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The Creative Nonfiction Podcast with Brendan O'Meara
Conversations with badass writers, filmmakers, and producers about the art and craft of telling true stories.
Category: Literature
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January 03, 2019 07:55 PM PST

"We all need little successes," says today's guest Vanya Erickson.

Vanya Erickson, author of the memoir Boot Language. You can find her at vanyaerickson.com, that’s Erickson with a CK, and follow her on Facebook @vanyaerickson.author. In this episode we talk a lot about how she survived her often brutal upbringing. It was one of emotional and physical abuse from two parents who couldn’t be more different.

Subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Follow the show on Twitter @CNFPod and me @BrendanOMeara. It has a Facebook page too. Go check it out. I’ve curtailed my social media use by a LOT. I check Twitter only on my computer and only once a day to connect with you. If you’ve taken the time to say something nice or engage, I’ll do my best to reply or retweet or otherwise give you a high five. And if you dig the show, share it with your circle. That’s how this thing grows. Trust and passing it hand to hand. I’ll play the long game. Like it or not, I’m not going anywhere. Sucka.

Thanks to Goucher College's MFA in nonfiction and the noun despair for their support.

December 28, 2018 06:20 AM PST

"When I experience something interesting that happens I need to compose it in words," says Laura Hillenbrand.

In many ways this is the logical conclusion of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. This is the Tony Soprano cut-to-black moment, Walter White dying beside his precious meth lab, or Gollum plummeting into the fires of Mt. Doom with the Ring of Power clutched in his hand.

This interview with the one and only Laura Hillenbrand was about two years in the making and through unshakable endurance on both sides we were able to get this done and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by this in the least.

For those who don’t know, Laura is the best-selling author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend and Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience, and Rddemption. I think best-selling is an understatement. Unbroken spent a staggering 42 weeks at No. 1 on the New York Times Best seller list. Both books were made into Oscar-nominated movies with Gary Ross directing Seabiscuit and Angelina Jolie directing Unbroken. Laura won the National Magazine Award in 2004 for her New Yorker article “A Sudden Illness,” which describes the acute onset of chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, that has been with her since the 1980s.

If you haven’t subscribed to the show, be sure to do that wherever you get your podcasts. If you dig the show, please consider leaving an honest review over on iTunes.

You can follow me and the show on Twitter @BrendanOMeara and @CNFPod. Like the Facebook page, it’s just The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, and feel free to follow me on Instagram where I post cool audiograms of the shows as well as stupid drawings I do when I need to decompress. Always compressin’ over here.

Head over to brendanomeara.com for show notes and to subscribe to my monthly newsletters where I share my reading recommendations for the month, articles, and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. It’s a little bite of goodness to start your month. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it.

Thanks again to our sponsors in Goucher College’s MFA in Nonfiction and Creative Nonfiction Magazine. And, hey, happy New Year, friend. And thanks for being on this CNFin’ journey with me. Here’s to 2019.

December 21, 2018 05:00 AM PST

Welcome my CNFin’ buddy, how are YOU, doing? I’m @BrendanOMeara, Brendan O’Meara in real life and this is @CNFPod, or The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to badass writers, filmmakers, and producers about the art and craft of telling true stories.

If you want to get better at the form, you’ve come to the right place. This is our little corner of the Internet. If you’re here for the first time, welcome, welcome, crack open a notebook, pour yourself a cup of coffee and settle in, CNFers.

Where to start, where to start? My guest is Debbie Millman. Yes, you heard that correctly. Your ears did not deceive you. I didn’t bother digging too deep into Debbie’s origin story because there are several podcasts where she dives into that and I wanted to spare her from repeating herself. Maybe I was too timid in that regard, but I figured I’d steer the ship toward other things.

At this point in the introduction is usually where I riff …. on what’s going on, maybe offer some insights into how you can improve your work by sharing something I find helpful. But...sometimes the most helpful thing is getting the cuss out of the way.

In 17 words Debbie Millman is a writer, designer, educator, artist, brand consultant, and host of the podcast Design Matters.

But in a single word? Debbie is an inspiration. She made a name for herself as a graphic designer and branding guru after years and years of rejections, failures, and false starts. She’s persistent sometimes, she admits, to a fault.

Her writing is tight and playful. It’s deep, meaningful, resonant, and beautiful to look at as most of her essays are illustrated in her whimsical way of inking and penciling.

As for her career in branding, If you’ve seen the Burger King logo, various Pepsi products, Tropicana, Haagen Daas, and Twizzlers (totally twisted) then you’ve seen her work. If it makes the supermarket look prettier, odds are Debbie had a hand in that.

She was the president of Sterling Brands for 20 years, and under her stewardship grew the company from 15 employees to 150.

But after a decade of being a titan in her field, from 1995 to 2005, often at the expense of her own creative projects, her writing, her drawing, her painting, she was granted the opportunity to host an internet radio program that, I must add, she had to pay to produce, called Design Matters. This was in 2005.

14 years later and she’s still doing it and for my money she, along with Joe Donahue of WAMC Northeast Public Radio, are the best interviews around. I have a reason for this and I talk about this with Debbie.

She has interviewed Milton Glaser, Malcolm Gladwell, Anne Lamott, Seth Godin, Shepard Fairey, and hundreds more. Design Matters is a testament to her endurance and generosity. It wasn’t until she had done the show for several years that it really began to gain traction, win awards, and become the behemoth that it is today.

I could go on and on and I must apologize for my titanic nerves in this episode. I mean I suffer from them all the time, but this one was especially bad, for that I’m sorry, but getting the chance to speak to Debbie for nearly an hour was such an esteemed an honor that I had trouble keeping my you know what together.

You made it this far so I must say thanks for listening. I do this for you guys so you know that even the best of the best deal with the same bullshit we’re all dealing with.

If you haven't already, consider subscribing to the show on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher and subvert the algorithms across the social platforms. If you liked the show, share it with just one friend. Email them the link or share it on social media. And tag me @BrendanOMeara and @CNFPod so I can toast to your awesomeness.

Consider leaving an honest review on iTunes as well. I want to see it hit 100 ratings. We’re gonna get there in 2019, but it starts with you. If you have five minutes to spare, please give the show some love.

I also have a monthly newsletter where I send out my reading recommendations, cool articles, and anything you might have missed from the world of the podcast. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it.

Thanks to our sponsors in Goucher College’s MFA in Nonfiction as well as Creative Nonfiction Magazine.

December 14, 2018 06:00 AM PST

Today's guest is Alexandra DiPalma, freelance podcast producer to the max! Man, you're gonna love hearing all about her. @LSDiPalma on Twitter.

Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and wherever you get your podcasts. Visit brendanomeara.com to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat that.

So…

I’ve done 130 of these podcasts starting incredibly raw with the most primitive ways of recording till now where I even have a boom arm to hold up the microphone.

Yet, yet...I ponied up some $200 to buy a podcasting class package from Creative Live (no affiliation) and in that bundle was a class by Alexandra DiPalma, the brilliant freelance audio producer whose list of credits includes Food For Thot and Seth Godin’s Akimbo.

She also is the foreman of Seth Godin’s Podcasting Fellowship so you could say Alexandra knows her shit.

Be sure to follow her and her shows on Twitter. Hit her up on the internets and hit up the show @CNFPod and @BrendanOMeara. Facebooky is The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. Give us a follow, like the page, join our little community of badass true story tellers. Rising tides float all boats. Thanks, moon.

Thanks to our sponsors in Goucher College's MFA in Nonfiction and Creative Nonfiction Magazine.

December 07, 2018 03:00 AM PST

"You're whole life adds up to who you are," says filmmaker Lisa D'Apolito.

This is of course The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I talk to bad-ass writers, filmmakers, and producers about the art and craft of telling true stories whereby I unpack their artist journey and tap into their routines and habits about doing the work. This week for Ep. 129 is Lisa D’Apolito, the mastermind behind the brilliant documentary Love, Gilda about the legendary comedian and comedic actor Gilda Radner.

We talk about her early life growing in Greenwich Village, her transition from acting to filmmaking, and what really drew her to Gilda Radner.

Thanks to Goucher College's MFA in Nonfiction and Creative Nonfiction Magazine for making this show possible.

Of course you can follow the show in myriad places. It’s on Twitter @CNFPod and @BrendanOMeara. If you have any questions or things you’re struggling with in your work, shoot me a note. Be sure to share the show across your platforms to help grow our little community and go subscribe to my newsletter at brendanomeara.com.

November 30, 2018 04:36 AM PST

If you’re anything like me, and one assumes you are because you find some value in this humble little podcast, you need constant prodding in a sense. That can either be to get your work done or to get your brain in check. I’m one of those dudes who gets pretty down pretty easily, so it helps to have guests on who inspire me.

Enter David Lee Morgan, @davidleemorgan on Twitter.

David was a long time sports writer for the Akron Beacon Journal and most recently he turned his attention to teaching high school English, a move he doesn’t regret in the slightest. For the people who say “If you can’t do teach,” one of the more insulting things you can say to any artist who teaches or teachers who don’t, I give you David, who not only is a brilliant writer, but by the very nature of his attitude and approach, makes him that rare teacher that inspires with every lesson.

To be frank, I haven’t been in David’s classroom, but if my 90 minutes with him is any indication of what it’s like to sit at a desk in his class, well, sign me up.

Oh, hey, this is The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the best writers, filmmakers, podcasters, and producers about the art and craft of telling true stories. Here I try and unpack their personal history and also drill down on their routines and habits around getting the work done so you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work.

If you haven’t subscribed, be sure to head over to Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Spotify, or Stitcher and hit that button. Share this episode with just one friend, or across your social platforms, and if you’ve got the time, please leave an honest review over on Apple Podcasts.

Okay, so David is the author of six books, including LeBron James: The Rise of a Star, which was the book on LeBron before he became King James. We talk about garnering trust among sources, being positive, and using slights as fuel.

I think you’re going to love this episode, now, it’s time for the main event.

Thanks to our sponsors in Goucher College’s MFA in NOnfiction as well as Creative Nonfiction Magazine.

What else? Oh, yes, be sure to subscribe to the show and be sure to head over to brendanomeara.com to sign up for my monthly newsletter. New one goes on the first of the month. It’s an inventory of great reading material as well as what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. I hope it gives you as much value as it gives me by putting it together.

I’m @BrendanOMeara on Twitter and IG. The podcast is @CNFPodHost on Facebook, so connect with me or the show wherever you like. The show is in service of you, so if you have questions of me or my guests, please don’t be shy to email or ping me on social.

November 23, 2018 05:37 AM PST

Did you know it’s Di-November. Not die as in death, but dino as in dinosaurs, which is how and why today’s guest is Sam Chiarelli (@DinophileSam on Twitter), author of the memoir Dig: A Personal Prehistoric Journey, published by Hippocampus Books.

What is up? It’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to bad-ass writers, filmmakers, producers, and podcasters about the art and craft of telling true stories. I try and unpack their artist journey as well as habits and routines so you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work. I’m @BrendanOMeara and @CNFPod on Twitter. I’m Brendan O’Meara in real life.

Sam’s book is about chasing your curiosity and following your deepest passions, or re-finding them again as if they got lost in the rock years and years ago. Maybe consider excavating what excited you as a child, that time when you did what you wanted for no other reason than you thought it was fun and cool.

Oh, by the way, Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for coming along this CNFin’ journey. I’d be deeply grateful to you if you shared the podcast with your immediate circle and, if you’re feeling extra generous and maybe a bit doped up on food, writing a review over on iTunes.

Thanks to our sponsors in Goucher College's MFA in Nonfiction as well as Creative Nonfiction Magazine.

November 16, 2018 08:16 AM PST

"I never try to write a valentine. I always try to tell the story straight," says Glenn Stout, who makes his third visit to the podcast.

Buckle up, CNFers, I’m Brendan O’Meara and this is my podcast, the show where I speak to the best writers and filmmakers, producers and podcasters about the art and craft of telling true stories. I try and extract habits and routines around the work so you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, steam on Spotify, find the show and do it up. If you dig the show, if there’s a tasty nugget you know will help a fellow CNFer, pass it along to one person. Share it with you dozen Twitter followers, or your 300 Twitter followers and if you have a moment, consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Head over to brendanomeara.com for show notes and to sign up for my monthly newsletter where I give out reading recommendations, writing tips, and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast. Once a month. No spam. Can’t beat it.

So it’s Glenn Stout this week author, at last count, of 3,000 books, go look it up. His latests is the most comprehensive history of the New England Patriots to date titled The Pats: An Illustrated History of the New England Patriots. He put this book together with his long time collaborator Richard Johnson, who handled much of the curating of the art you’ll find in this gorgeous book.

So Glenn came back for his third trip to the show. We talk about shotgunning ledes, chain smoking book projects, rationing out energy and, of course the Patriots, my home team, being a New England boy.

Thanks to out sponsors in Goucher College's MFA in Nonfiction and Creative Nonfiction Magazine.

Glenn is @glennstout on Twitter. Go buy the book for the Pats fan in your life. I’m @BrendanOMeara and @CNFPod on Twitter. You can follow along on Facebook @CNFPodHost/The Creative Nonfiction Podcast. I’m also @brendanomeara on Instagram if you like rando pics, drawings, and audiograms.

Is that it? I think that’s it. Happy Thanksgiving, gobble gobble mofos.

And remember, if you can’t do, interview, see ya!

November 09, 2018 06:00 AM PST

Brin-Jonathan Butler has the world record for appearances on The Creative Nonfiction Podcast at four times.His new book The Grandmaster: Magnus Carlsen and the Match that Made Chess Great Again is a masterpiece.

Be sure to visit Brendan O’Meara.com for show notes and to sign up for my monthly newsletter. If you want to connect on social, I”m @BrendanOMeara and @CNFPod on twitter. On Facebook you can search for the podcast by name and the hanlde @CNFPodHost. If you’re an Instagrammer, I post drawings I do and audiograms from the show.

Got any questions or concerns? Ping me on social or email me creativenonfictionpodcast@gmail.com. Maybe I’ll answer the question on the show.

Thanks to our sponsors in Goucher College’s MFA in Nonfiction as well as Creative Nonfiction Magazine. Go check them out.

November 02, 2018 05:41 AM PDT

Natalie Singer, author of California Calling: A Self Interrogation comes by the show this week.

So here we are again. Happy to say last week’s episode was featured in Creative Nonfiction Magazine’s November newsletter as a “distraction,” meant only as flattery, of course.

Jane Friedman, THAT Jane Friedman, also gave us a great shoutout in a blog post a few weeks ago. That’s riff worthy…

Oh, you didn’t think I was gonna drop that hammer did you, sucka?

Hey, this is The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak to the best artists about the craft of telling true stories. I’m Brendan O’Meara (hey, hey) and this is what we do. Today I welcome Natalie Singer, author of California Calling: A Self Interrogation to the show.

We talk about confidence, or the lack thereof, books as mentors, and day jobs and feeling shame for day jobs. I hope to change that perception over the next six million episodes, but shame is real, man, it is real.

Well, are you subscribed to the show? You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and just about anywhere else you get your pods. If you like this episode, tell one friend. Hand the show off like a baton and let them run with it. I’d love to see the show grow. It’s getting there. We march on.

Got a newsletter you should consider subscribing to. I give out reading recommendations, but I’m also thinking of sprinkling in some other cool stuff I’ve stumbled on over the past month in the vein of Austin Kleon’s newsletter. I love his newsletter. I’m gonna Steal Like an Artist. See what I did there?

Thanks to our sponsors in Goucher College's MFA in Nonfiction as well as Creative Nonfiction Magazine.

So, the show is @CNFPod on Twitter and I’m @BrendanOMeara on Twitter. I don’t know. Following either of those two would be pretty rad. The show is on Facebook too if you’re into that.

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