I want to share a few podcast episodes and some late-summer reads I’ve found inspiring. I hope they inspire you and help you prepare your mind for the next season.

The Good Life Podcast Interview with Elaine Aron, Author of Highly Sensitive People

I confess that I’ve never read the classic book on sensitive folks, so this conversation was an eye-opener. While you might be aware that you feel things more deeply or that you are sensitive to light and noise, did you know that highly sensitive types need more time to process everything? If you have a need to write everything out to understand it (ahem), then this profile might be familiar to you. It might give you permission to spend all that time working things out and stop the shoulds around your slow process.

Time Ferriss Podcast with Anne Lamott on Taming your Inner Critic, Finding Grace, and Prayer

Another confession. I I haven’t read Lamott’s past three or four books. I believed I’d already heard all of her stories about church and being an alcoholic and her father’s literary ambitions. And much of what she says in this interview she’s shared many times before. But listening to the podcast I remembered it’s not just shtick. The author lives what she writes. This interview reminds you once again get out of your own way and that you could be a lot nicer to yourself.

The Plot, A Novel, by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Earlier this summer, a student asked for recommendations for beach reads. Not my wheelhouse, I told her. I couldn’t remember the last time I read something wearing a sun hat. And while this might not fall under the category of beach themes, it’s a page turner, a novel about a writer who finds himself in a web of lies and guilt after stealing a deceased student’s plot for his own book. It’s fun and admittedly hard to put down. Plus you can learn something about plot and what makes someone want to turn the page, as well as a lot of other literary tricks.

Blow Your House Down, by Gina Frangello

Readers seem to love it or hate this book. I was frankly skeptical and put it away after reading the first chapter. Then I picked it back up and got hooked. Frangello has broken every rule about structure and every cultural imperative to be pleasing and nice. If you are having trouble saying your truth, this book might light a fire under your pen.

In the Dream House, by Carmen Maria Machada

This book has everything. Innovative and provocative structure, deep intelligence, mastery of critical theory, and bravery in writing about sexuality and sexual and emotional abuse of women by women. Oh, and the writing is phenomenal.
If you are writing about something that feels like a secret, this one might inspire you. It might also tickle your brain about how to tell a linear tale in a compelling way.

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