“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.”
“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:
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.
“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.
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
“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
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.
“Going toward solitude and away from excuses has really helped me.” —Victoria Stopp
Hey there, CNFers, my CNF buddies, hope you’re having a CNFin’ great start to the new year. Jan 1 is just a day like any other, but we as a culture have assigned supreme import to that day.
If you’re coming here for the first time because your resolution is to listen more podcasts or you want to kickstart projects in the genre of creative nonfiction, then let me tell you the deal: This is The Creative Nonfiction Podcast—hello—the show where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction: leaders in the worlds of narrative journalism, documentary film, radio, essay, and memoir and try to tease out habits, routines, and origins so that you can use their tools of mastery in your own work. Continue reading “Episode 83—Victoria Stopp on Battling Chronic Pain, Being Disorganized, and Writing in a Camper”
Hey, there CNFers, Happy New Year! It’s 2018 and we’re gettin’ rollin’ here for the biggest, baddest year for The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. It’s got a new Twitter thingy.
And what is The Creative Nonfiction Podcast? It’s the show where I speak to the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction: leaders in the worlds of narrative journalism, documentary film, radio, essay and memoir, and tease out the habits and routines so that you can apply their tools of mastery to your own work. Continue reading “Episode 82—The Language of the Gods”
“It’s kind of like the Internet is everybody’s dad.”
“I think of research as this open-ended, beautiful thing.”
“Research is this vehicle that allows you to follow your interests however long you want to follow it.”
“If you can’t love the grind, you’re doomed.”
For Episode 80 of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction, I spoke with Rachel Wilkinson, a writer and research based out of Pittsburgh, PA.
Her essay, “Search History,” won Best Essay for Creative Nonfiction Magazine’s Science and Religion contest for Issue 65. It’s Google as religious experience, how the very act of asking questions is very faith-based, and, if we’re getting grim and dystopian, how this technology, which is getting increasingly sentient, might supplant us some day. #spitoutthebone (Metallica reference for all y’all.)
In our conversation we talk a lot how she crafted this essay and how it hangs on a big idea rather than sheer character drive, David Foster Wallace, The War of Art, the fun of research, embracing failure, and trusting—yes, trusting—self-doubt.
Self-doubt is my spirit animal.
Hey, are you digging the show? I’d love it if you subscribed to the show, shared it with a fellow CNFer. Leave an honest review on iTunes and I’ll give you an editorial consult on the house. Just send me a screenshot of your review and I’ll reach out.