So I’m still experimenting with different themes and styles and formats for my videos. Here is a posthumous interview with the great George Carlin. I’ve always wanted to know how he evolved into the great comedian that he became. So I asked him…
This video is based on my interview for The Rumpus with the fabulous Thaisa Frank. She said a lot of incredible things about the writing process during our conversation, but there was one particular thing about the “failure of the intended story” that really knocked me out. Let me know what you think…
In this first episode, I (pretend to) talk with Elizabeth McCracken about the challenge of writing when you’re not obsessed with your project.
- Elizabeth McCracken’s website.
- Conversation between Elizabeth McCraken and Ann Patchett (from where I swiped all her dialogue).
- My original Obsession x Voice video.
- John Gruber & Merlin Mann’s Obsession x Voice conversation.
To view all my videos, go to my main video page.
Have you heard of the Espresso Book Machine?
What I love about the this device is that it seems to embrace both the past and the future. A device that allows you to print a real-life, old-school, physical book. In one way, the machine looks like a relic from another era. But also, this machine is tapped in to an online database of books that can be printed on demand. Within minutes, you have a new, warm book in your hands.
Today, Laura’s book (BRAVE ON THE PAGE) is one of those magical books. It is a fabulous collection of voices and insights about writing, with a focus on Oregon writers. Eerily enough, I’m interviewed in there, and I say the word “shame” seven times in this interview. But there are some great writers in here. And the book is beautiful too.
And check it out at an Espresso Book Machine near you.
I’m kind of obsessed with people going through transition and how they talk about it. Not just because I’m mean and don’t want anyone to ever be stable, but because some big stuff bubbles up during these periods. And I’m struggling with my own transition as things wind down with my book tour and I try to figure out where the hell I’m going.
I’m sure if you look at it a certain way, everyone is going through transition — everything between birth and death is transition. But all metaphysical bullshit aside, there are these two friends and bloggers who I’m a little obsessed with right now. These are two totally different people in totally different realms. Both going through transitions. Please don’t tell them I’m obsessed… they might laugh and point. More so.
This was a fabulous thing to witness. For one, people actually wrote about fear and failure in honor of my damn booky thing. Which is nice because — even though I have a lot to say about failure — I didn’t want to have to report on my failure to instill failure in others. So I’m sorry to say that the failure experiment was a success.
What I loved about the results is that everyone who participated was true to their bloggy voice, but also appropriately messy and honest and real and each person stretched for this challenge. So thank you for that. If I were cooler at social media, I would’ve come up with some sort of hashtag for twitter… What dya think? #writefail? #fearfailure? #yuvisucks?
Without any more stalling, here it is, the beautiful list of people who successfully talked about fear & failure (in order of when they were posted). Please let me know if I unintentionally missed anyone — busy month!…
Fear & Failure Successes
Kristen Forbes: “THE (SEMI-) GREAT FEAR & FAILURE EXPERIMENT OF 2012”. Hot damn. You should follow her blog on any given week. She writes so openly and honestly about fear and failure and grief and loss and joy and friendship and love and heartbreak. So it’s not a surprise that she took on this challenge. But even so, what she wrote was beautiful and honest and real. Full of reflection while still full of unanswered questions. She also talks through how she could’ve taken the easy road with this post. But she didn’t. Go read it. (And I love the fact that she has a blog tag called “argh”.)
I intended this video to be about the way I once organized my whole submission plan for magazines. I had this fancy pants spreadsheet characterizing my every step. But a few minutes into making this video, I realized how much I have changed over the years. Now there’s a wife. There are kids. I don’t have time to fetishize the process. But it’s more than that. I also see how we writers are so compelled to obsess over the accolades we think we deserve before fully maturing our writing chops. And so this video turned into a talk about the need to write. To write a lot.
Without doing a lick of research (or even bothering to read his book), I swiped Malcolm Gladwell’s notion that it takes 10,000 hours to master a particular craft. (Don’t quote me on this!) I just love the idea of that number because it is a damn big number. And I think it is roughly true. It takes a long time for most of us mortals to get good at writing.
And so here is my not-entirely-educated take on it:
I’ve been a long time fan of This American Life. I don’t listen to every episode but it’s safe to say I’ve listened to more than a hundred shows. This past weekend, I listened to the Retraction episode where Ira Glass apologizes for the piece they played about Mike Daisey and the Foxconn factory, a piece they now know to be full of incorrect information. Here is my reaction after listening to the episode: I love Ira Glass.
I didn’t know shit about the man. Plus, I was late to the party. I didn’t even start paying attention to Steve and Apple until a few years ago. He was already uncomfortably skinny when I noticed him and when I started admiring Apple products. But today my Macbook Air and my iPhone are essential parts of my work. A single day without either of these devices and I will feel it heavily. Even so, I think I’m unqualified to talk about the guy and the company.
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