, especially the writing of memoir, he recalled —perhaps without precision—the wisdom of an old teacher: "To write about the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to realize myriad things. At this very moment of decomposition, composition commences. The path that appears should be traced as far as it goes. If the composition is successful, no trace of it remains. This goes on without end. Until it begins anew."
Selected Essays by John P. O'Grady:
"To the Gods Below"
"The Outside Lands: Astrology and Taboo"
Books by John P. O'Grady: