Short Story Cycles

Still Life with Guns

This creative work follows a long tradition of cross-genre writing in contemporary American literature. It is not an autobiography, the story of a life. Instead, it is a memoir, a story from a life. Specifically, it is the story of a new father’s struggle to understand his vexing relationship with his own father so that he may better connect with his son. The memoir is constructed as a series of interlocking and related, though independent, essays. The collection is much like a short story cycle in this way. Through seemingly disparate essays about cars, guns, and music, we see a small group of characters grow and change. The story of the tumultuous father and son relationship plays itself out in the examination or cultural objects. Essays in this collection have appeared in slightly different forms in Creative Nonfiction and Exquisite Corpse.

from: Bess, John D.. “Still Life with Guns.” (2007). Link:

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Note: This dissertation is a scan.


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