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 



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 


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

Episode 87—Hope Wabuke on Empowering the Marginalized, Starting from the Present, and Finding Her Experience

Hope Wabuke’s “The Animals in the Yard” was nominated by “Creative Nonfiction” for a 2018 Pushcart Prize.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables from Hope Wabuke (@HopeWabuke):

“I like to start from the present. It’s vibrant and visceral and has these questions that are lingering throughout time but we can access them.”

“I was looking for myself. Where is my experience?”

“Your parents moved the entire world. What are you going to do with your one wild life?

Okay, let’s rock and roll, this is The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction. Leaders in the world of narrative journalism, memoir, essay, doc film and radio share their origins, stories behind the stories, habits, and routines so you can apply their tools of mastery to your own work.

Let’s hear from Hope Wabuke this week for Episode 87. She’s @HopeWabuke on Twitter and at hopewabuke.com. Hope is a poet, though she knows it, and her essay “The Animal in the Yard” is one of six 2018 Pushcart nominations for Creative Nonfiction Magazine (no we’re not a couple, but our friends tells us we like each other).

I had a real hard time cutting this interview down—something I do to all of them—because she is so wise and illuminating throughout, that I left it largely untouched.

She talks about the:

  • Global African Diaspora
  • Starting from the present as a place to explore the past
  • Nonlinear narratives
  • How her parents escaped genocide in Uganda to start a new life in America
  • Empowering the marginalized
  • And what it means to be a watcher

Dig the show? Consider leaving an honest rating, or, for 60 seconds of your time, an honest review. Reviews help embolden and widen the community we’re building here at CNF HQ.

If you leave a review I’ll offer up a free editing sesh for up to 2,000 words. You usually have to pay double for that in Vegas, Cotton.

Also, I have a monthly newsletter where I send out my reading, doc film, and podcast recommendations, as well as what you might have missed from the world of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. Lots are joining, so why don’t you? Once a month. No Spam. Can’t beat it.

Books by Hope

The Leaving
Movement No. 1: Trains

Writers Mentioned

James Baldwin
Nikki Giovanni
Maya Angelou
Toni Morrison
Zadie Smith
Audre Lorde

Episode 86—Noah Strycker on his Big Year in Birding, Community, and What to Leave Out

Noah Strycker, author of “Birding Without Borders,” hopped on the podcast this week.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Noah Strycker (@noahstrycker on Twitter and Instagram):

“I had to be pretty brutal about picking out the things I thought were the highlights. 3 1/2 weeks in Columbia was distilled to one or two sentences.”

“The momentum generated its own momentum.”

“I’m not a very fast writer. If I write 500 words in a day I’m pretty happy.”

“My best advice to people who want to write in any capacity. Just do it. Get started. It doesn’t matter where you’re published.”

My guest today for Episode 86 of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast is Noah Strycker, author of Birding without Borders: An Obsession, A Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World. [Free shipping anywhere in America! via Tsunami Books!] Continue reading “Episode 86—Noah Strycker on his Big Year in Birding, Community, and What to Leave Out”