Butler is one of the smartest people I’ve ever spoken with. There’s a level of thinking and depth you don’t often hear from someone who’s in their mid-30s. You expect it from, say, George Saunders, but listening to Butler speak was a treasure for me and I hope so for you.
Like Holland, Glenn Stout, and Charles Bethea, Butler never studied journalism, yet he’s one of the best at his craft. I sense a theme that some of the best at this craft aren’t journalists by trade, but people who have a keen sense for language, are widely read, and think long and hard about the work. They aim for impact, not a sound bite.
“I never imagined that I would write this book. I never imagined actually that I could write any book. The idea of book-length work terrified me.” —Sarah Einstein (@SarahEM2 on Twitter)
“I believe you have to give memory time to mellow and age and become a narrative.” —Sarah Einstein
Here I’ve got Sarah Einstein, author of Mot: A Memoir, a book that explores the friendship between Sarah and a homeless, mentally ill man named Mot (Tom backwards). He’s a brilliant, fascinating, resourceful man and an unlikely source of stability for Sarah during this period of her life.
In any case here’s the streaming player and notes from the show:
The subject at hand is Carrie Hagen, author of We is Got Him. She and I met at grad school where she began fleshing out the story for We is Got Him. It’s her first book, but you’d think it was her third or fourth. I’ll let her do the talking.
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We talk about a lot of stuff, certainly about process and the challenge of writing book-length narrative. Maggie is a writer, author, teacher, hiker, dog owner, reporter, super kayaker, all-round liver-of-life.
Also I introduce a new segment called the Bookshelf for the Apocalypse. What’s this? Should the world be ravaged by global pandemic, zombies, meteor strike or nuclear winter, and you were allowed ten books to keep in your survival pack, what would they be?
Below you’ll find a list of books Maggie mentioned that you may want to check out. Thanks for listening and I ask that you please subscribe to the podcast and sign up for the email newsletter.
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It’s no secret. Pixar, the heavyweight that brings us such awesome flicks as “Up”, “Ratatouille”, and “Wall-E”, has had its 22 Rules of Storytelling available online for a few years now. Some people blog about them, some people make imgurs, some people made a poster. I found this with Dug right in the middle.
I printed out this little poster and taped it above my work space. It’s more applicable to fiction, certainly, because like Rule No. 19: Coincidences that get characters into trouble are great. Coincidences that get them out of it is cheating.
But they are ALL elements of story that are embedded in the consumer, whether they know it or not. People seek these rules on an intrinsic level. As a writer of nonfiction, you can tune your antennae to situations that follow these rules and then report the hell out of them. Sports, my backdrop of choice, often has the elements of conflict woven into it.
You can’t argue with Pixar. Is there a bad Pixar movie? Is there an unwatchable one? They are funny, sad (I think most of them have made me cry on some level. Thanks “Up”. Thanks “Toy Story 3”.), triumphant and just plain fun.
I’m always looking for other media to help my storytelling and movies inspire me. May they inspire you.
I get to interview some pretty cool people doing this humble little podcast. In this latest episode, I speak with Harrison Scott Key about his award-winning essay The Wishbone. The Wishbone won Creative Nonfiction’s Southern Sin essay contest. It is a wildly funny essay about his father bending the rules to win a football game … a pee-wee football game … in which he recruit’s his 14-year-old son—Harrison—to suit up as the team’s integral 11th player.
In this interview we talk about comedy writing and where Key developed his comedic sensibility. Enjoy and share!
If you thought Hashtag #CNF was just a one-and-done kind of podcast, you’ve got another thing coming. I’m at least giving this thing a shot at a sophomore slump. Suckers.
To quote Ren from Ren and Stimpy, “Hark! Hark!” I’ve got a fun one for you today, and every day, so long as you click play.
Let’s face it, it had to be since author and Barrelhouse nonfiction editor Tom McAllister joined me to talk about Bring the Noise: The Best Pop Culture Essays from Barrelhouse Magazine.
McAllister is the author of Bury Me in My Jersey: A Memoir of My Father, Football, and Philly. He is also a professor of creative writing at Temple University and, most recently, is the editor of Bring the Noise. As McAllister riffs in his hilarious introduction, BTN is a treatise “on the the stupid things we love”. Yes, there’s the stupid things we love, but BTN shows how beautiful these stupid things are when in the hands of seventeen artful storytellers whose personal stories elevate popular culture to the adult table.
In it you’ll find professional wrestling, roller derby, Barry Bonds, stalking Aaron Grenier, and the “never-ending reality of The Hills” and, in true Barrelhouse style, the Patrick Swayze question.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to start this new venture called Hashtag CNF, a podcast about reading and writing with authors in the genre of creative nonfiction. Batting lead off is author Susan Kushner Resnick. We talked about her latest book, You Saved Me Too.
An iTunes subscription link will be available soon. In the meantime, you can subscribe to my blog here to get email updates of my latest entries and interviews. For now, enjoy the great insights Susan shared about her wonderful book.