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Episode 1: Who Wants to Read About My Hike

Novelist, memoir writer, and advice columnist Cheryl Strayed on her accidental route to writing Wild, the birth of Tiny Beautiful Things, and how writing for free brought in the biggest paycheck.

Cheryl Strayed is the author of number 1 New York Times bestseller Wild, which was made into an Oscar nominated film. Her collection of Dear Sugar columns, Tiny Beautiful Things, has been adapted for a new Hulu television show, and she now publishes a monthly Dear Sugar newsletter on Substack. She's also the author of the novel Torch, the book of quotations Brave Enough, and has been published in The Best American Essays, the New York Times, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, and elsewhere. 

Some of the things we talk about: Leaving her family behind to go write alone in nature; how sending a complimentary email set her up to become Dear Sugar; how trusting her gut led to a very delayed paycheck; how people learn from stories and not lectures; how we're scheming to get Cheryl an EGOT; a dirty Ken joke; and who would play us in a movie.



MItchell S. Jackson


Episode 2: I Think We Got Kendrick Lamar

Award-winning novelist, nonfiction writer, and journalist Mitchell S. Jackson on profiling Kendrick Lamar while grieving his father, fighting for your words, and the joy of basketball fashion. 

Mitchell S. Jackson has won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Magazine award for his writing, which has been featured in the New York Times, Marie Claire Magazine, the New Yorker, and the Paris Review among other places. He is also the author of the. novel The Residue Years, a nonfiction book called Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family, and Fly: The Big Book of Basketball Fashion which came out in September 2023. He is a columnist for Esquire Magazine

Some of the things we talk about: What to expect from an editor and how Mitchell fights for every word; how to think about fashion to tell history; the highs of the right interview quote; writing in your own voice; advice from Gordon Lish; how Matt Stone from South Park struck up a chat; hanging with Naomi Campbell and Ricardo Tisci; editing the New York Times; and reporting a long-awaited profile of Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free while grieving his late father. 


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Images of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson from Mitchell S. Jackson's book Fly: The Big Book of Basketball Fashion

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Episode 3: No Tweezers, No Foam

Cookbook writer and New York Times contributor Colu Henry on the importance of a nook of one's own, the truth about marmalade, and the joys of unfancy food. 

Colu Henry is a writer, cook, and frequent contributor to the New York Times and Food & Wine. She has worked in food for more than 15 years and has written two great books, Back Pocket Pasta, which is basically a weeknight staple in our house, and Colu Cooks: Easy Fancy Food which is a party staple. She is also the person you most want by your side when you come back home from a day out starving with no food in the house because this lady can pull together a delicious meal from absolutely nothing.

Some of the things we talk about: going on adventures for writing assignments; the importance of having your own place to write; how to buy a house from Bob Hope; the festival of marmalade in peel-rich Penrith; why tweezers and foam get a hard pass; the power of pickle jars; cake being just bread with lipstick; and how Easy Fancy Eden got her name. 

Photo credit: Tara Donne


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Episode 4: Spelunking in Family Secrets

Journalist, novelist and nonfiction writer Rebecca Clarren on diving into family history to find answers,  empathy, and ultimately a path toward atonement. 

Rebecca Clarren has been writing by the American west for more than 20 years for publications including Mother Jones, Salon, the Nation, and High Country News. She is also the author of the novel Kickdown, and the nonfiction book The Cost of Free Land: Jews, Lakota, and an American Inheritance.

Some of the things we talk about: fact checking family lore; how so many Americans today are still benefitting from policies that harmed Native Americans; what the history books continue to get wrong; how to think about repair and measure our own distance from the genocides that took place here; how to have empathy for our ancestors; the meaning of a slap in the face; the fine line between packrat and historian; and the perils of writing about your own family. . 



Sinykin family members in Jew Flats circa 1911, and Clarren's great-great uncle Jack Sinykin shaking hands with Mincoujou Lakota Joseph White Bull, circa 1919. (From Clarren's family archives)

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Episode 5: Did You Ever Decide to Build an Ark? 

Journalist, novelist, and short story writer Vauhini Vara on which stories stay short and which become novels, the importance of a creative community, and how writing has helped her process grief. 

Vauhini Vara is the author of This is Salvaged and The Immortal King Rao, a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She is also a journalist, writing for Wired, The New York Times Magazine, and others. She teaches at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop's Book Project and is the secretary of the mentorship collective Periplus.

Some of the things we talk about: our favorite short stories ever and how they have scarred us; mining our deeply personal selves for fact and fiction; how to get unstuck as a writer; that feeling when your book becomes a TV show; writing to process a profound loss; and why a jolt of joy at the end can lighten the heart.



zach Dundas


Episode 6: Searching for Sherlock

Journalist, editor, and nonfiction writer Zach Dundas on the endurance of the great detective Sherlock Holmes, and the elusiveness of Benedict Cumberbatch. 

Zach Dundas is the Managing Editor at Wildsam Field Guides, the cohost of the podcast Death in the West, former Editor in Chief at Portland Monthly magazine, and the author of The Great Detective: the Amazing Rise and Immortal Life of Sherlock Holmes, and The Renegade Sportsman. 

Some of the things we talk about: the journalistic challenges of getting an interview with a celebrity and how press lists are, in fact, a thing; why growing up in Montana as a nerdy, bookish boy provided a pretty direct route to Arthur Conan Doyle; being the Woodward and Bernstein of the Sherlock Holmes beat; the serendipitous arrival of the BBC phenomenon Sherlock; the chill of getting a cold shoulder in England; Christopher Plummer getting lost in the bathroom; and the game of chasing Benedict Cumberbatch around an LA hotel being very much afoot. 



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Episode 7: How to Be Funny 

Standup comedian, writer, and high school teacher Katie Nguyen on writing jokes and how adolescent blogging can turn into comedy gold.

Katie Nguyen is a comedian who has opened for Maria Bamford, Todd Barry, and Ron Funches. She has been named as one of the Portland Mercury's Geniuses of Comedy (three times!), and was named the winner of Willamette Week's Funniest Five. On top of all of that, she is a teacher, both of standup at Helium Comedy Club and of language arts for high school students.

Some of the things we talk about: Ketamine and the President of Ireland; the hidden dangers of veiny pumpkins; the economy of words in comedy writing; the stakes of teaching high school versus grown up comedy classes; making people laugh as a defense mechanism; how starting a teen blog set Katie up for success in standup;  and chicken sexing (it's a thing).


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Episode 8: Later They Go to Space

Journalist, podcaster, and gender educator Tuck Woodstock on the joy of ditching big deadlines to work on a Fast and Furious 'zine with his friends.

Tuck hosts the award-winning podcast Gender Reveal, focused on the diversity of trans experiences and has been featured as a gender educator by NPR and the Washington Post. He is also co-founder of Sylveon Consulting which works to help develop trans-inclusive media and provides media training for newsrooms. He also has a very cute cat named Rhubarb.

Some of the things we talk about: Grey's Anatomy and Jersey Shore confessions; turning down paid writing gigs to find your creative joy; the first time men were ever allowed to cry in the cinema; guessing the potential plots of the Fast and the Furious franchise; talking to a can of tear gas.



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Episode 9: Letters to My Exes

Memoirist, podcaster, and Substack superstar Rosemary MacCabe on writing a book about her ex-lovers and what sex act is illegal to mention.

Rosemary is a former Irish Times writer, journalist, and cohost of the podcast Not Without My Sister. She also helms the Substack, Anchor Baby, covering her move from Ireland to Indiana and life in America with her family. And she's just written her first memoir, or menmoir as she calls it, about what she learned from all her ex-lovers called This is Not About You.

Some of the things we talk about: how writers need a legal team to not get sued (for deer-related art); writing a book about all your ex-lovers and sometimes having to get them to sign off on it; when to anonymize characters in your pieces; if a relationship ends is it a failure or a learning experience; the sex act deemed too private by lawyers; crowdfunding publishing.


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David F. Walker

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Episode 10: When the Idea Picks You

Comic book writer, filmmaker, and educator David F. Walker on the superpowers of perseverance in publishing.

David  is an award-winning comic book writer, filmmaker, journalist, and educator, who has worked for DC and Marvel Comics on titles including Luke Cage, Power Man and Iron Fist, DeadpoolCyborg, and man, many more. He is also the author of the forthcoming YA novel The Adventures of Darius Logan.

Some of the things we talk about: the finger-to-the-wind world of publishing predictions; working at Hot Topic; being career motivated by crushes; the weight of Imposter Syndrome; the growth of YA; the arc of a book's rejection to celebration.


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