Tuesday Conversations S2E2 [PODCAST]: Reflections on Blending Memoir and Data in White Too Long
A conversation with Jenny Skoog of Ink Slingers Podcast
Hi, #WhiteTooLong readers,
I’m not a big believer in New Year’s Resolutions.
Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time.
My reticence to partake seriously in the custom stems from some personal quirks I’ve come to accept during my five decade tour around the sun. I’m that person who will add something to the grocery list after I’ve put an item in the cart, just to have the satisfaction (and the palpable dopamine hit) not only of crossing it off but also of knowing my list is a complete inventory of the day’s haul. So, if I make six resolutions but only keep three—and that’s par for the course according to a 2020 YouGov survey—I’m just not psychologically wired to count that as success, despite the progress it would actually represent.
But when that last annual digit flips forward each year, which happens as imperceptibly as the subtle swish and snap of those old pre-LED alarm clocks (I know I’m also dating myself here), I do try to take some time to reflect.
Today, I’m sharing a unique podcast I did last year on the theme of reflection and the process of doing the kind of personal writing I first did in White Too Long. I hope you’ll listen in to this thoughtful conversation with Jenny Skoog, the co-host of the Ink Slingers podcast, a podcast about “life writing and the people who do it.”
We talk about the challenges of memoir, specifically how the commitment to tell the truth often conflicts with the desire not to hurt people you love.
Ink Slingers Podcast: Blending Memoir and Data in White Too Long
Click here or below to listen in to this podcast (34 minutes):
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Coming to terms with the necessity, in White Too Long, of writing not just about research but about my own life was an important growth edge for me as a writer. Reading memoirs from masters like Anne Lamott was critical. But I also found a great anthology of writers reflecting on the act of writing memoir itself. I highly recommend these short essays.
Finally, I’m happy to report that the paperback edition of White Too Long is now back in stock at Amazon, Bookshop, and wherever books are sold. ICYMI, it contains a new Afterword reflecting on the significance of the Christian symbols present at the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol. Click below to buy a copy for your library or for a friend.