Episode 87—Hope Wabuke on Empowering the Marginalized, Starting from the Present, and Finding Her Experience

Hope Wabuke’s “The Animals in the Yard” was nominated by “Creative Nonfiction” for a 2018 Pushcart Prize.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables from Hope Wabuke (@HopeWabuke):

“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
  • Nonlinear narratives
  • 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

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Books by Hope

The Leaving
Movement No. 1: Trains

Writers Mentioned

James Baldwin
Nikki Giovanni
Maya Angelou
Toni Morrison
Zadie Smith
Audre Lorde

Episode 85—Jamie Zvirzdin on Sincerity, Permission, and Hard Work

Jamie Zvirzdin was the runner up in Creative Nonfiction’s “Science and Religion” essay contest.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables from Jamie Zvirzdin (@jamiezvirzdin):

“To be sincere is to be powerful and creative nonfiction allows me to do that, to be sincere.”

“I don’t want to be content with what I know.”

“I don’t believe in ghosts, the afterlife, and I don’t believe in the muse. I believe in hard work.”

Hey CNFers, hope you’re having a CNFin’ good week.

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 personal essay, memoir, narrative journalism, documentary film, and radio and try to tease out origins, habits, and craft so you can experiment with any cool nuggets you hear. Continue reading “Episode 85—Jamie Zvirzdin on Sincerity, Permission, and Hard Work”

Episode 82—The Language of the Gods

Sometimes I write stuff.

By Brendan O’Meara

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”

Episode 81—Google as Religious Experience and Trusting Self-Doubt with Rachel Wilkinson

Rachel Wilkinson, whose essay “Search History” won Creative Nonfiction’s Best Essay for Issue 65 Science and Religion, joined me on Episode 81. Photo by Morgan Kayser.

Tweetables by Rachel Wilkinson (@realclownishink):

“Failure is part of the process.”

“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.

Thanks for listening!

People Mentioned

Eula Biss
Maggie Nelson
Claudia Rankine
Leslie Jamison

Books Mentioned

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again
The War of Art
Citizen
Notes from No Man’s Land

 

Episode 76—Erica Berry on Binge Writing, Writing as Learning, and Werewolves

Erica Berry wrote “Beasts Among Us” for the 13th issue of True Story

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Erica Berry (@ericajberry on Twitter):

“Joan Didion said ‘Writers are always selling people out’ and I have chafed against that because I don’t feel like I want to be.”

“I’m a pretty binge-y writer.”

“The essay lets you learn as you’re writing.”

In a week where Creative Nonfiction reached its Kickstarter goal to support its monthly offshoot True Story, what better than to have the latest True Story author on the show? Continue reading “Episode 76—Erica Berry on Binge Writing, Writing as Learning, and Werewolves”

Episode 65—How to Start Your Own Conference with Hippocamp Founder Donna Talarico

Donna Talarico
Donna Talarico, founder of Hippocampus Magazine and Hippocamp, a conference for creative nonfiction writers, hopped on the pod. Photo credit to Michelle Johnsen.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables from Donna Talarico (@DonnaTalarico):

“I think what gets to the heart of the story is the ‘why?'”

“You have to treat your freelance business like a business.”

“I would encourage anybody that calls themselves a freelancer to try calling themselves an independent writer.”

“It’s about being organized and creating a solid foundation.”

“It was important for every-day writers to show their stuff.”

“You don’t change things just to change things.”

What’s this? Two episodes in one week? F–k, yeah!

Support for this podcast is brought to you by Hippocamp 2017, a conference for creative nonfiction writers. It’s this weekend, as in September 8th through the 10th.

Hippocamp enters its third year with its main keynote speaker being, ahem, Tobias Wolfe. Hippocamp debuted with Lee Gutkind, then had Mary Karr as an encore. Now Wolfe? Srsly?

So here’s the deal, good ol’ Hippocamp sponsored the Creative Nonfiction Podcast again, but I didn’t run that snazzy new ad because this week’s bonus episode is with Hippocampus Magazine and Hippocamp founder, Donna Talarico, @DonnaTalarico on Twitter, give her a follow… now…

Maybe I should mention that this is the podcast where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction, leaders from the world of journalism, essay, memoir, radio, and documentary film, and try to tease out their stories and tricks of the trade, so that you can apply those skills to your own work.

Donna brings such a great entrepreneurial sensibility to this episode so if you want to organize your independent nonfiction career, or start a magazine, or start a CONFERENCE, this is your episode, your time to let your freak flag fly.

I’m on my second cup of cold brew and I’m pretty fired up, so I’m just going to come out and ask that you kindly leave a review on iTunes, like this nice five-star gainer from HannahinLA, “Great interviews that provide useful nuggets and inspiration for writers and other creatives.”

If you leave one, maybe you, too, will get a similar shout out. The biggest endorsement the show can get is these reviews, but also sharing it amongst your friends who like to dabble in this kind of work.

Episode 55—Do Funny Things Always Happen to Nikki Schulak?

Nikki Schulak’s “Dentistry’s Problem Children” appeared in Creative Nonfictions latest issue themed “How We Teach.”

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Nikki Schulak:

“What writer at my age gets to have parents be dead? I don’t have to worry about what they think!”

“I can’t stop. I can’t not write stories.”

I suggest visiting Nikki Schulak’s website and then perusing her extensive archive of essays

In this episode we talk about how stories come to her, how she stays attuned to the world, naked bike rides, and the power of performing for an audience and the validation that ushers.

This is the last episode before my 37th birthday. Wanna give something to me? Leave a review on iTunes. You don’t even have to wrap it. The best part? It’s free and takes less than a minute. Can’t beat that right?

Thanks for listening!

Episode 39—The Gentleman’s Guide to Arousal-Free Slow Dancing

By Brendan O’Meara

I tried something a little new. Not the reading of the essay part. I’ve done that before on the podcast. I added some serious production value to the reading of The Gentleman’s Guide for Arousal-Free Slow Dancing. 

I added some music in throughout the piece. I think it helps jazz it up without distracting too much. Let me know what you think because I’ll probably invite writers to read essays and try to do something similar each time. 

This essay appeared in Creative Nonfiction No. 62, an issue themed “Joy: Unexpected Brightness in the Darkest Times.”

I also interviewed Kim Kankiewicz and Angela Palm, both represented in this issue.

Thanks for listening!