13. Thus Far: A Retrospective on One Year of Author Interviews

happy_anniversary_postmasters

We’re one year old! This show is a retrospective, a chance to talk about all the fun we’ve had and lessons we’ve learned over the last twelve months, as well as an opportunity to update you on the status of our own writing lives. Thank you, podcast listeners, for such a great first year! (26:55)

Where are they now? Catch up with your favorite Postmasters guests here! This is what they’ve been up to since they spoke with us: postmasters_guests_year01a Courtney Gillette (Writing, Identity & Sexuality) Courtney’s essay “How To Like Girls” (featured in our episode!) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She was the featured prose writer in Issue 4 of Ardor Literary Magazine, and also served as a judge for the 2014 Lambda Literary Awards.

Zoë Harris (Enterprise, Agency & Making Things Happen) Since speaking with us, Zoë has completed the third book in the Eidolon Cycle, and is almost finished with her first draft of the fourth; she is still looking for a publisher. The membership of the Oslo Writers’ League (OWL)–which Zoë founded in 2012–has tripled in the last year, and published its second anthology, All the Ways Home, in May. And while her typesetting business has really taken off in recent months, the bigger news is that Zoë’s publishing imprint has released two books, including Dollywagglers, a novel by Frances Kay.

Steve Adams (Place, Persistence & The Pushcart) Steve’s essay “Ghosts of New York” was published in The Pinch and nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and he has two essays forthcoming in Bull, Men’s Fiction and Talking Writing. postmasters_guests_year01b Sarah Shaffer (Running, Writing & Retreats) Sarah is currently working on a handful of short stories and personal essays, as well as writing monthly articles for Hothouse Magazine. She recently had short stories published in Bluestem Magazine and Poplorish. Having lived in Seattle for eight months now, she’s finding, connecting to, drawing inspiration from, and staying busy fraternizing with a sincere, strong, and fun-loving writing community.

Valerie Bandura (Life, Poetry & The Freak Show) Valerie’s poetry collection, Freak Show, was a finalist for the 2014 Paterson Poetry Prize. Poems from Human Interest are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, and were included in the 100th anniversary issue of ZYZZYVA.

Jorge Armenteros (Breaking Rules, Innovative Fiction & Writing in the Moment) Jorge’s debut novel, The Book of I, is forthcoming this November from Jaded Ibis Press. It will feature original visual art by Liselott Johnsson and a full album soundtrack by Sarah Wallin Huff. Jorge is currently working on The Lesser Violin, a novel about the inner life of a wicked violin. postmasters_guests_year01c Susan Schnur (The Map vs. The Compass: A Writing Therapy Session) Susan will be spending two weeks at a writers’ retreat in County Cork, Ireland. Also, PJ Library will distribute Tashlich at Turtle Rock, Susan’s first children’s book, co-authored by her daughter, Anna Schnur-Fishman,  free to 20,000 Jewish 7-year-olds in August.

Cameron Conaway (Artistic Collaboration & Activism) Cameron has been re-exploring the beautiful campus of Penn State Altoona, the place where, 10 years ago, he first studied the art of poetry. He’ll teach poetry there this Fall.

Boris Fishman (The Replacement Life) Boris’s debut has been the stuff of every writer’s dreams. The Replacement Life was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice! He’s also been interviewed by several prestigious news outlets, and the book continues to be listed over and over as a great summer read.

The latest writing news from Audrey & Lacy Audrey’s essay, Sinober, was published in May as part of the Oslo Writers’ League’s second annual anthology, All the Ways Home. She also recently returned from a trip to Dublin, Ireland, her prize for winning the Irrgrønn Flash Fiction Competition in Oslo. Lacy won the AWP Writing Conferences & Centers Scholarship after one of her (as yet unpublished) stories was selected by judge Rigoberto González. She used the scholarship to attend the The Writers League of Texas Agents and Editors Conference in Austin last month. As part of the experience, she met with agent PJ Mark of Janklow & Nesbit to pitch her novel idea.

Coming up… We’ve already got our interviews lined up for the rest of the year. Can you believe it? In August, Stephanie Reents, author of The Kissing List, will sit down to chat about her writing life. Then in September, fellow Lesley University graduate Suzanne Hegland of Essay Therapy will share her experiences as a writer of nonfiction, but also her insights on the college application essay process.

Closing Quote

We have to learn to be kind to ourselves. What we’re doing isn’t easy. We have chosen to spend the better part of our lives in solitude, wrestling with our deepest thoughts and obsessions and concerns. We unleash the beast of memory; we peer into Pandora’s box. We do all this in the spirit of faith and exploration, with no guarantee that what we produce will be worthwhile. We don’t call in sick. We don’t take mental health days. We don’t get two weeks paid vacation, or summer Fridays, or holiday weekends. Often, we are out of step with the tempo of those around us. It can feel isolating and weird. And so, when the day turns against us, we might do well to follow the advice of the Buddhist writer Sylvia Boorstein, who talks to herself as if she’s a child she loves very much. Sweetheart, she’ll say. Darling. Honey. That’s all right. There, there. Go take a walk. Take a bath. Take a drive. Bake a cake. Nap a little. You’ll try again tomorrow. ~ Dani Shapiro, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life

Don’t be a writer; be writing!

 

The Nightstand Library Book Giveaway!

November is shaping up to be a great month. Not only will we kick off National Novel Writing Month with a fun new episode, but The Postmasters Podcast is doing another BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Our Nightstand Libraries! Lacy's at left; Audrey's at right.

Our Nightstand Libraries! Lacy’s at left; Audrey’s at right.

The Masters Review, a friend of the podcast, has generously supplied us with two copies of their brand new issue. Each year The Masters Review publishes a ten-story collection showcasing the best in graduate-level creative writing. The 2013 edition features an introduction and stories selected by author AM Homes, one of which is “How to Like Girls”, an essay by our August interviewee, Courtney Gillette. (You can hear Courtney read the intro to her essay in Episode 2 of The Postmasters Podcast.) The goal of The Masters Review is to expose progressive, diverse, and well-crafted writing to agents, editors, and readers. A noble effort, and we want to help!

How To Enter

Win a copy of The Masters Review 2013 by sharing a photo of your nightstand library–on Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter–sometime between now and October 31, and make sure you hashtag it #NightstandLibrary #PostmastersPodcast. It doesn’t matter where you share it; we’ll find your photo as long as it’s been appropriately hashtagged! And on November 1, we will randomly select two winners from the gallery of shared photos.

(Think hashtagging is silly? You’re not alone.  Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake prove it. But it does make giving away free books a lot easier!)

Can’t wait to see what you’re all reading… Share your photos with us today!

Follow The Postmasters Podcast (postmasters2) on Instagram.

instagram

02. Writing, Identity & Sexuality: A Dialogue with Essayist Courtney Gillette

courtney_gillette

Courtney Gillette

Our guest today is Brooklyn essayist Courtney Gillette, a classmate of ours from the Lesley University MFA program.  (28:05)

Courtney began publishing her writing several years before pursuing her MFA. Since 2005, she has published essays, short stories, and book reviews in various publications and anthologies, including Spinner, The Huffington Post, After Ellen (MTV’s lesbian pop culture blog), Lambda Literary Review, and Kirkus Reviews. In 2006 she contributed to the Lambda Award-winning anthology The Full Spectrum (Knopf) and the YA anthology Truth And Dare (Running Kids Press 2011). Her essay “You Want A Social Life With Friends” was shortlisted for the PRISM International Nonfiction prize in 2012. And, most recently, her essay, “How to Like Girls” was accepted by The Masters Review.

Courtney’s Website: http://courtneygillette.com/

Follow Courtney on Twitter: @courtneyaj

Continue reading