Weekly Inspiration for Writers
Tune in to listen to Sue Monk Kidd on writing—how she sees it and treats it both as prayer and as the hard work it invariably is. We touch upon Sue’s strong female characters, and her circles of women who show up in all her books. This is a wide-ranging conversation about wisdom and what we pay attention to, about writing fiction and memoir, and about how parts of Sue herself showed up in her latest protagonist, Anna, without Sue even realizing just how revealing she’d been.
This week’s episode, beyond tackling the subject of displacement, touches upon the San Francisco Bay Area’s legacy—since that features so largely in guest Carol Edgarian’s new novel, Vera.
Whether you’re writing about where you’re from, or a place you know well, or a place you’ve researched in order to portray it in all its nuance on the page, place itself is often a character in fiction and creative writing. This week’s episode with Hala Alyan might inspire you to add more details of place to your work, or consider the role place has in your experience and understanding of the world. Place invites readers to journey to places they may know and love—or not. We hope you’re inspired this week to consider the role of place in your own work.
Our conversation with Paula McLain is deep and intimate and doesn’t shy away from a few dark turns. We talk about how trauma is often a driving force, even inspiration, in our writing and our purpose; about writing as a feminist act; about intuitive writing . . . and so much more. Paula’s generosity in sharing her personal story and obstacles she’s faced is its own inspiration in this week’s show, and we get to hear firsthand some of what drew Paula to write her just-out novel, When the Stars Go Dark.
This week is a special episode in which Grant interviews New York Times best-selling author Ali Benjamin about how she reinvented Edith Wharton’s 1911 novella, Ethan Frome, for a modern-day audience. This interview, too, is as much about process than it is anything else—how Ali writes and constructs her stories, why she prefers revision over new writing, and the challenges she faced in creating a current-events story set against the backdrop of the Kavanaugh hearings. Not to be missed!
To access the universal, start with the particular. This is guest Valarie Kaur’s response to the question of how she’s able to access such profound and resonant themes and messages in her work. With this and more, Kaur, who leads the Revolutionary Love Project, talks about her writing process, the experience of delivering her popular TED talk, and her journey to becoming an author after years and years of being told her work didn’t matter. This episode beckons listeners to reach for their own ordinary courage and to see what blooms when it’s tended to.
The multi-generational story is one of the best-loved and most epic forms of fiction. In her debut novel, guest Gabriela Garcia beautifully executes a matrilinear story, and this week’s episode dives deep into questions of structure, legacy, voice, and centering women in fiction. Garcia’s Of Women and Salt is an extraordinary contribution to this literary form, and this insightful interview offers a glimpse into some of the considerations the author faced in the writing of the book.
Confessional writing—what is it? Something that needs to be defended? Just another way to disparage writers whose subject is self? This week’s episode with poet Kim Addonizio takes a look at what confessional writing might be, why the very characterization is problematic, and why Kim considers herself to be a poet of ideas.
Many authors discover their love of publishing through the process of publishing their work independently. In this episode, entrepreneur and publisher Tieshena Davis walks us through her journey from author to publisher, and inspires with her story of purpose and drive. This episode explores the intersection between doing what you love and loving what you do.
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