Episode 49—Dinty W. Moore on the Gift of Feedback, Reading Like a Mechanic, and Patience

Dinty W. Moore, author of “The Story Cure.”

Tweetables by Dinty Moore:

“I don’t spend a lot of time lingering over breakfast.”

“The people I know who fail as writers … lack patience, stubbornness.”

“The story’s got to move on.”

“I don’t think, ‘Oh, God, I hate myself. I’m a horrible writer.’ I think, ‘You know what? I can actually fix this.'”

By Brendan O’Meara

Dinty Moore (@brevitymag) runs the creative writing program at Ohio University. He founded Brevity Magazine, an online magazine dedicated to short (<750 words) nonfiction. He’s written a dozen books.

“I don’t spend a lot of time lingering over breakfast,” he says on The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. [Subscribe on the Apple Podcast app or Google Play Music! And leave a review in iTunes. One generous soul has left a 5-star review! Join him/her!]

Dinty’s latest book, The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir (Ten Speed Press), will help diagnose—and cure!—common ailments in your project, whether you’re far along in a book (as I am) or you’re just getting starting.

Check this: When dealing with early drafts (and Dinty writes as many as 40), he says, “I don’t think, ‘Oh, God, I hate myself. I’m a horrible person.’ I think, ‘You know what? I can actually fix this.'”

Great advice for patience and kindness to you and your work.

Please leave a review on iTunes, subscribe to the podcast, and share with a friend.

Thanks for listening!

I also mention Mary-Heather Noble and Kim Kankiewicz as it applies to a part of conversation on patience. Check them out if you haven’t already!

Episode 43—Mary Heather Noble on Emotional Charge, Emotional Distance, and Not Discarding Work

Mary Heather Noble’s “Eulogy for an Owl” won Creative Nonfiction’s Editor’s Prize. Photo by H. Romero

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Mary Heather Noble

“I think it really gets at the heart of whatever people perceive themselves to be, as part of a natural system or not.”

“The emotional charge came to light for me. Before [Eulogy for an Owl] was a creative nonfiction, research-based thing that didn’t have any pow to it, didn’t have a story behind it, it was just a fascination for me.”

“It needs to rise like bread, first, before you can take it any further, or let it cool before you frost it.”

“I know not to throw away writing.”

“Writing is a little bit more like quilt making where you keep these other parts and less materializing from thin air.”

“I’m one of those writers who has spurts and dry spells.”

“Other different art forms can inform our writing.”

“I tend to look at my pieces like a box of puppies that need to find homes.”

Great day and a sad day.

Great that I get to share this episode with Mary Heather Noble (@MH_Noble on Twitter). Sad because I had to delete Episodes 1 through 8 from the #CNF archive for storage reasons.

That will likely be the case from now on. Every new episode will kick out the oldest one. 

If people want older episodes, I’m working on transcripts (ugh) and possibly putting old episodes on CDs. I admire those folks and podcasts with the budgets to keep all their work up indefinitely, but with no ad revenue or subscription service, I can’t keep pace. It already costs me quite a bit as is.

That said…

I welcome Mary Heather Noble, an environmental writer who won Creative Nonfiction’s editor’s prize in Issue 61’s “Learning from Nature” edition. Her essay “Eulogy for an Owl” is a magnificent piece of writing and particularly profound for me it talks about moving out west and the latent guilt of leaving bitter family behind.

Just so you know, the misses and I are totally down with the move, but we receive(d) our fair share of guilt trips, which is particularly maddening, but that’s neither here nor there. We’re here to talk about Mary Heather’s work and her approach.

Housekeeping: Share this episode with someone you think will get value from it, subscribe, leave a 5-star review in your directory of choice. Makes me feel good and will help the podcast reach more people.

Let’s dive in. Here’s Mary Heather Noble.

Also mentioned is Kim Kankiewicz’ episode. 

Episode 41—Jennifer Niesslein, the Full Grown Person behind Full Grown People

Jennifer Niesslein
Jennifer Niesslein talks about what it means to be an editor.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables:

“I only write when I have something that I really need to figure out.”

“My job is to get the essay to its platonic ideal.”

“I took a personal crisis and made a publication out of it.”

“I wanted to make the magic happen.”

“So much of writing is rhythm.”

Jennifer Niesslein, formerly a co-editor and co-founder of Brain, Child, and currently editor and founder of Full Grown People, joined me on Episode 41 to talk about the art of editing.

Her essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction, the Brevity blog, Virginia Quarterly, and The Nervous Breakdown.

She’s also the author of Practically Perfect in Every Way.

Why wait any longer? Here’s Jennifer Niesslein.

Episode 36—The Joyful Kim Kankiewicz Writes with Her Ears!

Kim Kankiewicz won best essay for Creative Nonfiction’s Issue 32 contest.

By Brendan O’Meara

“You write in isolation and a rejection doesn’t give you a lot of feedback.” —Kim Kankiewicz (@kimprobable)

“What I have to process is my own thoughts and experiences; does that matter to anybody else? The reason I write is to make connections with other people.” —Kim Kankiewicz

Here we are again, picking them off one by one. 

Kim Kankiewicz’ essay “Rumors of Lost Stars” won Creative Nonfiction’s best essay contest for Issue 32’s theme of “Joy”. It’s an essay about communal acceptance, overreaching, and then personal acceptance and redemption. She threads this around the mythology of three stars. The parallels between the myths and her story make this essay sing.

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Thanks for listening!

Links

Kim’s McSweeney’s Internet Tendency story.

People Mentioned

Brian Doyle
Rebecca Solnit
Sonya Livingston

Episode 35—Sybil Baker on Discovery and the Art of Being Different

Sybil Baker, author of “Immigration Essays”.

By Brendan O’Meara

“Different writers are different things to us at different times.” —Sybil Baker (@SybilBaker).

“I think most writers would agree that writing is an act of discovery. We’re asking questions and trying to discover something.”Sybil Baker

Sybil Baker, author of Immigration Essays (C&R Press, 2017) came by #CNF HQ to talk about her new book of essays dealing travel and displacement. And like Paul Lisicky (from Episode 27), she preaches the importance of preserving play in a piece of writing.

We recorded this back in October, so if you expect riffs on immigration courtesy of the Establishment, you’ll find this episode conveniently devoid of such banter. 

Sybil talks a lot about travel and how you don’t have to log miles to see things in different ways. 

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Google Play Music (badges are in the margins or below the post) and share it with a friend or two who may enjoy the conversation.

Thanks for listening!

Also, Sybil joined me to talk fiction on my side gig over at SpareMin, a micropodcast app that records phone calls. My show is The Book Show. Have a listen:

Thanks again for listening!

Episode 30—I read my Pushcart Prize-Nominated Essay “That Pickoff Play”

This great issue of Chautauqua Americana published a ton of great essays.
This great issue of Chautauqua Americana published a ton of great essays.

By Brendan O’Meara

We made it to Episode 30 of the #CNF Podcast! It’s been hit and miss since I started it over three years ago, but the aim is to be more consistent as that’s the only way for it to reach more readers and writers. So go subscribe, if you haven’t already.

I heard somewhere that a podcast has an average run of about seven episodes, yet here we are at Episode 30 of the #CNF Podcast.

That’s on account of the people I hear from who derive some value and entertainment from the interviews. For that I say, Thank you so much. And let’s keep this thing going, let’s try and reach more writers and more readers.

So Episode 30 is a little different than the typical interview format. For this milestone episode—if you’ll indulge me—I chose to read an essay I had published this year in Chautauqua Americana, a literary journal run by Philip and Jill Gerard.

They were gracious enough to nominate this essay for a Pushcart Prize, so without further ado, here’s me reading my essay “That Pickoff Play”.