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The Creative Nonfiction Podcast with Brendan O'Meara
Conversations with the world's best artists about creating works of nonfiction.
Category: Literature
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September 22, 2017 09:18 AM PDT

"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.

September 15, 2017 08:38 AM PDT

This 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!

September 08, 2017 08:55 AM PDT

Brin-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!

September 05, 2017 10:52 AM PDT

Support 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!

September 01, 2017 10:40 AM PDT

"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.

August 25, 2017 08:01 AM PDT

"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. 

August 18, 2017 08:30 AM PDT

Documentary 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!

August 11, 2017 08:16 AM PDT

Hello, 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!

August 04, 2017 08:58 AM PDT

"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!

July 28, 2017 06:00 AM PDT

Hello, 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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