“Going toward solitude and away from excuses has really helped me.” —Victoria Stopp
Hey there, CNFers, my CNF buddies, hope you’re having a CNFin’ great start to the new year. Jan 1 is just a day like any other, but we as a culture have assigned supreme import to that day.
If you’re coming here for the first time because your resolution is to listen more podcasts or you want to kickstart projects in the genre of creative nonfiction, then let me tell you the deal: This is The Creative Nonfiction Podcast—hello—the show where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction: leaders in the worlds of narrative journalism, documentary film, radio, essay, and memoir and try to tease out habits, routines, and origins so that you can use their tools of mastery in your own work. Continue reading “Episode 83—Victoria Stopp on Battling Chronic Pain, Being Disorganized, and Writing in a Camper”
“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.
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Working with Prolematic Writers and How Not to be One
And what she learned working with New Yorker editor David Remnick
How she organizes her titanic feats of research and much more
People are taking advantage of my free hour of editorial work and coaching, about a $50 value. Want in? All you have to do is leave an honest review on iTunes and have it postmarked by the end of December. Send me a screenshot of your review and you’ll be on your way. Reviews validate the podcast and increase its visibility so we can reach more CNFin’ people. I’m not even asking for a 5-star review, merely an honest one because that comes from a more authentic place.
All right, enough of my stupid face, time to hear from Louisa Thomas, thanks for listening.
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“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.
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.”
“You’ve got to be daring. You’ve got to have that unshakable belief that ‘You know what? Somebody’s gonna publish a book someday. It might as well be me.'” —Philip Gerard
“I don’t really have hobbies. I have passions.”—Philip Gerard
“If I do this enough days in a row, probably I’m gonna get there.” —Philip Gerard
“I found that if I hang with them long enough, they would often tell me something interesting.” —Philip Gerard
“I began realizing there was a significant amount of work that wasn’t on the page, but if you did it, it would be on the page.” —Philip Gerard
“My problem is I’m interested in everything.” —Philip Gerard
“At a certain point the journey is over and you know it.” —Philip Gerard
That enough tweetable quotes for you?
Philip Gerard, writer and teacher, joined me for 90 minutes of energizing talk about the craft. I had so much fun and left this conversation fired up to pursue a bunch of stories I’ve got stuffed in the drawer.