Episode 85—Jamie Zvirzdin on Sincerity, Permission, and Hard Work

Jamie Zvirzdin was the runner up in Creative Nonfiction’s “Science and Religion” essay contest.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables from Jamie Zvirzdin (@jamiezvirzdin):

“To be sincere is to be powerful and creative nonfiction allows me to do that, to be sincere.”

“I don’t want to be content with what I know.”

“I don’t believe in ghosts, the afterlife, and I don’t believe in the muse. I believe in hard work.”

Hey CNFers, hope you’re having a CNFin’ good week.

It’s The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction: leaders in the world of personal essay, memoir, narrative journalism, documentary film, and radio and try to tease out origins, habits, and craft so you can experiment with any cool nuggets you hear.

Today’s guest was the runner up in Creative Nonfiction’s “Science and Religion” contest from Issue 65. It’s Jamie Zvirzdin and her essay “Shuddering Before the Beautiful”: Trains of Thought Across the Mormon Cosmos details Jamie’s conflict with the Mormon church and her ultimate break from it, but doing it in a very empathetic way. There’s no vindictiveness in the story. She just lays it all out there. So we dig into that a bit.

Rachel Wilkinson won the contest.

In this episode you’ll also learn:

  • Jamie’s Fragment Heaven and Graveyard Hell
  • How she’s really analog when it comes to scheduling
  • Her addiction to learning
  • And lots of influential books and writers

I think Tom Petty said, “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus!” So here’s my conversation with the great Jamie Zvirzdin.

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