Tweetables by Jessica Lahey (@JessLahey on Twitter):
“Give me everything that was wrong with it and have me learn.”
“I’ve realized that long walks and gardening are a part of my process.”
“Almost always the editor is right.”
“Our tagline is, ‘Keep your butt in the chair and your head in the game.'”
“The work of being a writer means you get words on the page.”
Jessica Lahey, author of the essay “I’ve Taught Monsters,” which recently appeared in Issue 63 of Creative Nonfiction and the NYT best seller The Gift of Failure, came by the show to talk about teaching and getting the work done.
“The work of being a writer means you get words on the page,” Lahey says. “It’s as simple as that. I means you read, you write, and get words on the page.”
We talk about her approach to teaching and language, and also how Stephen King’s On Writing influenced her style. We also talk about what it means to work hard as a writer, a very nebulous term. What does hard work look like?
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“I don’t spend a lot of time lingering over breakfast,” he says on The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. [Subscribe on the Apple Podcast app or Google Play Music! And leave a review in iTunes. One generous soul has left a 5-star review! Join him/her!]
Check this: When dealing with early drafts (and Dinty writes as many as 40), he says, “I don’t think, ‘Oh, God, I hate myself. I’m a horrible person.’ I think, ‘You know what? I can actually fix this.'”
Great advice for patience and kindness to you and your work.
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“I just went after it, man, what’s the worst thing that can happen? I strike out? I don’t get a hit?” —Kevin Wilson
“You can’t compare yourself to anyone else.” —Kevin Wilson
“I’m big on teaching the person first and the player second.” —Kevin Wilson
Kevin Wilson (@KWBaseball), president of Kevin Wilson Baseball, LLC and a former switch-hitting professional baseball player, wrote The #Goodbatting Book, a slim volume that is about way more than hitting.
That’s why he’s on the show. Plus, during my playing days, hitting was everything. I mean, everything. Don’t worry, we don’t nerd out on hitting, but rather the principles behind what makes his approach to teaching and coaching so effective.
“There are all kinds of people who can easily out-write me, but there are very few who can outwork me.”—Bronwen Dickey.
“Henry Rollins said ‘Music is made by the people music saved,’ and I think stories are written by the people stories saved in the same way. And stories saved me from loneliness and boredom.”—Bronwen Dickey
It’s been a long time between episodes, but here’s a good one with author/journalist Bronwen Dickey.
We talk about her new book Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon, which will hit book shelves on May 8. The book isn’t what you think it’s about, and we dive into that and many, many other things.
The Brothers Karamazov
Slouching Toward Bethlehem
The Collected Essays of Annie Dillard
The Fire Next Time
During my lunch break at work (9 p.m.) and grinded out 20 minutes of narrative, two hand-written pages with my No. 2 pencil and yellow notepad.
Those 20 minutes felt so fun. I sat outside in the parking lot against two big planters under the stars, a full moon way the fuck up there.
That’s what I’m finding I love so much about fiction. It’s so fun to play around with these characters and have them say whatever I want them to, trip over roots, get the wind knocked out of them, do nasty things, do wonderful things.
Maybe I’ve found a new calling.
I’ve been knocking my head against the nonfiction wall for over 10 years and nothing has come together. At least with fiction there isn’t quite the degree of reporting needed. There’s some, but nothing like the fact-based stuff.
I’ll probably do the occasional magazine piece or essay if the mood strikes, but at some point you have to come to the realization that you’re not that good and maybe you never were.