Peter Straub  

   Home Web Page : http://www.peterstraub.net/home.html


This is his Biography from his website.. Peter’s life fascinated me so much. I copied and pasted his biography for you to read.

Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 2 March,         1943, the first of three sons of a salesman and a nurse. The salesman         wanted him to become an athlete, the nurse thought he would do well as         either a doctor or a Lutheran minister, but all he wanted to do was to         learn to read.

When kindergarten turned out to be a stupefyingly banal disappointment         devoted to cutting animal shapes out of heavy colored paper, he took matters         into his own hands and taught himself to read by memorizing his comic         books and reciting them over and over to other neighborhood children on         the front steps until he could recognize the words. Therefore, when he         finally got to first grade to find everyone else laboring over the imbecile         adventures of Dick, Jane and Spot (“See Spot run. See, see, see,”),          he ransacked the library in search of pirates, soldiers, detectives, spies,         criminals, and other colorful souls, Soon he had earned a reputation as         an ace storyteller, in demand around campfires and in back yards on summer         evenings.

This career as the John Buchan to the first grade was interrupted by         a collision between himself and an automobile which resulted in a classic         near-death experience, many broken bones, surgical operations, a year         out of school, a lengthy tenure in a wheelchair, and certain emotional         quirks. Once back on his feet, he quickly acquired a severe stutter which         plagued him into his twenties and now and then still puts in a nostalgic         appearance, usually to the amusement of telephone operators and shop clerks.         Because he had learned prematurely that the world was dangerous, he was         jumpy, restless, hugely garrulous in spite of his stutter, physically         uncomfortable and, at least until he began writing horror three decades         later, prone to nightmares. Books took him out of himself, so he read         even more than earlier, a youthful habit immeasurably valuable to any         writer. And his storytelling, for in spite of everything he was still         a sociable child with a lot of friends, took a turn toward the dark and         the garish, toward the ghoulish and the violent. He found his first “effect”          when he discovered that he could make this kind of thing funny.

As if scripted, the rest of life followed. He went on scholarship to         Milwaukee Country Day School and was the darling of his English teachers.         He discovered Thomas Wolfe and Jack Kerouac, patron saints of wounded         and self-conscious adolescence, and also, blessedly, jazz music, which         spoke of utterance beyond any constraint: passion and liberation in the         form of speech on the far side of the verbal border. The alto saxophone         player Paul Desmond, speaking in the voice of a witty and inspired angel,         epitomized ideal expressiveness, Our boy still had no idea why inspired         speech spoke best when it spoke in code, the simultaneous terror and ecstasy         of his ancient trauma, as well as its lifelong (so far, anyhow) legacy         of anger, being so deeply embedded in the self as to be imperceptible,         Did he behave badly, now and then? Did he wish to shock, annoy, disturb,         and provoke? Are you kidding? Did he also wish to excel, to keep panic         and uncertainty at arm’s length by good old main force effort? Make a         guess. So here we have a pure but unsteady case of denial happily able         to maintain itself through merciless effort. Booted along by invisible         fears and horrors, this fellow was rewarded by wonderful grades and a         vague sense of a mysterious but transcendent wholeness available through         expression. He went to the University of Wisconsin and, after opening         his eyes to the various joys of Henry James, William Carlos Williams,         and the Texas blues-rocker Steve Miller, a great & joyous character         who lived across the street, passed through essentially unchanged to emerge         in 1965 with an honors degree in English, then an MA at Columbia a year         later. He thought actual writing was probably beyond him even though actual         writing was probably what he was best at – down crammed he many and many         a book, stirred by some, dutiful to the claims of others, and, more important         than any of this, educated by the writerly example of his dear, eternal         friend, the poet Ann Lauterbach.

Stuffed with books and opinions about books but out of money, he married         his beloved, Susan, took a job teaching English at his old school, now         renamed University School of Milwaukee, and enjoyed a minor but temporary         success as Mr. Chips-cum-jalapenos, largely due to the absolute freedom         given him by the administration and his affection for his students, who         faithfully followed him as he struck matches and led them into caves named         Lawrence, Forster, Brontë, Thackeray, etc., etc. On his off-hours,         he fell in love with poetry, especially John Ashbery’s poetry, and wrote         imitations of same. Three years later, fearing to turn into a spiritless         & chalk-stained drudge, he went to Dublin, Ireland, to work on a Ph.D.,         secretly (a secret even to him) to start writing seriously.

Dublin, 1969-1972. His dissertation, a mess, devolved. He published poems         in poetry places, did readings with new friend Thomas Tessier who was         writing plays and poems, published two small books of poetry, Ishmael         and Open Air, and finally surrendered to psychic necessity and wrote a         novel, not at all a good novel, called Marriages, accepted by the first         publisher to whom it was, heart in mouth, sent. He moved to the larger         world of London.

London, 1972-1979, Ann Lauterbach lived on the other side of Belsize         Square; Thomas Tessier soon materialized, magnificently, as the Managing         Director of a publishing house. He wrote & wrote & sometime in         1974, in desperation and despair first gathered up his ancient fears and         turned them into fiction & by doing so saved his life. He and Ann         talked about poetry, the mysteries of everyday life and everything else;         he and Tessier talked about H.P. Lovecraft, No Orchids for Miss Blandish,         and everything else, including the horror movies shown at the Kilburn         Odeon. His writing improved. He and Susan bought a house on Hillfield         Avenue in Crouch End, N8, and begat their first child, Benjamin, born         during the writing of Ghost Story.

In 1979 he returned to America, living first in Westport, Connecticut,         where Emma Straub was born, then in New York City, where he and his family         inhabit a brownstone on the Upper West Side. He continues to enjoy the         crucial friendships of Ann Lauterbach, Thom Tessier, and several others,         mainly writers and jazz musicians. At some point he became conscious of         the central issues of his life, which recognition made it impossible to         cast them into the patterns, however imaginative, of horror literature,         as least as conventionally regarded. Horror itself, on the other hand,         has not abandoned him, nor can it ever, a matter for which he feels the         deepest gratitude. He is a member of HWA, MWA, PEN and the Adams Round         Table, and though he is without “hobbies,” remains intensely         interested in jazz, as well as opera and other forms of classical music.


195775979072  These are some titles just start with . .