Questions with Aaron Orbey ’14

Currently double-majoring in Computer Science and English at Yale University, former Editor-in-Chief of this paper Aaron Orbey ’14 published an online essay in The New Yorker on November 22 entitled, “Mourning Through Horror Movies.” In the 2100-word piece, Aaron describes his fascination with horror movies despite having witnessed a burglar shoot his father when he was 3 years old.


When did you write “Mourning Through Horror Movies?”

I wrote the essay in October—right around Halloween—for a class I’m taking this semester on nonfiction writing, but I started doing research for the piece and thinking about the subject much earlier, in the summer.


What was your main goal with writing it?

It started out as a cultural criticism of horror movies—I wrote about theater, gothic literature, and the tradition of fear in storytelling. I miss parts of the original draft. Ultimately, though, it evolved into an essay that drew from this material to discuss how my family coped with my father’s murder. To that end, I was exploring an interest of mine—the movies. I’m happy with the final product.


*Were there any courses or was there any guidance that you received at BB&N that helped prepare you for this experience?

At BB&N, I benefitted immensely from the mentorship of my English teachers and from my experience on The Vanguard. I had the chance in high school to read and write across a wide range of genres and to polish work under the tutelage of many very supportive teachers, for whom I continue to be grateful.


*Do you have any pieces you’re working on now?

I often feel very busy at Yale, so I try to dovetail the classes I’m taking with what I’m working on as a writer. Right now I have a few larger reporting projects in mind, as well as a novel stewing in my head, and where I pitch those stories will depend on the subjects and scopes of the final products. On campus, I do work as a managing editor of The Yale Daily News Magazine, and I have edited for The New Journal, both of which consistently publish really polished, powerful work. I’m excited too, of course, to continue freelancing for national publications.


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