On this episode, we are replaying an interview Matt Tullis did with David Giffels in January 2015. Giffels is a former reporter and columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio who has gone on to become a creative writing professor in the Northeast Ohio MFA program. He’s also the author of three books.
When he was on the show in 2015, his book, “The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt,” had just been published by Scribner. The book ruminates on Akron — Giffels’ hometown — specifically the city’s despair and destruction as the rubber industry moved out. It also embraces Akron’s resurgence.
In January of this year, Giffels’ third book was published. “Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin and a Measure of Life” is about what ended up being the last woodworking project Giffels ever did with his 81-year-old father; designing and building his own coffin. The book was release on January 2. Three days later, his father died. He wrote about that in an essay that was published on the Atlantic’s website on Father’s Day.