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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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by Brendan O'M...
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April 27, 2018 08:24 AM PDT

"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.

April 25, 2018 06:44 AM PDT

"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:

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.

April 20, 2018 07:43 AM PDT

"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.

April 13, 2018 08:33 PM PDT

"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.

April 06, 2018 08:22 PM PDT

"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”
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.

March 30, 2018 08:11 AM PDT

"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.

March 23, 2018 06:00 AM PDT

"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.

March 16, 2018 06:46 AM PDT

"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.

March 09, 2018 06:21 AM PST

"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.

February 23, 2018 08:00 AM PST

"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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