Episode 76—Erica Berry on Binge Writing, Writing as Learning, and Werewolves

Erica Berry wrote “Beasts Among Us” for the 13th issue of True Story

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Erica Berry (@ericajberry on Twitter):

“Joan Didion said ‘Writers are always selling people out’ and I have chafed against that because I don’t feel like I want to be.”

“I’m a pretty binge-y writer.”

“The essay lets you learn as you’re writing.”

In a week where Creative Nonfiction reached its Kickstarter goal to support its monthly offshoot True Story, what better than to have the latest True Story author on the show?

This is The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with leaders in narrative journalism, essay, memoir, radio, and documentary film and try to extract the stories, habits, and routines, so that you can apply their tools of mastery to your own work.

For Episode 76, I welcome Erica Berry. She’s an essayist, journalist, and eavesdropper. She’s a liberal arts fellow and MFA candidate in creative nonfiction at the University of Minnesota. She spent nine months at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School in rural Sicily co-producing a documentary about endangered culinary traditions. Now she’s working on a book of essays about fear and that’s what brought her here today.

Not fear of the podcast. This is a safe place after all, but the fear she courted in “Beasts Among Us,” her True Story story, about the myth of the werewolf. It’s a chilling tale that feeds off of local lore and Erica’s own visit to the town where people swear they saw the man-wolf. And to start off the podcast, I have a treat, but first a little housekeeping.

I’m still offering a free hour of editing/coaching for a piece of you writing. All you have to do is leave an honest review—notice I didn’t even say a nice review—of the podcast on iTunes, take a screenshot that also shows the date of your review, and email that to me. Anything postmarked from November 2017 to the end of 2017 is eligible. It’s my way of saying thank you. One friendly Canadian has already redeemed the gift and I hope dozens, if not more, of you will as well.

So Erica was gracious enough to read from the first section of her story Beasts Among Us, so we’re going to ease into that. As a warning, the hairs on your arms might just stand up.

Programs Used


People/Books/Stories Mentioned

John McPhee
Joan Didion
Susan Orlean’s The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup
John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead
Leslie Jamison The Devil’s Bait

Podcasts Mention

Kill Fee