Behind the Stories: David Stromberg

David's essay, Childlessness, describes the pain and grief associated with fertility difficulties, followed by the upheaval of a new family structure, all from a father's perspective. He encapsulates the strength and depth of confusing and conflicting emotions both internally and between two people struggling together.


David is an essayist and you can read his latest essay, "Putin's Gambit" on The American Scholar right now as well.




How much of your life do you give to writing?


I write in all kinds of modes – creative, scholarly, journalistic – and most of my time is spent juggling between them all. I also translate, which is not writing, but involves many of the same mechanisms. Also, not all of writing is actual writing, there's a lot of reading, note-taking, and preparation involved. So, in one sense, I'd say I spend about half of my time actually writing. But, in another sense, I could say I spend all my time writing.


What made you write this piece in particular?


This piece is part of a larger novella-length essay titled David, The Scribbler: A Diary of Death Drive. It's a piece that grew out of the desire to write about the links between storytelling and death – but, since I started to write it in January 2020, it actually became a diary of the coronavirus outbreak. And since a big part of that early period was near-complete isolation, it led to reflection on the conditions of those days alone at home, which were actually quite magical for us. We were alone with our six-month-old daughter, who was born after three years of fertility challenges, and in a strange way it gave us the time and space to work through some of the pain we'd accumulated along the way and move into new – though no less difficult – realities.


How does this piece fit with your wider writing? Do you write in other genres?


I write essays, fiction, and hybrid pieces, so this fits into all that on its own terms. But the larger essay from which this was taken is special for me in that it was the first longer work I'd written that wasn't scholarly in many years.


How can readers further support your writing?


I have another essay, A Short Inquiry into the End of the World, which was published last year, that will soon be available in paperback. I'd welcome readers to consider that piece and, if they're so inclined, to check out some of my other work.