Peter Eichenberger, a columnist and familiar face across Raleigh, suffered a stroke and died in his home Thanksgiving morning. During his career in Raleigh he wrote for the Spectator, the Independent, a few local websites, as well as his personal blog, petrblt.
Peter was known as a vibrant orator of Raleigh life, from high-profile court-cases to unsung citizens, and could often be seen walking or riding his signature 3-speed bicycle all over town.
His life and writing served to scratch the walls of “what is” in search of revealing more, a sort-of literary excavator, and a self-described vision-seeker. This often came at the risk of personal and professional health, and crescendoed in a traumatic bike crash in 2006, shaping his life and work for the next four years, ultimately playing a part in taking it.
His writing approached the wormy and ethereal sides of life just as often as the tangible and number-heavy social-political arena, and his earnestness could be felt when he talked tragedy, love, death or family. He was a scientist: tinkering with bicycles, political framework and perception with an imagination and enthusiasm often compromised in the tight walls of journalism.
He leaves behind a city of friends, a son, David, four brothers, a mother and stepfather.
In Peter’s own words, from a column in the Independent Weekly in 2005:
“Why we live: to participate in this world that makes no sense, to wallow in the joy, the moment, with the knowledge that in a sense there is nothing, no time, no solid objects–all a bundle of energy. A bottle is not an object, but an ‘event.’ We make a collective agreement to create reality–in this case, the Hall and Oates planet. I am wallowing in the ‘thisness,’ half expecting my hand to pass through the PBR bottle like smoke through bamboo. The bar has developed that distinctive purr, the band, me, the universe moaning like a didgeridoo.
‘I’m a balloon and I want to let go of the string,’ I say to a friend.
They get this serious look on their face. ‘Eichenberger, dude, don’t let go of the fucking string.”
-Peter Eichenberger 1955-2010
Correction appended. Peter has four brothers, not three as originally reported.