NEW EPISODE! S4E33: Kiki Oliphant Finds Her Own Path

When Maile and I spoke with Kiki, we expected to learn a lot about her journey into self-publishing. What we didn’t expect was to come away from the conversation feeling so encouraged, so empowered to keep writing, and more motivated than ever to explore all of the publishing options out there. 

As always, there are a few ways to listen: click the play button in the image above, go to our website to hear this and all of our other episodes, or head on over to Apple podcasts or Spotify!

If you love the content we’re creating, and if you’d like access to some bonus interviews and other material, and if you’d like to help us feed our six children, you can contribute $5 / month over at our Patreon account to make all of that happen. This podcast depends on listeners like you! Thank you!

And keep writing!

NEW EPISODE! S4E32 Change, Manifesting, and Other Thoughts Brought on By Moving

We discuss the upcoming move and the anxiety or uncertainty it has created in us, then bring it back around to writing and creativity, exploring what it looks like to approach change with hope. To try different things without being “realistic” all the time (what that means). Maile shares a favorite Harrison Ford movie scene. Can we create with more hope?

As always, there are a few ways to listen: click the play button in the image above, go to our website to hear this and all of our other episodes, or head on over to Apple podcasts or Spotify!

If you love the content we’re creating, and if you’d like access to some bonus interviews and other material, and if you’d like to help us feed our six children, you can contribute $5 / month over at our Patreon account to make all of that happen. This podcast depends on listeners like you! Thank you!

And keep writing!

Regarding Nightswimming, a Second Dose of Pfizer, and Moving-With-Children

Photo by Rachid Oucharia via Unsplash

I listened to REM’s album Automatic for the People yesterday. I’m not sure exactly why that particular album came to mind, but did you know it’s almost 30 years since its release? 1992. I fell in love with that album during the summer of 1996, and I specifically remember listening to the song “Nightswimming” about a hundred times during a solo road trip to see some friends on Long Island. I had left work at 5 p.m. and hit I-95,  eventually seeing the Verrazano Bridge in the distance, its soft arcing lights stretching over the Narrows.

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.

I arrived late, not sure if I was at the right house, woke up my friends, and we stayed up until the early morning, catching up, relaying how our summers had gone so far. I woke up the next morning, the house feeling strange, my friends still sleeping.

Nightswimming, remember that night
September’s coming soon
I’m pining for the moon

This is the kind of memory a song can bring back. 160 miles over whirring blacktop, and bridges into islands where I had never been before. The far-off sound of friends inside the house, what a relief, and falling asleep on an unfamiliar couch, in an unfamiliar town.

* * * * *

I got the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine yesterday. As of the time of this writing, I’m feeling fine, but when you’re reading this I could be sick, or maybe dead. Any of us could be dead, I guess. That’s what happens, when you keep living. The dying is yet to come.

I have friends who are very anti-vaccine, and it’s hard for me to understand, but because I know their backgrounds, I kind of get it. But I was happy to get the old needle in the arm. It’s free. It will probably keep me from getting Covid-19, or at least in its most serious form. It greatly reduces the chance that I could pass it on to the vulnerable people in my life.

Beyond the efficacy of the shot, Maile and I remarked about how wonderful it was to see people working together. I mean at the site where they administer the vaccine. All sorts of different people, organized and wanting to help. They see this as the way out, so they’ve stepped up, and they’re doing everything they can to make the process easier. Maybe there are some executives somewhere who see the whole vaccine opportunity as a money grab, a way to make millions, but what do you expect in a capitalistic society? When I saw the little people on the ground helping, I could appreciate that. It’s a kind of neighborly love we don’t see very much anymore.

But like I said. Maybe by now my arm has fallen off. Or I’ve turned into the Incredible Hulk. Or maybe there’s some strange pulsing in my mind, just this repetition over and over again, “Q…Q…Q…”

* * * * *

We’re still in the process of moving. It seems never-ending. I’m not even sad about moving anymore because I can’t see beyond the stacks of boxes or the fact that we can’t properly clean the house because there’s stuff everywhere and just when you pack a box the Littles come along and pull everything out again. It’s like a game of Whack-a-Mole, with both hands tied behind your back, and a blindfold on.

Moving is a strange thing that reaches down into the primal parts of us. To physically change the primary location of where you exist in the world is no small thing. Where you eat. Where you sleep. Where you take care of your family. Where you laugh and cry and think.

We move on the 29th. And for those in my family who are reading this, consider this your open invitation to come carry boxes. It’s Memorial Day weekend, so you won’t forget.

S4E31 Karen Stiller and How Motherhood Helped Her Writing

Karen Stiller, author of The Minister’s Wife, talks about the challenges involved in writing about personal topics, why she pursued her MFA, and how being a mother, instead of taking from her writing time, actually made her a better writer. Karen has a fresh perspective on writing and life, and Maile and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with her.  

As always, there are a few ways to listen: click the play button in the image above, go to our website to hear this and all of our other episodes, or head on over to Apple podcasts or Spotify!

If you love the content we’re creating, and if you’d like access to some bonus interviews and other material, and if you’d like to help us feed our six children, you can contribute $5 / month over at our Patreon account to make all of that happen. This podcast depends on listeners like you! Thank you!

And keep writing!

NEW EPISODE! S4E30: Our 100th Episode

To celebrate the milestone of our 100th episode, we brought in hard-hitting interviewer (and friend) Bryan Allain. He asks us how we navigate giving each other feedback on our work, how we currently view our writing journeys, and what we hope for in the next 100 episodes. Bryan is a great guy, and this was a fun conversation. 

As always, there are a few ways to listen: click the play button in the image above, go to our website to hear this and all of our other episodes, or head on over to Apple podcasts or Spotify!

If you love the content we’re creating, and if you’d like access to some bonus interviews and other material, and if you’d like to help us feed our six children, you can contribute $5 / month over at our Patreon account to make all of that happen. This podcast depends on listeners like you! Thank you!

And keep writing!

Poppy Picking Dandelions

I wake up around 6:15 and pull one of the slats in the blinds up so that I can peek through and see what kind of day it will be. I get dressed and go downstairs, slide open the dining room door, and there sits Winnie, tail wagging, ready for the day.

It’s strange to think that when I took my dog out a few short months ago, the morning was dark and so cold my hands went numb if I didn’t wear gloves. Back then, I would watch the sun rising over the Queen Street garage, peeking around the two story houses on Frederick Street. Now when I take Winnie out in the morning, the sun is up, the sky firmly bright, the air warm and humid from the night’s rain. The alley is gray but when I get to the grassy square, the sky opens up into clouds and an impossible blue.

It is easy to extoll the beauty of the mountainside or the trail through the woods or the way the water fades on the beach as the tide slips, but there is beauty here in the city, too, if you know where to look. There is the mother sitting on the stoop, drinking coffee, her small children drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. There is the man shouting across the street to his friend, ignoring the cars that drive between them. There is the rabbit that races along the chain link fence, disappearing through the hole in the curb.

* * * * *

We sit in the open green and the boys play flag football. Poppy is not old enough yet or she would be out there, too, so I throw football with her off to the side, each catch a celebration, even the ones that first hit her in the nose. She runs and runs and I remember that feeling, as a kid, running so fast I thought I just might be able to fly.

I sit in the chair and Poppy makes her way around the expanse of green, picking dandelions and other small, purple flowers hidden in the clover, then she binds her bunch of flowers with a rubber band, lays them beside my chair for future delivery to her mother.

This is life: not book releases or reviews or sales figures, but walking the dog in the rain and watching Leo celebrate after grabbing someone’s flag and finding beauty even among the weeds.