The Creative Nonfiction Podcast with Brendan O'Mearaactive
Publisher |
Brendan O'Meara
Brendan O'Meara is an author and journalist. The Creative Nonfiction Podcast showcases leaders in narrative journalism, essay, memoir, documentary film, and radio. Brendan teases out the origins, habits, routines, and tactics these masters—Pulitzer Prize winners, New York Times bestsellers—use so that listeners can apply those tools to their own work.
Country Of Origin |
USA
Produced In |
Eugene, OR
Premiere Date |
2013-03-20
Related Hashtags |
#CNFPod
Frequency |
Weekly

5.0

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100 Episodes Available

Average duration:00:57:27

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itunes pic"You can’t be passive and just sit back and wait for things to happen," says Andrew J. Chamberlain. I’m Brendan O’Meara and this is the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the best artists about telling true stories: leaders in narrative journalism, podcasting, radio, doc film, essay, and memoir and tease out origins, habits, routines, tactics, so you can improve your own work. For Episode 101, I welcome fellow podcaster Andrew Chamberlain. He hosts The Creative Writers Toolbelt, a podcast that gets real granular on the writing process. He has a fiction slant, but his experience interviewing and with ghost writing opened the door for him to come on my show. As an FYI, I went on his show not too long ago, so you should go and check that out. I’ll include it in the show notes. Andy breaks it down for you in this episode. Many of the tools apply to fiction, but if you’re anything like me, you want your nonfiction to read like fiction so I think you’ll get a lot of tasty nuggets from this one. Hey, if you haven’t subscribed, go and do that on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play Music, and soon Spotify, still waiting for approval on Spotify, but it’s coming, I promise. Today’s podcast is brought to you by the 2018 Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference. Now in its 6th year, the CNF Writers’ Conference is three days celebrating the art, craft, and business of writing true stories. May 24th through 26th in downtown Pittsburgh. Details at creative nonfiction.org/conference. Listeners of this podcast receive 20% off the registration price by entering coupon code CNFPODCAST during checkout. Promotional support is provided by Hippocampus Magazine. Its 2018 Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction is open for submissions until July 15th! This annual contest has a grand prize of $1,000 and publication for all finalists. That’s awesome. Visit hippocampusmagazine.com for details. Hippocampus Magazine: Memorable Creative Nonfiction. Head over to brendanomeara.com for show notes for this and 100 other episodes. Follow me on Twitter @BrendanOMeara or @CNFPod. The podcast is on Facebook @CNFPodcast. Sign up for my monthly reading list newsletter. It comes out on the first of the month and gives you a sampling of good books and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it.
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itunes pic"If I can get through the horribleness of the first draft, I have a chance," says Mary Karr. Today’s podcast is brought to you by the 2018 Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference. Now in its 6th year, the CNF Writers’ Conference is three days celebrating the art, craft, and business of writing true stories. May 24th through 26th in downtown Pittsburgh. Details at creative nonfiction.org/conference. Listeners of this podcast receive 20% off the registration price by entering coupon code CNFPODCAST during checkout Promotional support is provided by Hippocampus Magazine. Its 2018 Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction is open for submissions until July 15th! This annual contest has a grand prize of $1,000 and publication for all finalists. That’s awesome. Visit hippocampusmag.com for details. Hippocampus Magazine: Memorable Creative Nonfiction. Whoa, boy, CNFers, it’s Episode 100 of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. 100? Here for the first time? This is my jam, the show where I speak to the best artists about telling true stories: leaders in narrative journalism, memoir, doc film, radio, and personal essay to tease out tactics, habits, origins, and routines so you can improve your own work. I’m your host Brendan O’Meara. Be sure to subscribe wherever you get your pods and share with a fellow CNF Buddy. Man…Are you serious? 100 episodes and for this special occasion we here at CNF Pod HQ bring you Mary Karr. I’m sure 99.9% of you know who she is, but if you don’t here’s the rundown: She’s the best-selling author of The Liar’s Club, Cherry, Lit, The Art of Memoir, and five books of poetry, including her latest, Tropic of Squalor published by Harper. Mary is a professor at Syracuse University and is best known and most responsible for the boom in memoir when The Liar’s Club kicked all our asses and showed us what a personal story could be. We talked a lot about the importance of patience, working through dozens of drafts, the nature of talent, and cellos, yes, cellos. She’s @marykarrlit on Twitter and Facebook and her website is marykarr.com. Be sure to stick through the end of the show where Mary reads two amazing poems from Tropic of Squalor. You don’t want to miss out on that tasty goodness. If you head over to brendanomeara.com you’ll find show notes as well as a chance to subscribe to my monthly reading list newsletter. And, no, if you click through and buy books I don’t get any kickbacks so you can rest assured that I’m selecting books that I enjoyed and get no compensation for. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat that. You can also support the podcast by leaving a review on iTunes as that helps our little corner of the internet get a little bit bigger. If you leave an honest review and send me a screenshot, I’ll coach up a piece of your work of up to 2,000 words. No diggity. That’s gonna do it, CNFers. Here’s to the next 100 CNFin’ shows up in your ears.
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itunes pic"I'd rather find the story and excavate it than make it up," says bestselling author and New Yorker staff writer David Grann. The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I talk to the best artists about telling true stories and tease out origins, tactics, and habits so you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work. Welcome, CNFers, my CNFbuddies, oh, I’m feelin’ good today and boy do I have a treat for you. But first, if you don’t subscribe to the show, go and get it on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and soon Spotify and join our little tribe in this true story corner of the Internet. For Episode 99 I welcome David Grann, a New Yorker staff writer and the best-selling author of The Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. This is the best book I’ve read all year and with good reason. We dig into his approach to writing this book as well as key literary influences and why he ultimately landed on telling true stories. Killers of the Flower Moon, a National Book Award finalist, is now available in paperback. You can find more about David at his website davidgrann.netlify.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidGrann. Big thanks as always to you the listener and to David for taking the time. Hey, wanna help the show? Share this episode with a friend and think about giving it a review on iTunes. If you leave an honest review, send me a screenshot of it and I’ll coach up a piece of your work of up to 2,000 words. Head over to brendanomeara.com for show notes and to subscribe to my monthly reading list newsletter. I give out my reading recommendations and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it. Is that it? I think it is. Thanks for listening, CNFers. I’m out.
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itunes pic"I think it's important to get perspectives from people who don't write exactly what you write," says Lisa Romeo. You know the drill…It’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with leaders in the field of nonfiction about telling true stories, narrative journalists, doc film makers, essayists, memoirists, and radio producers to tease out tactics, habits, and routines, so you can apply those tools to your own work. If you don’t already subscribe to the show, do it on Apple Podcasts. Google Play Music, Stitcher, and very soon, Spotify. If the episode or episodes strike a chord, share it with your friends. You are the social network, not those other goons. Episode 98 feature Lisa Romeo (@lisaromeo on twitter), whose memoir Starting with Goodby: A Daughter’s Memoir of Love after Loss” tells the story of her late father and the continued relationship Lisa has with him in memory. It’s not a downer. Lisa writes it with such great tact that you never feel weighed down. Quite the opposite, really. She talks about: Brain dumps Writing right away as a form of note taking even while close to the trauma Getting perspectives from people outside your genre And the Power of Paper Habits Head over to brendanomeara.com for show notes and to sign up for my monthly reading list newsletter. Operative word monthly. I send out my reading recs along with what you might have missed ffrom the world of the podcast. You can even ask for my new CNF Pod Zine! Issue No. 1 is out. Also, if you leave an honest review on iTunes and send me a screeshot of it, I’ll coach up a piece of your writing of up to 10 pages or about 2,000 words. That’s not reserved for five-star reviewers. You can leave a two-star review and I’ll still honor the deal, though if you made it this far you likely think the show has more than two stars worth of value, but whatever. These are things that move the meter in the podcastosphere, so those are deeply appreciated.
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itunes pic"If you're not doing something that scares you, at least a little bit, then you're wasting your time artistically," says Jeff Geiger. So, imagine a candle and it has two wicks, one on the top and one on the bottom. Now picture me lighting the candle at both ends. Do you see this fresh imagery? It’s almost as if this candle will burn out before its time. I only wish this represented something. What’s this? It’s not Friday! What is the meaning of these CNFin’ shenanigans? Well CNFers, I’m going to try and kill myself and do two episodes a week. Is this sustainable? The short answer is, of course, no, but if it can be managed that’s twice as many CNF buddies, twice the reach, twice the insights and double the insanity. This Taco Tuesday I bring you the one and only Jeff Geiger, jcgeiger.com, j.c.geiger on Instagram. Jeff recently won a Moth Grand Slam event, a five-minute oral true story. Unfortunately you won’t hear that story, but his winning that event is what opened the door to have him—a novelist by trade—on the Creative Nonfiction Podcast. What is this podcast wayward listener? It’s the show where I speak to the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction or tellers of true tales: leaders in narrative journalism, documentary film, essay, memoir, and radio where I tease out origins, habits, routines, and debilitating self-doubt so you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work. Jeff’s book “Wildman,” was named a 2017 YA book of the year by Amazon and is one of those great coming of age books that is fun and illuminating to read. This episode is chock full of good and tasty nuggets. Jeff talks about his: Failures Transformation Oral story telling Not getting sucked down into the sunk costs of writing years in a different genre. Bonus: Jeff is one of those amazingly energetic and energizing people, so I think you’ll get done with this episode and want to do your best work. So go ahead and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. It’ll be on Spotify soon as well the normal places (iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher). Share this with a friend if you think they’ll dig it. Share it across you social platforms to spread the word. CNFers, this is what we do. Enjoy episode 97 with Jeff Geiger! So, we hit the 40 rating/review mark and I wanna thank all of you for taking the time, but let’s not stop there. Let’s get to the 50s, because reviews and ratings will help this little corner of the internet gain a bit of traction so we can reach and empower more tellers of true tales. Head over to brendanomeara.com for show notes, but also to subscribe to my monthly newsletter where I hand out my nonfiction (and sometimes fiction) recommendations for the month as well as tidbits from the podcast. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat that. Got a question or concern? Ping me on Twitter @BrendanOMeara or @CNFPod. Like the Facebook page @CNFPodcast or send me an electronic mail gram. As always, thanks for listening. Good bye till next time.
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itunes pic"When you need stuff done in conservation, you've gotta connect with the heart," says Emily Poole, illustrator for "Birdnote." Hey, it’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show were I speak to the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction, leaders in narrative journalism, doc film, memoir, essay, and radio and tease out habits, origins, routines and punishing self doubt so that you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work. I’m your host, Brendan O’Meara, hey, hey… Today’s episode is a little different for a couple reasons. One, it’s the first IN-PERSON interview in the history of the podcast. Two, it’s with an illustrator, whose book, "Birdnote: Chirps, Quirks, and Stories of 100 Birds from the Popular Public Radio Show" (published by Sasquatch), is out now. Said illustrator is Emily Poole (epooleart on Instagram). Emily banged out 100 original illustrations and the cover for 101 paintings in about three months time. How’d she do it? Bird by bird, buddy #AnneLamott. In this episode you’ll learn about: How Emily set up her days to accomplish this incredible feat of work. How she’s able to process useful criticism vs. criticism that’s more hurtful than helpful. And why art is important in the world of conservation. Anyway, this was a fun conversation and I hope you dig it. Be sure to pick up a copy of Birdnote for the bird lover in your life. It won’t disappoint, and neither will Episode 96 with Emily Poole! Subscribe to the podcast wherever you get your pods and consider leaving an honest review on iTunes to help bolster our little corner of the CNFin' Internet.
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"I have a body of work that's based on work," says Mike Sager. 

Hey, today I bring you the incomparable Mike Sager, @therealsager on Twitter. He of The Sager Group. He of the National Magazine Award. He of he talks you listen.

In Episode 95 of the creative nonfiction podcast he talks about his humble start in journalism, suspending disbelief, the power of creating something, and journalism as sport.

His collections of journalism include: The Lonely Hedonist, which includes all new material, Wounded Warriors, The Someone You’re Not, Stoned Again, The Devil and John Holmes, and Revenge of the Donut Boys, which features the iconic profile of Rosanne Barr, a feature that feels timely with the reboot of the show. 

All of these books you can find at thesagergroup.net where you can buy them and learn a thing or two.

His collections are an education. You wanna be good? You wanna be great? You gotta read Mike’s work, after you listen to this episode of course.

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itunes pic"In order to go fast, you've gotta go slow," says Kevin Wilson on Episode 94 of the podcast. Oh, the intro is back. The oral surgery disaster is ongoing, but I’m powering through. Might lose my bone graft because my stupid body won’t pump blood to it. It’s friggin’ bullshit, but all I can do is keep my fingers crossed that the surgery wasn’t for nothing. There are some podcasts that make me want to go out and be a better man and Kevin Wilson, back for his second at-bat for The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, is one of those guys. He’s president and founder of KWBaseball. He’s a hitting coach to developing players and several pros. His second book, Finding Clarity: A Mindful Look into the Art of Hitting, sounds like a baseball book. I know what you’re thinking, “Brendan, I don’t like sports. I don’t care about baseball. WTF, man.” Like Kevin’s #Goodbatting book we spoke about on Episode 32, “Finding Clarity” has so much value to anyone in any discipline. You can overlay your own experience onto the wisdom Kevin shares. You can read the book over a cup of coffee, but spend several hours journaling over the quick-hit questions at the end of the chapters. I’m telling you, give this one a chance. He talks about finding his “Why” Intentionality Sharing Failure Listening And slowing down to go faster If you don’t already subscribe, consider subscribing on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play Music. I’d deeply appreciate a rating or a review on iTunes if you can spare the time. Show notes are available at brendanomeara.com. There you can sign up for my montly reading list newsletter. It’s a fun bit of goodness that hits on the first of the month. Once a month. No spam. You can’t beat that. This show is produced, hosted, booked, and edited by me, Brendan O’Meara. I’m on Twitter and Instagram @BrendanOMeara. The podcast is @CNFPod on Twitter and @CNFPodcast on Facebook.
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itunes pic"What I wanted to do was show the commonality of all life on earth...it seemed important to me that we're related," says Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. You'll excuse that there's not traditional intro and outro to this show. You might even prefer it. I've had what I can only hope is a MINOR complication with recent oral surgery and don't want to talk and thus compound the problem at hand. I won't bore you. EMT returns to the show to talk about her new book "The Hidden Life of Life: A Walk Through the Reaches of Time (Penn State University Press, 2018). Carl Safina, author of "Beyond Words," writes, "We are lucky to have shared some time on Earth with Elizabeth Marshall Thomas...Reading her is like looking through a telescope and realizing that the brightness you see actually happened long, long ago and has taken all this time to reach your own eyes." Dig the show? Consider leaving an honest review on iTunes and I will coach up a piece of your writing up to 2,000 words. Reviews are the currency that drives the podcast economy and I'd be thrilled if you added your two cents. Maybe I'll be able to talk next week. In the meantime, enjoy Episode 93.
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itunes pic"Lack of information can ruin people's lives in a profound way," says Norwegian medical student and co-author of "The Wonder Down Under," Ellen Stokken Dahl. So I had oral surgery this week so my capacity to speak with my face mouth is greatly hampered. Welcome to the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the best artists about telling true stories, teasing out their origins, habits, and routines, so that you can apply some of those tools of mastery to your own work. What’s goin’ on CNFers! CNFbuddies! I recorded this interview with Ellen prior to the surgery so I sound like a human person through the interview. She along with Nina Brochmann wrote "The Wonder Down Under: The Insider’s Guide to the Anatomy, Biology, and Reality of the Vagina." It’s quite a fun read. Both Ellen and Nina are touring the U.S. as we speak since the book caught fire after their TEDxOslo talk about “The Virginity Fraud," breaking myths about the hymen and such got over 2 million views. It's up near 3 million now. Go take a look in the show notes. I spoke only with Ellen for this episode because Nina got sick at the last minute. Only one brilliant Scandanavian for you this week... Ellen hits on: How her curiosity led her to women’s health Co-authoring a book and co-writing a TED Talk How the lack of information can ruin lives And processing a new sense of global visability Yeah, a little house keeping, I’d love for you subscribe to the show so you can get one of these nifty little podcasts every Friday. Also, if you leave an honest review on iTunes I’ll edit/coach up a piece of your work up to 2,000 words. You give me one minute of your review time, I’ll give you a couple hours of mine. Not a bad deal for you. Okay, now it’s time to hear the brilliant … for episode 92, wow.
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itunes pic"Anybody who gets into journalism for fame for fortune or awards right off the bat I write off as an idiot," says Mary Pilon. So what’s the meaning of this? Mary Pilon again? For one I could listen to 52 episodes of Mary, but when we recorded I spliced the interview in two parts to shorten it and I’m glad I did at this point because my guest this week cancelled. What’s the lesson kids? Get interviews in the can. When I can it’s brilliant. Can’t always happen. Mary Pilon’s second book, The Kevin Show, is out now. She’s also the author of the bestseller The Monopolists. Her work appears in the New Yorker, NBC, the New York Times, Grantland. She’s been featured in Best American Sports Writing. She’s a boss. So for episode 91 of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the worlds best artists about creating works of nonfiction, leaders in narrative journalism, doc film, radio, essay, and memoir, and tease out origins, routines, habits, key influences, favorite books and movies so that you can browse those tips and see what works for you, I’m sharing a bit of Mary’s origin story: How did she become one of those Best 30 Journalists Under 30? How did she get to the Wall Street Journal and How did she survive her New York Times layoff? How did she ignite her freelance career? What’s an anchor gig? And the best advice she received from the late journalist David Carr. We dig into all that fun stuff. Pair this episode with Ep. 18 and Ep. 90 and you’ll have the perfect Mary Pilon trilogy. Little bit of housekeeping: I’m still doing edits for reviews. Give an honest review of the podcast on iTunes—one to five stars, your choice—show me proof, and I’ll coach up a piece of your work of up to 2,000 words. You can also leave an honest rating, which takes quite literally less than 10 seconds to do once you’re in iTunes.
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itunes pic"I can't think about writing a big project. It's too overwhelming for me but I can think about a thousand words a day and then this magical thing happens which is you end up with 90,000 words," says Mary Pilon (@marypilon). Hey, there CNFers, my CNFbuddies, I’m Brendan O’Meara and this is my podcast. The Creative Nonfiction Podcast is the show where I speak to the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction: leaders in narrative journalism, essay, memoir, radio, and documentary film to tease out origins, habits, routines, key influences, mentors, self-doubt, so you can ‘Oh, that’s pretty cool, I’m not alone. I’m not a loser.’ And apply those tools of mastery to your own work. I welcome back Mary Pilon who hasn’t been on the show since Episode 18, now we’re on Episode 90. Mary comes back because she has a new book out: The Kevin Show: An Olympic Athlete’s Battle with Mental Illness.” Have you ever heard of Truman Show disorder, where people think they’re on a reality show? Well, Mary’s central figure, Kevin Hall, had that before the movie The Truman Show was even a thing. Mary does an incredible job with this story and I think you should pull out your preferred method of payment and go buy the book. It’ll be in the show notes along with, what’s this, a transcript from the episode. You’ll go over to brendanomeara.com to see those goodies. Hey, you know the show needs reviews and ratings, right? If you leave an honest review, I’ll edit a piece of your work up to 2,000 words. Just show me evidence of your review and I’ll reach out. It’s that simple. This show was produced soup to nuts by me Brendan O’Meara. If you don’t already subscribe to the podcast, go on and do that. If you leave an honest review on iTunes and show me evidence of it, I’ll coach up a piece of your work up to 2,000 words. You give you get. Also, I have a pretty slick monthly newsletter where I give out my monthly reading recommendations. Just head over to brendanomeara.com, put your email into the Smart Bar up top or the pop up window and you’ll get the next one. Once a month. No Spam. Can’t beat it. Feel free to say hi to me on Twitter, @BrendanOMeara or @CNFPod, Instagram @BrendanOMeara where I’m showing how I’m making the first issue of CNF Pod Zine. What? A zine? Oh, yeah. And Facebook, @CNFPodcast. Say hi, my friends say I’m a pretty cool guy. That’s it CNFers, have a CNFin’ great week.
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itunes pic"I have to remind myself that I have to be a little nuts to do this. I think all writers have to be a little crazy," says Sarah Minor. Wanna help the podcast? Leave an honest review on the iTunes, send me proof, and I'll coach up a piece of your writing of up to 2,000 words OR give you a fancy transcript of any single episode of the podcast you like. That was easy. Let's go. It's that time again, what's up CNFers, my CNF-buddies, this is The Creative Nonfiction Podcast and I am your radio-handsome host Brendan O'Meara. This is the show where I bring you talented creators of nonfiction—leaders in narrative journalism, essay, memoir, radio, and documentary film—and tease out origins, habits, routines, influences, books, mentors—so that you can pick some of their tools of mastery, add it to your cart, and checkout free of charge. That sounds fun, right? This week I bring you Episode 89 with Sarah Minor, @sarahceniaminor on Twitter and @sarahcenia on Instagram). She is a professor and a writer and her essay "Threaded Forms: Decentered Approaches to Nonfiction," looks to knitters, stitchers, and quilting bees to discover new and subversive models for writing memoir.  In this episode we talk about: Visual Essays How boredom dictates her direction Losing voice and finding it And the ever-present battle of dealing with social media Let's do this. Okay, if you go over to brendanomeara.com you'll be able to sign up for my monthly reading list newsletter that has book recommendations and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. Once a month. No spam. Can't beat it.  You can say hi to me on Twitter and Instagram @BrendanOMeara. @CNFPod is the podcast Twitter page and @CNFPodcast is the Facebook page. You'll find me hawking over those territories all the time.  I am done. Have a CNFin' great week, friends.
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itunes pic"It's usually when you stop trying so hard that something happens," says Rachel Corbett, a New York-based writer and author. Hey, there CNF-buddys, I’m comin’ at you live from my shiny new digs. New house up in Eugene and I’ve got a nice little office I can call my own. There’s no foam on the walls yet, so please pardon the audio, but we’re making strides to be the best. Part of that is me shutting the front door and getting the hell out of the way. I still haven’t quite figured out a way to completely edit myself out of these interviews. But I’m working on it. Don’t worry… Rachel Corbett joins me this week for Episode 88 of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the best artists about creating works of nonfiction, leaders in the world of narrative journalism, essay, memoir, radio, and documentary film where I try and tease out origins, habits, routines, mentors, key influences, so you can apply some of their tools of mastery to your own work. Rachel is a freelance journalist whose work appears in a few rags you might have heard of: The New Yorker, the New York Times, etc. She’s also the author of You Must Change Your Life, The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin. She is @rachelncorbett on Twitter. Rachel hits on some key points about carving out your own niche How things come easier when you stop trying so hard Listening vs. talking Getting away from the work so you can come back refreshed. And the power of being dumb and defeated (some of us were born this way). Stay tuned to the end of the show for some incentivized calls to action. In the meantime, here’s my conversation with the brilliant Rachel Corbett.
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itunes pic"I like to start from the present," says Hope Wabuke. "It's vibrant and visceral and has these questions that are lingering throughout time but we can access them." 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, I’m Brendan O’Meara, hey, hey, 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 talk to 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 And empowering the marginalized And what it means to be a watcher Dig the show? Consider leaving an honest rating, or, for 60 seconds of your time, an honest review. Reviews help embolden and widen the community we’re building here at CNF HQ. If you leave a review I’ll offer up a free editing sesh for up to 2,000 words. You usualy have to pay double for that in Vegas, Cotton. Also, I have a monthly newsletter where I send out my reading, doc film, and podcast recommendations, as well as what you might have missed from the world of the Creative Nonfiction Podcast. Lots are joining, so why don’t you? Once a month. No Spam. Can’t beat it.
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itunes pic"My best advice to people who want to write in any capacity is just do it. Get started. It doesn't matter where you publish," says Noah Strycker, author of Birding Without Borders. My guest today for Episode 86 of the Creative Nonfiction Podcast is Noah Strycker, author of Birding without Borders: An Obsession, A Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World. This is the show where I speak to the best artists about creating works on nonfiction: leaders in the worlds of narrative journalism, memoir, essay, radio, and documentary film where I tease out origins, habits, routines so that you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work. You’ve already heard how Noah connects with these lovely little critters and knowledge of them runs deep. His quest t see the most birds in a single year yielded a world record of over 6,000 birds touching every continent. In this episode he talks about: How he got so obsessed with birds How he chose which scenes stayed in the book vs. which ones got cut Not being a very fast writer And not overthinking the process of writing The bookstore I work at, Tsunami Books in Eugene, OR, has several signed first printings of Birding without Borders. Visit tsunamibooks.org, click on shop in the tool bar, and add as many BWBs in your cart as you like. Free shipping anywhere in America. Not bad for a signed first printing if you ask me. The link will also be in the show notes. I have some goodies to offer, but I’ll wait until the end of the show, please enjoy Ep. 86 with Noah Strycker. Dig the show? I’d love it if you subscribed wherever you get your podcasts and leave an honest rating or review on iTunes. If you do, and you send me a screenshot of that review, I’ll edit and coach up a piece of your writing of up to 2,000 words. You give you get. People have been redeeming this and I think they’re happy, and I know I’m pleased with the response and candor of the reviews. Also, I’ve got this pretty slick email newsletter that goes out at the start of the month. That’s right, just once a month. In it you’ll find my monthly book recommendations, documentary films recs, and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. The podcast and the newsletter is my little way of building a community around telling true stories. I hope you join in. That’s it for this week. Till next time, have a CNFin’ great week, friends.
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itunes pic“To be sincere is to be powerful and creative nonfiction allows me to do that, to be sincere," says Jamie Zvirzdin. 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. Today’s guest was the runner up in Creative Nonfiction’s “Science and Religion” contest from Issue 65. It’s Jamie Zvirzdin and her essay “Shuddering Before the Beautiful”: Trains of Thought Across the Mormon Cosmos details Jamie’s conflict with the Mormon church and her ultimate break from it, but doing it in a very empathetic way. There’s no vindictiveness in the story. She just lays it all out there. So we dig into that a bit. In this episode you’ll also learn: Her Fragment Heaven and Graveyard Hell How she’s really analog when it comes to scheduling Her addiction to learning And lots of influential books and writers I think Tom Petty said, “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus!” So here’s my conversation with the great Jamie Zvirzdin.
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itunes picHey there CNF buddies, hope you’re havin’ a CNFin’ great week. What fuels you? What gets your engine revved up? What makes you redlined? For me it’s an interview and, dare I say, a riff… 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 narrative journalism, memoir, documentary film, radio, and essay and try tease out the origins and habits so that you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work. For Episode 84, I welcome Adam Valen Levinson. Adam’s a smart guy, a real smart guy, and he’s written the wonderful book “The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah: Fear and Love in the Modern Middle East.” Flip the book over and here’s a blurb from Buzz Bissinger, “Adam Valen Levinson is too young to have written a book this good: eloquent, analytical, funny, sad.” Still not impressed? Peter Theroux said, “A fabulously written primer on the darkest countries in the world—or not so dark, as Valen Levinson shows with his toolkit of sharp sociology and brilliant humor.” Well, I feel inadequate. Here’s a little more about Adam from his dust jacket bio: He is a journalist and travel writer whose work focuses on human stories in conflict areas. His work has appeared in numbers outlets, including VICE, the Paris Review, Al Jazeera, and Haaretz. He is an affiliate of the Middle East Institute in Washington DC and a Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University, studying humor as a key to cultural understanding. Damn. I make donuts and talk to people. Okay, so here’s that part where I ask you that if you dig the show, consider subscribing and sharing it with a fellow CNFer. Leave an honest rating on iTunes, which takes a few seconds, or leave a rating and a review and in exchange, I’ll coach up a piece of your work, up to 2,000 words. That’s the deal. That’s like a $100 value once I’m all done because I read things three times and mark things up like it’s my job.
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itunes pic"Going toward solitude and away from excuses has really helped me," says 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. I’m Brendan O’Meara. For Episode 83 of the podcast, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Victoria Stopp. You can find her on Twitter @victoriastopp or at her website victoriastopp.com. Her book Hurting Like Hell, Living with Gusto: My Battle with Chronic Pain, published by McFarland, tells the story of how she became mired in chronic pain after a traumatic neck injury. The book goes into great detail about her journey and how low and powerless it made her feel. Spoiler alert: she’s here to talk about it. In this episode we also talk about being super disorganized, finding solitude, how writing keeps pulling Victoria back even after she tried giving it up. Dig the show? Share this with a friend and consider subscribing. I ask that you leave an honest rating or a review on iTunes. Ratings take five seconds; reviews about a minute. 2018 is all about growth and having ratings and reviews helps with visibility. Did you know that I have a monthly newsletter? It’s true. I send it out on the first of the month and it contains my book recommendations for the month as well as what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. Once a month. No Spam. Can’t beat it. Also consider leaving an honest review over on iTunes. You’re already doing a lot by listening, but if you can spare a minute or two I’d deeply appreciate it. You can follow me on Twitter @BrendanOMeara and the podcast now has its own Twitter account @CNFPod. It also has a Facebook page, so if you want the full immersive Creative Nonfiction Podcast experience, be sure to Like or Follow all the channels.
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itunes picHey, there CNFers, Happy New Year. It’s 2018 and we’re gettin’ rollin’ here for the biggest, baddest year for The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. 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. I’m Brendan O’Meara. And to kick off the New Year, I’m actually not interviewing anyone because I’ve been traveling around creation at significant personal cost to see family and friends on the East Coast. So Episode 82 is me reading “The Language of the Gods,” my essay for Chris Arvidson’s and Diana Nelson Jones’ collection of baseball essays in “The Love of Baseball: Essays by Lifelong Fans.” The essay does have some footnotes, something I used to love, but am starting to have mixed feelings about, so when the footnotes appear, you’ll hear me say FOOTNOTE and I’ll read it followed by END FOOTNOTE. They’re not too disruptive. This is gonna be a big year, so if you dig the show, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, share it with a friend, and leave an honest review on iTunes. I’m extending my offer to edit a piece of your work up to 2,000 words and an hour of my time just for leaving a candid review. Just send me a screenshot of the review when it posts and I’ll reach out.
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itunes pic"Research is this vehicle that allows you to follow your interests however long you want to follow it," says Rachel Wilkinson. 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!
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itunes picElizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of several books including "Tamed and Untamed," says, "I don't think I followed a very traditional pathway. I did what I felt like doing." What shenanigans are we up to here? 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. For episode 80, I had the privilege of speaking to Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, who co-authored “Tamed and Untamed” with Sy Montgomery (of episode 79 fame). Elizabeth’s career is wide, vast, and prolific as you’ll soon hear. We talk about: Lessons she learned from reading Hemingway The Power of Ignorance Walking off with wolves How circumstances organize the work And the clear feeling of the early hours While we continue to party on here in the intro I cordially ask you for HONEST reviews over on the iTunes. It’s what drives visibility and credibility to CNFers like yourself. Send me a screenshot of your review and I will give you a free hour of my time to edit a piece of your work. You give you get. T’is the season. Make sure that review is time stamped in December 2017 and you’re golden. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the podcast. Thanks for listening.
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itunes pic"I have never picked the safe option and I have never regretted choosing what I've chosen ever," says Sy Montgomery. Hey there, CNFers, hope you're having a CNFin' good week. My, oh, my, where do we start? Maybe if you're new to the podcast I should let you know what it's about. This is the show where I speak to the world's best artists about creating works of nonfiction: leaders in narrative journalism (like Susan Orlean), personal essay (like Matthew Mercier), memoir (like Pulitzer Prize-winner Madeleine Blais), radio (Joe Donahue), and documentary film like (Jeff Krulik and Penny Lane). As of now it's mainly writers, but I'm scurrying like heck to get more filmmakers and radio producers on the show.  It's my job to tease out origins, habits, routines, and points of craft so that you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work. I also hope that in having these conversations you might also not feel as lonely or alone in your artistic pursuits. You'll notice every single guest has the same set of anxieties you have and they manage to get the work done. I deal with my own self-hatred and lack of worth from the moment my alarm goes off at 4 a.m. so there you have it. Today's guest is Sy Montgomery and you probably know her from her gargantuan bestseller The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the World of Consciousness. It was a National Book Award Finalist and just one of the literally dozens of books Sy has written about animals.  In this episode we talk about: Sy getting her start as a business writer in Buffalo, NY Belief in projects even when you don't believe in yourself Being open to your expectations of a story changing as you go And much, much more Frankly, I came away from this conversation feeling good, just good, and the people who make you feel that way are the people you want to surround yourself with. I know I ended that sentence with a preposition, but whatever.  Before I send you off into the Animal Kingdom with Sy, here's that part where I ask you to leave an honest review on the iTunes. Any review posted from now through the end of 2017 gets an hour-long editorial consult from me, which is a $50 value if you like putting dollars and cents on things. Simply send me a screenshot of your review and I'll reach out. My pile of editorial is growing thanks to you. Reviews are the currency we play with to reach more people and empower them to do the kind of work they find most inspiring.
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itunes pic"For me, I'm thinking about the writing from the very first second I get an assignment," says Louisa Thomas, who made the 2017 volume for Best American Sports Writing. "I'm thinking about tone, and texture, and influences." I’m here to showcase the world’s best artists and how they create work of nonfiction so you can use their tools of master to improve your own work. Louisa Thomas joins me this week. She’s @louisahthomas on Twitter. She recently made the big book for The Best American Sports Writing for her piece Serena Williams, Andy Murray, and a Political Wimbledon. In this episode we talk about: Her biography Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams. Working with Problematic Writers and How Not to be One Mercenary Writing 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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itunes picFor episode 77, I welcome Blaire Briody, that’s @blairebriody on Twitter. She is 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.  Blaire won Proximity Magazine’s second annual narrative journalism prize for her piece “It Takes a Boom,” which chronicles Cindy Marchello, the lone woman in the vast fracking sites in North Dakota. 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." Nice… 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. Okay…now what? 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.
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itunes pic“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," says Episode 76 guest Erica Berry. 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? I’m your host Brendan O’Meara, and this is the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with leaders in narrative journalism, essay, memoir, radio, and documentary film and try to extract the stories, habits, and routines, so that you can apply their tools of mastery to your own work. For Episode 76, I welcome Erica Berry. She’s an essayist, journalist, and eavesdropper. She’s a liberal arts fellow and MFA candidate in creative nonfiction at the University of Minnesota. She spent nine months at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School in rural Sicily co-producing a documentary about endangered culinary traditions. Now she’s working on a book of essays about fear and that’s what brought her here today. Not fear of the podcast. This is a safe place after all, but the fear she courted in Beasts Among Us, her True Story story, about the myth of the werewolf. It’s a chilling tale that feeds off of local lore and Erica’s own visit to the town where people swear they saw the man-wolf. And to start off the podcast, I have a treat, but first a little housekeeping. I’m still offering a free hour of editing/coaching for a piece of you writing. All you have to do is leave an honest review—notice I didn’t even say a nice review—of the podcast on iTunes, take a screenshot that also shows the date of your review, and email that to me. Anything postmarked from November 2017 to the end of 2017 is eligible. It’s my way of saying thank you. One friendly Canadian has already redeemed the gift and I hope dozens, if not more, of you will as well. So Erica was gracious enough to read from the first section of her story Beasts Among Us, so we’re going to ease into that. As a warning, the hairs on your arms might just stand up.
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itunes picChris Arvidson says, "There’s so much great real stuff happening that it seemed dumb to make up anything." What’s going on, CNFers? Before we get started I want to tease something. I have something I’d like to offer you loyal listeners and the thing is I could say it now, but I think I’m going to hold off until the very end of the show. Is that mean? That’s kinda mean isn’t it? Sorry about that…no I’m not… This week I welcome Chris Arvidson for Episode 75 of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction, leaders in narrative journalism, radio, essay, memoir, and documentary film and try to tease out their stories, habits and routines so you can improve your own creative practice. Chris co-edited along with Diana Nelson Jones The Love of Baseball: Essays by Lifelong Fans published by McFarland. It’s a beautiful book and we talk about its genesis, what makes for good baseball writing vs. horrible baseball writing, what’s the most important thing for Chris when developing a story, the organic nature of building a network, favorite books on writing, and much more. Chris also edited the anthologies Reflections on the New River and Mountain Memoirs. You can find more about her and her work at chrisarvidson.com. You feel good? You read to go? Let’s get to episode 75 with Chris Arvidson. Dig the show? Leave a nice review on iTunes. Thanks, CNFers!
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itunes picWelcome back to another episode of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction to try and tease out the origins, habits, and routines so that you can apply their skills of mastery to your own work: narrative journalists, New York Times bestselling authors, award-winning filmmakers and, yes, even a Pulitzer Prize winner. Today’s guest is an extra special one: Madeleine Blais, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing while at the Miami Herald for her story Zepp’s Last Stand. I took her memoir class back in 2003 at UMass Amherst and we always managed to stay in touch over the years. She’s a friend and a treasured mentor to me, so I’m delighted to speak with her about her career and her latest book To the New Owners: A Martha’s Vineyard Memoir. Maddy is also the author of Uphill Walkers: Portrait of a Family, In These Girls Hope is a Muscle, which was named one of Sports Illustrated’s 100 best sports books of the 20th century, The Heart is an Instrument: Portraits in Journalism. And her piece that would eventually become the book for In These Girls, is the lead piece in “The Stories We Tell,” an anthology showcasing the best women journalists. We talk about her early career and a pivotal moment that pointed her toward feature writing vs. hard news, how she likes to cut against the grain when vetting stories, judging for the Pulitzer Prize, and many of the influential books that helped form her self-guided apprenticeship. Why wait any longer? Here’s the brilliant Madeleine Blais. Like the show? Please leave a nice review on iTunes! Thanks for listening.
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itunes picPatsy Sims says, "The novel I always wanted to write didn't have to be fiction." No it didn't. Hey, CNFers, it's The Creative Nonfiction Podcast the show where I speak with the world's best artists about creating works of nonfiction. I try and tease out the origins and tactics from leaders in narrative journalism (like Susan Orlean), personal essay (like Elizabeth Rush), memoir (like Andre Dubus III), radio (like Joe Donahue), and documentary film (like Penny Lane), so you can apply their tools of mastery to your own work. Pasty Sims is the author of The Klan, Can I get an Amen!: Inside the Tents and Tabernacles of American Rivivalists, and, most recently, she's the editor of The Stories We Tell: True Tales by America's Greatest Women Journalists (The Sager Group, 2017).  Patsy has been such a champion of creative nonfiction that it's easy to forget that she was one of the pioneers in the 60s and 70s. She was the Dumbledorian headmaster of Goucher College's Creative Nonfiction MFA program and few people—myself included—ever asked her about her origins and her writing. But that's sort of the myopic nature of MFA students. Again, myself included. This is my way of atoning. That's neither here nor there. In this episode we talk about: Book projects as mini-educations. Paying attention to people who aren't paid attention to Building relationships Persistence Her fascinating approach to digesting notes and a lot, lot more As you know, it's about this time I kindly ask for reviews as they are the currency that validates this enterprise. It takes less than 60 seconds and it helps out a ton. There are 19 ratings and reviews and none of them are from family members. Scouts honor. Also, I have a pretty slick monthly newsletter where I share my monthly reading recommendations and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. I'd love for you to join this growing list. Once a month. No spam. Can't beat it. Dig the show? Share it with a fellow CNF-buddy. 
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itunes picHattie Fletcher says, "[True Story] is a snack in between the main meal." The main meal being the quarterly magazine "Creative Nonfiction." You could say we have something in common. 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. This week I welcome back Hattie Fletcher, who is the managing editor for Creative Nonfiction magazine. What prompted a second trip? Hattie, along with Lee Gutkind and the team over at Creative Nonfiction, started a $27,000 Kickstarter campaign to support the second year of True Story, their monthly offshoot to the quarterly magazine. True Story is a 5-10,000-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 and 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. Though, 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. Links and show notes are available at brendanomeara.com.
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itunes picElizabeth Rush told me, “I’m just a mule. I just show up every day and climb very, very slowly up that mountain.” What’s up, CNFers?! Hope you’re having a CNFin’ good week. It’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction: leaders from narrative journalism, memoir, essay, radio, and documentary film and try to tease out their stories, habits, and routines so that you can apply their tools of mastery in your own work. This week I welcome Elizabeth Rush to the CNFHQ. Elizabeth’s latest essay “Something Like Vertigo” appeared in Issue 64 of Creative Nonfiction and I wanted to talk to her about it. In this episode you’ll hear about: Her working in pie shops The importance of planning and deconstructing the end goal by working backward Pitching Poetry Her “aha!” moment And how telling true stories got her out of her own head And of course before we get to that I want to say thanks. Thanks for listening. Thanks for leaving reviews. Sometimes when I listen to other podcasts I get the impression that the hosts feel like it’s we the listener who is lucky to hear them. I want to flip that around and say what a privilege it is to make this podcast for you. It’s my great pleasure to bring this to you every week. But for now, if you get any value from this, anything at all, please share it with a friend and leave a nice review on iTunes. They keep adding up and they mean greater visibility and greater reach. Let’s keep building them up and get to triple digits. It starts with you and it takes under a minute to leave a short one, a little longer if you put some elbow grease into it. Entirely up to you, friends. Want show notes? Visit brendanomeara.com.
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itunes picErica Westly, this week's guest, says, “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. Today I’m happy to introduce you to Erica Westly, @westlyer on Twitter, a freelance journalist based out of Chicago. She’s also the author of Fastpitch: The Untold History of Softball and the Women Who Made the Game. It is published by Touchstone. We talk a lot about Erica’s career moves and pivots, how she worked through the titanic research effort she did on the book, and also how the book was kind of her last-ditch try at writing true stories. But before we get to that I want to thank the 19 folks who have left five-star ratings and reviews of the podcast. That’s incredibly generous and kind. Just last night, in a span of five minutes, I left reviews for Tim Ferriss, Chase Jarvis, Brian Koppelman, three of my favorite interviewers, on iTunes. They don’t need my help, but if I’m going to ask y’all for reviews, I better be leaving reviews too. Let’s keep adding to the total because the more we get, the more visible the podcast will be, and the more people we can reach so that we’re empowering a community of people eager to do this type of creative work, to tell true stories that connect us. Erica grew up in North Carolina, studied dance, but pivoted to sciences, and ultimate journalism, something that finally clicked for her. We pick up the conversation where she feels most engaged in the creative process.
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itunes pic“You have to live a life in order to tell stories," says Matthew Mercier on this week's episode of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. Hello, CNFers, I’m Brendan O’Meara and this is The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction, leaders in the worlds of narrative journalism, memoir, essay, radio, and documentary film to tease out tactics and routines to inspire you and your work. I love it, baby, today we’ve got Matthew Mercier for Episode 69, who wrote a great essay in Creative Nonfiction about HIP, high-intensity practice, and we dig into that. We also talk a great deal about the power of spoken word performances as he has performed stories for The Moth. There’s a lot of great stuff we unpack, so I hope you’ll hang out with us. The reviews and ratings keep coming in and I just want to extend a heart-felt thank you. Please keep them coming. I’ve been leaving more and more on podcasts I love, even ones that quote-unquote don’t need the reviews because you can’t ask for them if you’re not willing to dole them out. What kind of monster do you think I am? Please share this episode with a friend, leave a review if you have 60 seconds, and head on over to brendanomeara.com for a toe-tappin’ good time. There’s a monthly newsletter there worth your time, I promise. Promotional support for The Creative Nonfiction Podcast is provided by Hippocampus Magazine. Now in its fifth year, Hippocampus publishes creative nonfiction essays and just completed its third annual conference, Hippocamp in lovely Lancaster, PA. Be sure to check out the website, hippocampusmagazine.com, for submission guidelines, but also to read the wonderful work being done. Hippocampus Magazine, memorable creative nonfiction. Feel good? Let’s do the show!
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itunes pic"After you're in it for a while and you actually become better, you realize how bad you are," says Peter Brown Hoffmeister. 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 worlds of narrative journalism, memoir, essay, radio, and documentary film, where I tease out their stories and habits in the hopes that you can apply some of their tools and tricks to your own work. Episode 68 is with author Peter Brown Hoffmeister, be sure to give him a follow on all the socials: @pbhoffmeister on Twitter and at Peter Brown Hoffmeister on Facebook. He’s the author of the memoir The End of Boys, and his latest novel, Too Shattered for Mending, published by Random House, just published. In this episode we talk about the power of failure, being able to compartmentalize various tasks to get the work done, the regenerative nature of getting outdoors, the toxicity of competing with other artists, and some key tricks that Pete uses to sharpen his writing. Things are hoppin’ over here at CNF HQ, so I ask that you please leave a nice review over on iTunes and share this episode with a buddy, someone you think can benefit from it. We’re all a relay team. Pass the baton. Show notes at the website, brendanomeara.com, as well as an easy sign up sheet for my monthly newsletter that gives you my monthly book recommendations as well as what you may have missed in the world of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it.
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itunes picThis episode of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast is supported by Hippocampus Magazine, whose founder Donna Talarico, just completed her third annual conference HippoCamp. Visit the website hippocampusmagazine.com to read the great work being done and to submit your own work. Hippocampus Magazine: memorable creative nonfiction. It’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the world’s best artists about creative works of nonfiction: leaders in the world of narrative journalism, memoir, documentary film, essay, and radio, and tease out their stories and habits so that you can provide their skills to your own work. Thanks for listening, CNFers. This week’s guest is Carol Marine, an Oregon-based expressionistic painter, whom I met at a killer hard cider event on Friendly St. Some of the best hard cider I’ve ever had While Carol might not identify as a writer, she has written a book that I think you should pay attention to. It’s called Daily Painting: Paint Small and Often to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Artist. Maybe you’re a writer looking to get into flow states. Maybe you’re a memoirist and don’t know how to get your work in front of people. Maybe you’re super introverted and have no clue how to be part of a community and network. We hit all of those topic in Carol’s life and how she exited art school super jaded by her teachers, struggled doing big, serious paintings, then dialed it down to appetizer paintings and a movement that built a brand and a career. She’s on Facebook @CarolMarineArt and is carolmarine on Instagram. Be sure to give her a follow. Her daily painting gets posted everywhere, but you should check out Carole’s Painting a Day at carolemarine.blogspot.com. I hope you get a nice hour chock full of inspiration to tackle whatever creative project you have on front and/or back burners. Lastly, if you’ve gotten anything out of this episode or any of the previous 66, I ask that you take a few seconds to leave a nice review over on iTunes. Oh, I forgot to mention! At significant personal cost, I bought more storage, so all the retired episodes are coming out of retirement a la Brett Favre. Yes, the audio sucks, but that’s sorta the point: to show the evolution and maybe the lower the bar of expectations for others looking to do something similar. So, yes, reviews are the currency of the day and add that extra bit of legitimacy to the podcast. That’s it, enjoy episode 67 with Carol Marine!
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itunes picBrin-Jonathan Butler (@brinicio on Twitter), a freelance writer and author, returns! “Obsession has always fascinated me, whether it’s more a dance with your virtues or your demons,” Butler says. Hey, hey, it’s The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the world’s best artists—leaders in narrative journalism, essay, memoir, radio, and documentary film—and tease our their stories, tips, and tricks and how you can apply those tools to your own work. I’m your host @BrendanOMeara, Brendan O’Meara in real life. IMO, this show is at its best when you, the listener, get to hang out and feel like your listening to a couple of CNFers talk shop over coffee or beer or absinthe, though that could take a turn for the weird. That’s what happens when you’ve got someone like Brin-Jonathan Butler back on the podcast. This is his third rodeo at CNF HQ. He sent me a DM on Twitter and said, “We should another show, no?” And I said, “Um…two words, hell yes!” And then he said, “Awesome.” So we got it done. Brin’s got a new book coming out in a year titled “Heavy Lies the Crown” and it’s about chess. We talk about how this book came to pass, how he went about navigating a world that was quite foreign to him, and hammering out a book from start to finish, oh, in about six months. For other insights into writing a book like your ass is on fire, go listen to episode 52 New York Times writer Joe Drape. Brin also talks about how he ensures high profile people have a good interview, the importance of moving around and taking walks, the mental ballet of conning yourself into finishing art. If you can, leave a nice review on iTunes. They help so much, and, simply put, they're validating and let me know that I should keep going with the show. Thanks!
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itunes picSupport for this podcast is brought to you by Hippocamp 2017, a conference for creative nonfiction writers. It’s this weekend, as in September 8 through the 10th. 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. 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. Let’s do the show!
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itunes pic"To be a great writer, you just have LOVE writing," says Matt Tullis, author of the new memoir "Running with Ghosts. "You have to be passionate about it, so you're going to do it a lot." It’s The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the world’s best artists—journalists, documentary filmmakers, essayists, memoirists, and radio producers—about creating works of nonfiction, I’m your host, Brendan O’Meara. Thanks for listening. Have we got a good one for you today. Episode 64 with journalist Matt Tullis (@matttullis) on Twitter. His first book, “Running With Ghosts: A Memoir of Surviving Childhood Cancer” published by The Sager Group, tells the story of how Matt got slammed with a form of leukemia at age fifteen, and subsequently what he did what that survival as many of his friends, who had previously been in remission, started passing away as the cancer came back. A couple of Matt’s caretakers, people who spent hours, and weeks, and months ensuring his survival, also died of cancer leaving Matt to wonder why he was spared. There were several times in this book that burned your host’s eyes, not gonna lie, but Matt honors his life and his friends by turning his reporter’s eye inward, and outward, telling the story of his life and his friends. Matt is a professor at Fairfield Univeristy and host of Gangrey the Podcast. His work has appeared in SB Nation Longform among many other places. You’re gonna dig this episode as we talk about what it takes to be a great writer, letting events unfold in the face of preconceived expectations, competition, jealousy, and self promotion. It’s the first of the month. Did you know that I have a monthly newsletter that I send out at the beginning of the month sharing my reading list as well as what you may have missed the Creative Nonfiction Podcast realm? Well, I do. Head over to brendanomeara.com.
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itunes pic"You have to see the value in the end product enough to make yourself suffer," says Bronwynn Dean. This episode is brought to you by Hippocamp 2017, a conference for creative nonfiction writers. It takes place in lovely Lancaster, PA, and runs from September 8 through September 10. Spots are still available for the third annual conference, so if you want to check out speakers like Tobias Wolfe and Dinty W. Moore, you better sign up! Hippocamp: Create. Share. Live. Bronwynn Dean stopped by the podcast to talk about the power of performance and her work-in-progress about the world of marijuana. It's titled Potted.  Her work has appeared in Pitkin Review and Soundings Review. She cites Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe as major influences, and I think you'll dig how she was able to be the only one of about forty writers at a recent conference to land an agent. What went right? What was wrong about the other 39? Good stuff. Okay, friends, you know the drill: Please leave a nice review over at iTunes and sign up for my monthly newsletter where I give out my book recommendations. It's short, to the point, no spam.  Share this with a friend and sit back and enjoy Bronwynn Dean. 
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itunes picDocumentary filmmaker Penny Lane joins me to talk about her films "Our Nixon," "Nuts!", and "The Voyagers." We explore how she decided to start leveling up her ambition and the craft of making doc films. Please share the episode with a pal and leave a kind review on iTunes. Thanks for listening!
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itunes picHello, CNF-buddies, it’s The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction—journalists, essayists, memoirists, radio producers, and documentary film makers—and how you can use their tools of mastery and apply it to your own work. That’s right, you are in for a treat. Well, let’s face it, you’ve always been in for a treat, but this week you’re in for an Easter basket and Halloween sack all rolled into one verifiably true candy locker. New York Times bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin, The Orchid Thief, (which was made into the movie Adaptation), Saturday Night, My Kind of Place, The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup, and the children’s book Lazy Little Loafers. She’s a staff writer for The New Yorker (full archive here) and she came by the podcast to share her wisdom and experiences from a career writing deeply reported features. You can find Susan online @susanorlean on Twitter and visit her website susanorlean.com. What are some takeaways? Susan talks about always having an audience in mind, having supreme focus, and needing to see yourself as a business person if you plan on doing this type of work and that it's actually freeing, not stifling, in order to do the kind of work that excites you and feeds your ambitions. Before we get to that, I ask that you please subscribe to the podcast, share it with a friend, and leave a rating or, ideally, a nice review on iTunes, like this one from Meredith May. She said, “Real conversations among professional writers about the essence of craft. A behind the scenes look at the way stories come together, from inception to publication, that doesn’t shy away from the truth about the difficulties and triumphs of making a living from words. One of the hardest concepts for my podcasting students to grasp is how differentiate between a story and a topic—this podcast helps them find that X-factor that makes a story sing.” Wow. Shoutout to that five-star review. If you leave one, I might just read it on the air! It’s time for the show, episode 61 with Susan Orlean!
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itunes pic"In many ways the biggest challenge to figure out if you're gonna be a writer of nonfiction is to figure out what stories you can tell that no one else has told before," says Lee Gutkind. Hey, hey, it’s The Creative Nonfiction Podcast! This is the show where I interview the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction: documentary film, personal essay, memoir, narrative journalism, killer profiles, and reportage and dive into the origin story, what makes them great, and how you can apply their strategies of mastery to your own work. Today’s guest for Episode 60 (!) of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast is none other than the Godfather, Lee Gutkind. His tagline on his website is Writer. Speaker. Innovator. He’s written or edited 49 books like Almost Human, The Best Seat in the House But You Have to Stand: The Game as Umpires See It, Truckin’ With Sam. He also founded the lit journal/now magazine Creative Nonfiction, which is an incredible well of great writing.  What are you gonna learn from this episode? Lee tells you that you need to figure out what stories and YOU can tell that no one else has done before. How to find the people who want their stories told, and how to perservere in the face of untold failure. That’s a some good, good stuff. Before we dive into the interview, I ask that you leave a review on iTunes or even just a rating. Reviews are icing on the cake, but the more ratings, the more cred, the more people we can reach. Also, I have an email newsletter that I send out once a month. It’ gives my reading list for the month and what you may have missed from the podcast. Share this with a friend because I know you’re gonna dig it!
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itunes picHello, friends, fellow CNFers, it’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction. Today I welcome back Jessica Lahey of Episode 51 fame, author of the NYT bestseller “The Gift of Failure” and, most recently, the author of the essay “I’ve Taught Monsters,” which appeared in Issue 63 of the literary magazine Creative Nonfiction. For this episode, Jess reads the essay in its entirety and she gives a knockout performance. I noodled around with music for a bit, but I couldn’t find the perfect tracks for it, so I just let it stand: Jess simply reading her wonderful essay. Before we get to her reading I want to ask you something: What are you struggling with? Is there something in your work that’s giving you trouble or are you hitting road blocks? I want to know. Ping me on Twitter or email me. Maybe I can help. Also, be sure to share this with a friend, leave a review on iTunes if you got any value out of this, and let me know if you dig these author readings. Also, it’s Saratoga horse racing season and some of you might not even know that I write words too. My first book, Six Weeks in Saratoga, came out in 2011 courtesy of SUNY Press. It’s a timeless story about the track and the 2009 season. Want to support me and the podcast? Buy a book! It’s in paperback.
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itunes picIt's The Creative Nonfiction Podcast where I speak with the world’s best writers, freelancers, interviewers, authors, and documentary filmmakers about WHY and HOW they go about creating works of nonfiction and how YOU can apply what they do to your work. Today’s guest is Joe Ferraro, the fourth Joe I’ve had on the podcast (Joe DePaulo, Joe Drape, Joe Donahue, and now Joe Ferraro). Need a Josephine…anyway… So who’s Joe Ferraro? He’s a teacher and a learner, but above all he’s a leader. He just started a podcast: The 1% Better Podcast. His tagline is Conversations designed to help you get 1% Better. It’s aimed at gradual, continual, rigorous—though not overwhelming—personal improvement. “If we’re talking about hard work, it’s about squeezing out more of the day,” says Joe. “Nothing upsets me more than when someone says ‘I’m too busy.’” Joe talks about his allergy for negative people, finding ways to challenge himself, and how after teaching for 20 years, he feels like his best years are still ahead of him. He’s the type of guy that inspires you to take action. Be sure to follow Joe on Twitter @FerraroOnAir, reach out to him, and subscribe to his podcast right away. Whether it’s listening to world class leader Ryan Hawk or how to make the best cold brew coffee, the art of thinking and redefining a restaurant, The 1% Better Podcast will open your eyes to where you can add value to you life and those around you. And you want to know something else? He’s got a voice made for broadcasting, so sit back and enjoy Episode 58 with Joe Ferraro.
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itunes picJoe Donahue hosts The Book Show and The Roundtable for WAMC Northeast Public Radio out of Albany, New York. He's the best interviewer you've likely never heard of, and it was a distinct pleasure to speak with him again. "My job really is to present a person and get to the bottom of them, if you will," he says, "and ask questions that hopefully people want answered." He learned from Larry King, Fred Rogers, and honed his craft over a lifetime of radio. Seriously. A lifetime. He wanted to be a broadcaster since the age of four. Please leave a review wherever you get your podcasts and share this with a friend. Thanks for listening!
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itunes picSonja Livingston stopped by The Creative Nonfiction Podcast to talk about her award-winning memoir “Ghostbread.” She was also gracious enough to read from three short chapters. It’s about family and growing up in poverty. “[My family] hasn’t tried to kill me, but they haven’t thrown me a party either,” Sonja says. This episode is layered and a bit experimental. I hope it adds a little extra somethin’-somethin’ to the usual interview. If you dig it, let me know on Twitter @BrendanOMeara and I’ll invite others to try something similar. Sonja talks a lot about her routine and how getting outside helps her write. Also she adds that writing personal essay can feel like a miracle, but can also be very painful. Maybe it’s that in order to write great art, there must be a little bit of blood on the page. I’d love for you to leave a review of the podcast and to share with folks you think will enjoy it. That’s all I can ask for. Thanks for listening!
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itunes pic"What writer at my age gets to have parents be dead? I don't have to worry about what they think!" says Nikki Schulak. I suggest visiting Nikki'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!
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itunes picAndre Dubus III, author the memoir Townie and the novels House of Sand and Fog and Dirty Love, stopped by the podcast to talk about memoir, the essay, and writing in general. "The truth is, if you want to write or create anything worth a damn, you better embrace failure or you're not going to get to the good stuff. You gotta learn to love how hard it is," he says. This episode is so packed with great, actionable, and inspiring material from a "made" writer, meaning he built himself into the writer he wanted to be. If you think you don't have time to write, just wait until you hear him talk about how he found the time to write his breakout novel House of Sand and Fog. Talk about rigor. Please review the podcast and pass it along to a friend! Thanks for listening!
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itunes picJessica Abel is a cartoonist, a teacher, a writer, and a podcaster and her latest book, Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You're Drowning in Your Daily Life, is her latest project. I came across her kick-ass, 200-page, black-and-white graphic book Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio and reached out to her.  So in this episode we talk a lot about what makes for great radio/podcasting, how to obtain creative focus, the power of reviewing your projects and processes, and much, much more. If you dig the show, share it with a friend and leave a review in Apple Podcasts or wherever you found this. The five-star ratings keep coming in and I'd love to have more that way I can reach more people just like you, people who dig what the best artists are doing in the genre of creative nonfiction.  Thanks for listening!
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itunes picI'm not sure where to begin if I'm being perfectly honest. Joe Drape (@joedrape on Twitter) is a New York Times sports writer and the New York Times bestselling author of Our Boys and American Pharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner's Legendary Rise. He wrote the 80,000-word manuscript in six weeks without a book leave. How are you feeling about your productivity? "When you say, 'Ok, I've got six weeks to write 80,000 words,' it freaks you out," says Joe. "Sometimes 1,500 words goes to 3,000 or 6,000. Sometimes 1,500 becomes 300, and you shut your computer and go to a movie." I love it, baby. Joe is the author of these six books: American Pharoah Black Maestro Our Boys The Race for the Triple Crown In the Hornets Nest To the Swift In this episode he talks about how to write a book under tight deadline pressure, the power of reporting, and the power of listening. And thank you for listening! And if you have a moment, please leave a review on iTunes. Nine (and counting) five-star reviews! Thanks so much!
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itunes picJessica Lahey, author of the essay "I've Taught Monsters" and the NYT best seller "The Gift of Failure," came by the show to talk about teaching and getting the work done. "The work of being a writer means you get words on the page. It's as simple as that. I means you read, you write, and get words on the page." We talk about her approach to teaching and language, and also how Stephen King's "On Writing" influenced her style. We also talk about what it means to work hard as a writer. Dig the show? Give the podcast a nice review. You won't be alone. Several people have done it, so join them! Thanks for listening!
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itunes picFor the 50th episode of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, we had to go big and that's what we did. Ted Conover, author of so many books (Rolling Nowhere, Coyotes, Newjack) including his latest "Immersion: A Writer's Guide to Going Deep," joined me to talk about why he wrote the book and how he has employed those tactics for the past 40 years. "The research you do is determinative, right?" Conover says. "It defines what you're going to be able to write in many ways." Thanks for listening. Please share, subscribe, and leave a review on iTunes.
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itunes picDinty Moore 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. Phew. "I don't spend a lot of time lingering over breakfast," he says. His 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!
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itunes picThis week on The Creative Nonfiction Podcast decided to revisit my episode with Roy Peter Clark (@RoyPeterClark on Twitter), this time condensing that two-hour interview and pulling out the best moments. In it we hear Roy talk about how he learned to swim in the language, the moment he learned the true meaning of literacy, and when research can become crippling. I'm experimenting with the form and making it more like a mini one-source profile. Let me know what you think. I think it makes for a better overall listen. Ping me on Twitter @BrendanOMeara with thoughts, or to say hi. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on the Apple podcast app and on Google Play Music. Leave a rating if you're feeling extra kind. Those help. Thanks for listening!
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itunes picShawna Kenney, author, writer, teacher, coach, editor, joins me on The Creative Nonfiction Podcast to talk about her origin story as a teenage fanzine founder, punk rock, and her delightful short essay “Never Call Yourself a Writer, and Other Rules for Writing,” a brilliant piece of satire. She grew up in a conservative family in small-town Maryland, so the nearby punk scene in Washington D.C. held tremendous appeal. “I always wanted to be Hunter S. Thompson without the drugs,” Shawna tells me. Her work has such an edge that I was surprised that she didn’t have that edge in conversation. “I’m much better on the page than I am verbally,” she says, which isn’t true at all. She’s great on the page, and she’s a great conversationalist. Her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, the New York Times, Vice, and Playboy, just to name a few. Be sure to follow Shawna on Twitter @ShawnaJKenney and go to her website to read more about her and her work. Thanks for listening!
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itunes picCreative Nonfiction's managing editor Hattie Fletcher sat down to talk about the art of editing.
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itunes picMy good friend (can I say that? I think so) Bronwen Dickey returns to talk about the paperback release of "Pit Bull: Battle Over an American Icon," Troll Culture, and how Perfectionism Kills You.
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itunes picExperimental podcast! A micro essay about a book I've read. Ping me on Twitter or email me if you dig it!
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itunes picEnvironmental writer Mary Heather Noble talks about her award-winning essay "Eulogy for an Owl."
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itunes picJennifer 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.
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itunes picMichael Copperman, author of Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta (University Press of Mississippi), talks about his memoir and trusting the process.
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itunes picI read my essay "The Gentleman's Guide to Arousal-Free Slow Dancing," which was published in Creative Nonfiction's "Joy" issue.
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itunes picPhilip Gerard, author of "The Art of Creative Research" stopped by #CNF HQ to talk about the serious research behind all great works of writing.
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itunes picAngela Palm, author of "Riverine" (Graywolf Press) and the essay "Hierarchy of Needs" talks about the perils of the submission game, the power of leveling up, and to be on the lookout for organizing principles.
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itunes picKim Kankiewicz won Creative Nonfiction's essay prize for Issue No. 32, an issue themed "Joy". Lots of cool insights from a brilliant voice in personal essay.
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itunes picSybil Baker talks about her book Immigration Essays, published by CR Press.
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itunes picI say in the intro this is Episode 35. It's 34. With Tom McAllister, author of the memoir "Bury Me in My Jersey" and the novel "The Young Widower's Handbook."
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itunes picAuthor Melissa Chadburn talks writing and her incredible piece of work "The Readiness Assessment."
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itunes picKevin Wilson, president of Kevin Wilson Baseball, LLC and a former professional baseball player, tells us what #Goodbatting is all about.
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itunes picJen Miller is a freelance writer and wouldn't have it any other way. She talks about that and her most recent book "Running: A Love Story."
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itunes picChautauqua Americana published my essay, "That Pickoff Play", earlier this year. The editors nominated it for a Pushcart Prize. I read that essay for this milestone episode of #CNF.
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itunes picPete Croatto celebrates 10 years of freelancing by sharing what he's learned over that time.
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itunes picSarah Shotland, essayist and novelist, won Proximity Magazine's personal essay contest for her "On Visiting Prison Again" essay. We talk about that and much, much more.
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itunes picMeet Kevin Robbins, author of "Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom from the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf."
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itunes picElane Johnson won "Creative Nonfiction's" marriage essay contest. The title of the essay is "The Math of Marriage." It's distinctive and hilarious. Elane also teaches online courses in creative nonfiction. "Teaching for me is writing," she says. Go on with your bad selves and listen to Episode 25 of the #CNF Podcast!
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itunes picBrin-Jonathan Butler's memoir "The Domino Diaries" is now out in paperback (go buy it). It's about his time in Cuba boxing with world champions, chasing Hemingway's ghost, and spending 10 years of his life in Castro's Cuba. Sound good? That's because it is. Enjoy!
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itunes picJeff Krulik is a documentary film maker—the first on #CNF!—and he stops by the show to talk about his approach to work, the history behind "Heavy Metal Parking Lot," and being a freelancer for 20 years.
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itunes picAuthor and journalist Bronwen Dickey stops by the podcast to talk about her new book "Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon."
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itunes picGlenn Stout, author of the newly released "The Selling of the Babe: The Deal That Changed Baseball and Created a Legend," returns to the podcast to talk about the book, writing, and the transcendent nature of hitting a home run.
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itunes picThis episode was originally a three-parter from back in the day. It features Brian Mockenhaupt, author of the critically acclaimed By-Liner Original "The Living in the Dead." Enjoy the hell out of this throwback all mushed together into one episode.
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itunes picMary Pilon is the New York Times best-selling author of "The Monopolists" and a freelance "story person".
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itunes picBrin-Jonathan Butler, a freelancer writer whose much-acclaimed work has appeared in SB Nation Longform, Esquire, ESPN the Magazine, and Harpers, stops by the podcast to talk about his approach to his beautiful writing.
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itunes picCharles Bethea is an Atlanta-based writer-at-large whose work has appeared in Outside Magazine, Grantland, and The New Yorker. He has even hiked the Appalachian Trail. That should give you an idea of the intense focus this guy has. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, subscribe to brendanomeara.com, and share this with a friend! Thanks for listening!
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itunes picEva Holland is a freelance journalist who writes gripping narratives about the outdoors. Her piece "Unclimbable", written for SB Nation Longform, is getting a lot of attention and so too is she. Eva offers terrific insights into the life of a freelancer and how she got her start in this crazy biz.
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itunes picMy guest is Glenn Stout, series editor for the Best American Sports Writing anthology, longform editor at SB Nation, and author of several books including Young Woman and the Sea and Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, A Championship Season and Fenway’s Remarkable First year. He talks about reading poetry in a baseball uniform outside Fenway Park while taking swigs from a two-liter bottle of bloody Marys. Yeah…it’s good. He also talks about his first writing assignment and also the ONE thing a writer can control. Hear about all that… and more …. on the next episode of #CNF.
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itunes picGreg Hanlon is a crime editor at People Magazine and also a freelance sports writer. His piece "Sins of the Preacher" was anthologized in the Best American Sports Writing 2015 edition. His "The Many Crimes of Mel Hall" was a notable selection. That's called a hell of a run! In this conversation we hit up a lot nuts and bolts and also what Greg looks for in a story before he goes all in.
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itunes picSarah Einstein joins me to talk about her wonderful new book "Mot: a Memoir." Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and leave a nice five-star review on iTunes!
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itunes picCarrie Hagen is the author of "We is Got Him," a gripping narrative of the first ransom kidnapping in the United States. This book, her first, reads like a seasoned pro, like a writer in total command. I hope you enjoy this conversation and if the audio is a bit off, I apologize. It's always a challenge with my primitive equipment to make it sound like your other favorite podcasts. Bear with me, brighter skies are ahead. That said, Carrie's insights into her book a fascinating and helpful to anyone embarking on this kind of writing. Enjoy!
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itunes picJoe DePaulo is a freelance features writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, SB Nation Longform and The Boston Globe Magazine, just to name a few. In this conversation we talk about some of the work that we turn to for inspiration and guidance. We also delve into Joe’s life as a freelancer, how he balances the harsh realities of making a living and doing the work he loves. That’s should whet your appetite enough for the time being. If you have the time, give the podcast a download/subscription, maybe give it a review. If these things add up I may be able to afford better equipment and produce an increasingly better listening product. Give a visit to brendanomeara.com and slam down your email so you stay up to date on the podcast and other musings. It’s a weekly email that goes out on Tuesdays. That’s it. Listen to Joe speak words!
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itunes picJohn Scheinman won the Eclipse Award for feature writing in horse racing for his piece "Memories of a Masters" about the late Dickie Small. There's a bit of horse racing talk here so if you want to know John's sleeper pick for the Kentucky Derby this year stay tuned. About halfway through we really get into the weeds about reporting and some of the anxiety that comes with having to interview people. I think it's helpful to those who may suffer the same kind of performance anxiety I feel when I need to pitch or interview an intimidating figure. Thanks for listening. If you get a chance, sign up for the email updates at www.brendanomeara.com and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
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itunes picMaggie Messitt is the author of The Rainy Season: Three Lives in the New South Africa. Messitt is a writer, reporter, author, teacher, student, dog owner, and super kayaker and we delve into her writing process, how she handles her notes, and her Bookshelf for the Apocalypse (a new segment to the Hashtag #CNF podcast). There's so much great stuff here (and more I want to revisit in a Part 2). You'll get plenty of wisdom from Messitt here. I hope you enjoy this re-re-birth of the podcast. I have a new microphone so hopefully this means better quality and more consistency as I speak with more practitioners of narrative nonfiction. For more show notes be sure to visit www.brendanomeara.com and subscribe to the podcast. It all starts with you. Thank you so much! Love, Brendan
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itunes picAuthor Richard Gilbert talks about his wonderful memoir "Shepherd." We talk about the process he went through creating the book and how the best artists simply produce more work. Apologies to listeners: The audio is a bit messy in places. My goal is to get better equipment only if people are listening. So, if you listen, bear with me, better times are coming ... maybe ... I'm putting up a donations button on the website. If you think the show is worth $1, give a $1. The more I raise, the better the listening experience will be.
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itunes picBrian Mockenhaupt, an intrepid and elite reporter of the living, turns his eye to those long gone. And as we near the 150th anniversary of that bloodiest battle at Gettysburg, Mockenhaupt, through his deft skill as an information gatherer, writes a compelling story about friendship, love, and loss in the most famous battle of the Civil War and its putrid wake for those left behind. It culminates with President Lincoln presiding over a newly created memorial to the felled Union soldiers, a speech where he turns the volume down so we may hear the ghosts of Gettysburg.
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itunes picSheri Booker’s memoir Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner City Funeral Home chronicles her near-decade long experience immersed the culture of death. Everything from picking up bodies to preserving them in the inner sanctum of Wylie Funeral Home. In it Booker learns that death knows no age and that a funeral home is every bit a part of a community as a church. She also addresses the age-old question of whether or not bodies move on the embalming table.
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itunes picIn Episode 4, I welcome Harrison Scott Key, winner of Creative Nonfictin's "Southern Sin" essay contest. The essay, titled "The Wishbone", is a hilarious account of Key's father suiting up his too-old son to win a pee-wee football game. In this conversation, we talk about "The Wishbone", where Key found his comedic sensibility, his forays into improv and stand up, and the mechanics of humor writing.
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itunes picWell, what didn't we hit on? It was a pop culture kind of podcast. 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.
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itunes picSusan Kushner Resnick is the author of "Goodbye Wifes and Daughters," which won a gold medal for nonfiction from the Independent Publisher’s Book Awards. Her first book, "Sleepless Days: One Woman’s Journey Through Postpartum Depression," was the first PPD memoir by an American author. In her latest book, "You Saved Me Too: What a Holocaust Survivor Taught Me About Living, Dying, Fighting, Loving, and Swearing in Yiddish," Susan writes of the chance encounter she had with Aron Lieb, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, and the blossoming love and friendship that came from that meeting.
Huge catalogue of interviews with writers.
May 04, 2018 by Mimi G

I love to hear about the process of other writers and how they manage life as a writer, so I'm a fan.

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