“I don’t think I followed a very traditional pathway and just did what I felt like doing.”
“11 o’clock in the morning is an optimistic time.”
“I love to work. I love being completely absorbed in something else.”
It’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction. Leaders in the worlds of narrative journalism, personal essay, memoir, radio, and documentary film come here to talk about their origins, inspirations, and work habits so that you can apply their tools of mastery to your own work. Continue reading “Episode 80—The Wild Life of Elizabeth Marshall Thomas”
“Those stories that can’t seem to get away from you. You keep thinking about them. I always try to pursue these when that’s the case.”
“I think one criticism book editors will give magazine journalists is that their book proposal sounds like a magazine article. With the North Dakota book, I wanted more of those through lines.”
“I love the reporting process even though it’s a lot of hard work. Getting into great conversations with people, that’s what it domes down to, coming home from an interview and feeling really excited about the material.”
“For me, the first draft is pretty awful. It’s like pulling teeth every single day getting it down.”
“I think I’ve seen that talent is only a small part of the equation especially with journalism because good reporting is good writing.”
“The ordinary can always become extraordinary if you give them enough time. Everyone can be a fascinating character if you peel back enough layers.”
For episode 77, I welcome Blaire Briody, that’s @blairebriody on Twitter. Sheis a freelance journalist who has written for The New York Times, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Fast Company, Glamour, among others. Her first nonfiction book, The New Wild West: Black Gold, Fracking, and Life in a North Dakota Boomtown. The book was the 2016 finalist for the Lukas Work-in-Progress Award from Columbia Journalism School and Harvard University, and she received the Richard J. Margolis Award for social justice journalism in 2014.
Ted Conover, author of several books and immersion journalist of the highest order, judged the contest, you can also hear him back on Ep. 50 of The Creative Nonfictoin Podcast, and here’s what he had to say about Blaire’s gold-medal piece:
This vivid portrait of a woman trying to work oil fields during the fracking boom rings totally true—we seldom meet people like Cindy Marchello in narrative journalism, but I don’t doubt for a second they’re here. I love the frankness and the matter-of-factness. Both Blaire Briody and her subject won my heart, and admiration.
Speaking of being thankful, reviews and ratings have been flowing in and I want to extend a big, big thanks to those who are doing that and taking advantage of my editing offer as a result. What’s this? In exchange for an HONEST—it doesn’t have to be a good one, just an honest one—review on iTunes, I’m offering an hour of my time to work with you on a piece of writing. All you have to do is leave your review and when it posts, email me a screenshot of it. As long it’s postmarked any time between Nov. 2017 and the end of Dec. 2017, the offer stands. Reviews are the new currency and your help will go a long way toward building the community this podcast sets out to make, to empower others to pick up the pen or the camera or the microphone and do work that scratches that creative itch.
The first half of this interview had to be completely cut out.
Why? There were some nasty internet gremlins wreaking all kinds of havoc with our connection. It sounded like an old, old Apple computer chugging in the background with some heavy thumps thrown in, maybe an aquarium’s aerator. I mean, it was weird, but more than that it was extremely distracting, so instead of putting you through that, fair listener, I’m going to sum up that first part of the interview in a few hundred words, then we’ll get to the second half that I recorded through a different connection and that sounds just fine.
It’s 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, documentary film, essay, memoir and radio and try to deconstruct how these masters go about the work so that you can improve your own.
True Story is a 5,000-10,000-word stand-alone piece in chapbook or digital form. It’s pretty rad.
In this episode we talk about:
What makes the green-lit pieces pop
What the rejected pieces have in common
And also some of the goodies you can expect with a pledge.
I hope after listening to this you’ll head over to the Kickstarter campaign and pledge some hard-earned dough so they can keep doing the work they’re doing on True Story.
Full disclosure, I don’t get any kickbacks of any kind.
What a guy.
It would be nice if you shared the episode and even left a nice review over on iTunes to help validate the podcast so I can keep doing this thing. I’d hate for the business office to come down and slam the door shut on this enterprise. Keep the reviews coming so I can keep the doors open at CNFHQ.
“That sense of discovery when you come across a story you had no idea existed.”
“The book project was my last hope for getting to do the type of writing I wanted to do.”
“I’ve kind of learned to live with the self-loathing I think.”
“I try to picture myself telling the story to someone at the bus stop.”
It’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast where I speak to the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction. Leaders in the world of narrative journalism, memoir, essay, radio, and documentary film share their tools and tricks with you so you can improve your own work.