Episode 97—Jeff Geiger on Oral Storytelling, Failure, and Fear as Fuel

Jeff Geiger, author of “Wildman” and the winner of The Moth Grand Slam in Portland, OR, stopped by CNF HQ.

By Brendan O’Meara (@BrendanOMeara or @CNFPod)

Tweetables by Jeff Geiger (@j.c.geiger on IG):

“If you’re not doing something that scares you, at least a little bit, then you’re wasting your time artistically.”

“You can do just as successful cutting words as adding.”

“You are the subject and the scientist at the same time.”

So, imagine a candle and it has two wicks, one on the top and one on the bottom. Now picture me lighting the candle at both ends. Do you see this fresh imagery?

It’s almost as if this candle will burn out before its time.

I only wish this represented something.

What’s this? It’s not Friday! What is the meaning of these CNFin’ shenanigans? Well CNFers, I’m going to try and kill myself and do two episodes a week. Is this sustainable? The short answer is, of course, no, but if it can be managed that’s twice as many CNF buddies, twice the reach, twice the insights and double the insanity. Continue reading “Episode 97—Jeff Geiger on Oral Storytelling, Failure, and Fear as Fuel”

Episode 96—Emily Poole Illustrated

Emily Poole on the job. Check out “Birdnote” to see 101 original descriptions accompanied by micro essays on the birds.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Emily Poole (@epooleart on IG):

“When you need stuff done in conservation, you’ve gotta connect with the heart.”

Hey, it’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show were I speak to the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction, leaders in narrative journalism, doc film, memoir, essay, and radio and tease out habits, origins, routines and punishing self doubt so that you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work.

Continue reading “Episode 96—Emily Poole Illustrated”

Episode 95—Mike Sager on the Magical Nature of Creating, Suspending Disbelief, and Preaching Beyond the Choir

The legendary Mike Sager talked about his career doing long features for magazines and newspapers.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Mike Sager (@therealsager):

“That’s the most rare and wonderful element you can have is finding the thing you want to do because then you can just do it.”

“Journalism was a sport. Then it was an art.”

“I have a body of work that’s based on work.”

“I try to have a spoonful of medicine with the sugar.”

“I can’t get on the bandwagon because the bandwagon is gross.”

Hey, today I bring you the incomparable Mike Sager, @therealsager on Twitter. He of The Sager Group. He of the National Magazine Award. He of he talks you listen.

In Episode 95 of the creative nonfiction podcast he talks about his humble start in journalism, suspending disbelief, the power of creating something, and journalism as sport.

His collections of journalism include: The Lonely Hedonist, which includes all new material, Wounded Warriors, The Someone You’re Not, Stoned Again, The Devil and John Holmes, and Revenge of the Donut Boys, which features the iconic profile of Rosanne Barr, a feature that feels timely with the reboot of the show.

Famous articles of Mike’s include “Last Tango in Tahiti,” “The Man Who Never Was,” “I Am Large. I Contain Multitudes,” and about a billion others.

His collections are an education. You wanna be good? You wanna be great? You gotta read Mike’s work, after you listen to this episode of course.

 

Episode 94—Finding Clarity with Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson, author of “Finding Clarity,” came by the show to fire you up.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables from Kevin Wilson (@KWBaseball):

“If you have something good to share, share it!” 

“In order to go fast, you’ve gotta be slow.”

“How much to you value [solitude] as part of your craft?”

Kevin Wilson, president of KWBaseball, is back for another at-bat here on The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I talk to the best artists about telling true stories. 

His first trip around the bases dealt with his #Goodbatting book. His latest book is Finding Clarity: A Mindful Look into the Art of Hitting and it’s about way more than hitting. As Kevin says, it helps you find your “why,” your purpose, so you can attack you craft with intentionality and maybe have a greater impact on those around you.

In this episode we talk about:

  • How he found his “why”
  • Listening
  • Strengths vs. Weaknesses
  • Failure
  • And Slowing Down to go Faster

If you haven’t subscribed to the podcast, go to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Play Music so you get that little ping each week when we go live. 

I’ll also ask that you leave an honest review on iTunes. Those greatly help with the visibility and the hope is to keep growing. This podcast is a LOT of work and if it doesn’t grow then I’ll be forced to “go out of business.” Reviews and ratings will help keep the lights on. 

I’m grateful that you stopped by and I hope you stay. 

Now enjoy Kevin Wilson…

Episode 93—The Hidden Life of Life with Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas spoke about her latest book “The Hidden Life of Life.”

By Brendan O’Meara

“What I wanted to do was show the commonality of all life on earth…it seemed important to me that we’re related.” —Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.

You’ll excuse that there’s not traditional intro and outro to this show. You might even prefer it. I’ve had what I can only hope is a MINOR complication with recent oral surgery and don’t want to talk and thus compound the problem at hand. I won’t bore you.

It’s The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to artists about telling true stories. Leaders in narrative journalism (like Bronwen Dickey), memoir (like Maddy Blais), essay (like Erica Berry), radio (like Joe Donahue), and documentary film (like Penny Lane) talk about their origins, routines, processes, and key influences so you, kind listener, can apply those tools of mastery to your own work.

EMT returns to the show to talk about her new book The Hidden Life of Life: A Walk Through the Reaches of Time (Penn State University Press, 2018).

Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words, writes, “We are lucky to have shared some time on Earth with Elizabeth Marshall Thomas…Reading her is like looking through a telescope and realizing that the brightness you see actually happened long, long ago and has taken all this time to reach your own eyes.”

Dig the show? Leave a review for a review! What’s that? Consider leaving an honest review on iTunes and I will coach up a piece of your writing up to 2,000 words. Reviews are the currency that drives the podcast economy and I’d be thrilled if you added your two cents. Show me proof via electronic mail and we’ll get it done. You give me a minute of your review time, I’ll give you a few hours of mine (that’s how long it takes to read a piece three times and give good notes.) You give you get.

Also, in an effort to be less dependent on social media (@CNFPod, @BrendanOMeara, @CNFPodast, and @BrendanOMeara), my monthly newsletter is the bedrock of my little community here. It’s my monthly book recommendations and what you’ve missed from the world of the podcast. I’d love it if you signed up. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it.

Maybe I’ll be able to talk next week. In the meantime, enjoy Episode 93, and if you want to hear far more from Elizabeth, be sure to check out Episode 80 with her.

Episode 92—Ellen Stokken Dahl and “The Wonder Down Under”

Nina Brochmann (left) and Ellen Stokken Dahl wrote “The Wonder Down Under.” Ellen joined me this week for Episode 92 of the podcast.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Ellen Stokken Dahl:

“Lack of information can ruin people’s lives in a profound way.”

“Each of us had a lot of periods during the process where we felt we sucked at writing.”

So I had oral surgery this week so my capacity to speak with my face mouth is greatly hampered.

Welcome to the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the best artists about telling true stories, teasing out their origins, habits, and routines, so that you can apply some of those tools of mastery to your own work. What’s goin’ on CNFers! CNFbuddies!

I recorded this interview with Ellen prior to the surgery so I sound like a human person through the interview. She along with Nina Brochmann wrote “The Wonder Down Under: The Insider’s Guide to the Anatomy, Biology, and Reality of the Vagina.” It’s quite a fun read.

Both Ellen and Nina are touring the U.S. as we speak since the book caught fire after their TEDxOslo talk about “The Virginity Fraud,” breaking myths about the hymen and such got over 2 million views. It’s up near 3 million now.

I spoke only with Ellen for this episode because Nina got sick at the last minute. Only one brilliant Scandanavian for you this week…

Ellen hits on:

  • How her curiosity led her to women’s health
  • Co-authoring a book and co-writing a TED Talk
  • How the lack of information can ruin lives
  • And processing a new sense of global visability

Yeah, a little house keeping, I’d love for you subscribe to the show so you can get one of these nifty little podcasts every Friday. Also, if you leave an honest review on iTunes I’ll edit/coach up a piece of your work up to 2,000 words. You give me one minute of your review time, I’ll give you a couple hours of mine. Not a bad deal for you.

Okay, now it’s time to hear the brilliant … for episode 92, wow.

Episode 91—Mary Pilon’s Freelance Rumspringa and the Best Advice She Got from David Carr

Mary Pilon says, “Anybody who goes into journalism for fame or fortune or awards right off the bat I write off as an idiot.”

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Mary Pilon (@marypilon):

“Anybody who goes into journalism for fame or fortune or awards right off the bat I write off as an idiot.”

“The pipeline has changed.”

“I think it took two years to be comfortable with freelancing.”

Okay, so what’s the meaning of this? Mary Pilon again? For one I could listen to 52 episodes of Mary, but when we recorded I spliced the interview in two parts to shorten it and I’m glad I did at this point because my guest this week cancelled. What’s the lesson kids? Get interviews in the can. When I can it’s brilliant. Can’t always happen. Continue reading “Episode 91—Mary Pilon’s Freelance Rumspringa and the Best Advice She Got from David Carr”

Episode 90—Mary Pilon Brings You “The Kevin Show”

Mary Pilon returns to the podcast to talk about her latest book “The Kevin Show.” Photo credit to Julie Goldstone Koch

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Mary Pilon (@marypilon):

“I can’t think about writing a big project. It’s too overwhelming for me but I can think about a thousand words a day and then this magical thing happens which is you end up with 90,000 words.” 

“I think you have to have the basics down as a writer before you can even think about playing with how to tell it. I would say I spend 80 percent of my time on this one reporting and another the other 20 writing.” 

The Creative Nonfiction Podcast (subscribe) is the show where I speak to the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction: leaders in narrative journalism, essay, memoir, radio, and documentary film to tease out origins, habits, routines, key influences, mentors, self-doubt, so you can say, ‘Oh, that’s pretty cool. I’m not alone. I’m not a loser.’ And apply those tools of mastery to your own work. Continue reading “Episode 90—Mary Pilon Brings You “The Kevin Show””

Episode 89—Sarah Minor Isn’t Your Typical Writer

Sarah Minor is a writer who works in visual forms, or a visual artist who works in writerly forms. Ah, you’ll just have to listen.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Sarah Minor (@sarahceniaminor):

“I have to remind myself that I have to be a little nuts to do this. I think all writers have to be a little crazy.”

“Really what I’m always looking to go back to when I read is a book that is very sure of its own voice.”

“I have rarely began with structure.”

Yo. Wanna help the podcast? Leave an honest review on the iTunes, send me proof, and I’ll coach up a piece of your writing of up to 2,000 words OR give you a fancy transcript of any single episode of the podcast you like. That was easy. Let’s go.

It’s that time again, what’s up CNFers, my CNF-buddies, this is The Creative Nonfiction Podcast and I am your radio-handsome host Brendan O’Meara. This is the show where I bring you talented creators of nonfiction—leaders in narrative journalism, essay, memoir, radio, and documentary film—and tease out origins, habits, routines, influences, books, mentors—so that you can pick some of their tools of mastery, add it to your cart, and checkout free of charge.

That sounds fun, right?

This week I bring you Episode 89 with Sarah Minor, @sarahceniaminor on Twitter and @sarahcenia on Instagram). She is a professor and a writer and her essay “Threaded Forms: Decentered Approaches to Nonfiction,” looks to knitters, stitchers, and quilting bees to discover new and subversive models for writing memoir. 

In this episode we talk about:

  • Visual Essays
  • How boredom dictates her direction
  • Losing voice and finding it
  • And the ever-present battle of dealing with social media

Let’s do this.

Okay, if you stay here you’ll be able to sign up for my monthly reading list newsletter that has book recommendations and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it. 

 

Books Mentioned

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
The Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard
Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit  by Aisha Sabatini Sloan
You Animal Machine by Elena Sikelianosk
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
The Next American Essay edited by John D’Agata 

Documentaries

Tickled

Episode 88—Rachel Corbett says, “Stop Trying So Hard”

Rachel Corbett
Rachel Corbett knows a thing or two about Rilke, so she came by The Creative Nonfiction Podcast.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables from Rachel Corbett (@RachelNCorbett):

“There is some advantage to saying nothing and letting people go on forever.”

“It’s usually when you stop trying so hard that you something happens.”

“You have to go away for a few days and then come back and look at it fresh and see what’s magical about the information.”

Hey, there CNF-buddys, I’m comin’ at you live from my shiny new digs. New house up in Eugene and I’ve got a nice little office I can call my own. There’s no foam on the walls yet, so please pardon the audio, but we’re making strides to be the best.

Part of that is me shutting the front door and getting the hell out of the way. I still haven’t quite figured out a way to completely edit myself out of these interviews. But I’m working on it.

Don’t worry…

Rachel Corbett joins me this week for Episode 88 of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the best artists about creating works of nonfiction, leaders in the world of narrative journalism (like Bronwen Dickey here and here), essay, memoir, radio, and documentary film where I try and tease out origins, habits, routines, mentors, key influences, so you can apply some of their tools of mastery to your own work.

Rachel is a freelance journalist whose work appears in a few rags you might have heard of: The New Yorker, the New York Times, etc. She’s also the author of You Must Change Your Life, The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin

Rachel hits on some key points about:

  • Carving out your own niche
  • How things come easier when you stop trying so hard
  • Listening vs. talking
  • Getting away from the work so you can come back refreshed
  • And the power of being dumb and defeated (some of us were born this way)

So…you dig the show? I ask that you leave an honest rating (10 seconds) or a review (<60 seconds).

A review = an editorial consult/coach sesh of up to 2,000 words 

OR

An @CNFPod transcript of you choice.

Merely show me evidence (a screenshot) of your review, and I’ll respond.

Also considering signing up for my monthly reading recommendation newsletter. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it. 

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Writers Mentioned

Annie Proulx
Cormac McCarthy
William Gass
Geoff Dyer