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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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October 20, 2017 11:20 AM PDT

Hattie 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.

October 13, 2017 08:14 AM PDT

Elizabeth 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
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.

October 06, 2017 07:26 AM PDT

Erica 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.

September 29, 2017 08:26 AM PDT

“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!

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. 

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