“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 believe in soup: You stew everything together and then you get real complex flavors and the truth.”
“I’m driven by an emotional connection to what I’m doing.”
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 narrative journalism, memoir, documentary film, radio, and essay and try tease out the origins and habits so that you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work. Continue reading “Episode 84—Adam Valen Levinson: Young and Restless”
“The punk scene became a pre-Internet web of people for me to connect with.”
“Like any reader, I liked that [words] could take me away.”
“I’m much better on the page than I am verbally.”
“I always wanted to be Hunter S. Thompson without the drugs.”
“It’s not like I pitch an outlet and sit there waiting hopefully.”
“There’s no one right way to do your art.”
Shawna Kenney, author, writer, teacher, coach, editor, joins me on The Creative Nonfiction Podcast to talk about her origin story as a teenage fanzine founder, punk rock, and her delightful short essay “Never Call Yourself a Writer, and Other Rules for Writing,” a brilliant piece of satire.
She grew up in a conservative family in small-town Maryland, so the nearby punk scene in Washington D.C. held tremendous appeal. “I always wanted to be Hunter S. Thompson without the drugs,” Shawna tells me.
Her work has such an edge that I was surprised that she didn’t have that edge in conversation. “I’m much better on the page than I am verbally,” she says, which isn’t true at all. She’s great on the page, and she’s a great conversationalist.
Her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, the New York Times, Vice, and Playboy, just to name a few. Be sure to follow Shawna on Twitter @ShawnaJKenney and go to her website to read more about her and her work.