Himalaya: Listen. Learn. Grow.

4.8K Ratings
Open In App
title

Life Stories

Ron Hogan

2
Followers
9
Plays
Life Stories

Life Stories

Ron Hogan

2
Followers
9
Plays
OVERVIEWEPISODESYOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Details

About Us

Beatrice.com’s Ron Hogan interviews memoirists about their lives and the art of writing memoir.

Latest Episodes

Life Stories #107: Chavisa Woods

EChavisa Woods' 100 Times: A Memoir of Sexism is a book that, as our British friends say, does exactly what it says on the tin—chronicling 100 separate incidents of sexist behavior that Woods has faced in her lifetime, a pattern of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse (including sexual assault) that starts when she's five years old and continues to the present day. It's a patten that, I speculated, just about any woman should find instantly recognizable, to which Woods replied: "I keep saying a lot of memoirs are written because the author thinks it's an exceptional story. I actually felt like I needed to write this memoir because my story is not exceptional at all, and I wanted to show how pervasive sexism is in multiple spheres of society... I just wanted to show how pervasive it is everywhere and how it affects us constantly throughout our lives." We cover a lot of territory in this conversation, including how Woods used to adopt a violent response to sexual harassment—and the ...

27 MIN2019 AUG 5
Comments
Life Stories #107: Chavisa Woods

Life Stories #106: Rick Moody

In The Long Accomplishment, Rick Moody takes readers through the first year of his second marriage. It was a moment in time where he'd gained significant control over his addictions, and had extricated from a dysfunctional first marriage—a moment when, as I jokingly said during our conversation, "everything should be coming up Rick Moody." But it didn't go that way; instead, we have an account of a couple grappling with the financial and emotional tolls of fertility treatment, along with various other assaults from the outside world... and, as Moody describes it, a shutdown of his creative faculties so all-encompassing that, eventually, the only thing he could see himself writing about was what was happening to the two of them. We talked about how he was able to write about these events, and he made an insightful distinction between craft and candor&8212;whereas most of his career, including his first memoir, he'd been focused on craft, this time around he decided to go all in on t...

23 MIN2019 AUG 5
Comments
Life Stories #106: Rick Moody

Life Stories #105: Glen David Gold

EI first met Glen David Gold when he was on a reading tour for his second novel, Sunnyside, which happened to be the name of the neighborhood where I lived at the time; that wasn't the only reason we hit it off, but we did, and so I was excited when I found out he was publishing a memoir, I Will Be Complete. I spoke to him in the summer of 2018 about his family history, how he'd tried to deal with it by writing fiction in his twenties, and the path toward eventually finding the right literary structure through which to tell the story. One of the first things I mentioned is how perfectly it illustrated that famous Philip Larkin verse about what your parents do, which eventually brought us to a discussion of how some relationships simply can't be fixed. We also talked about how working on I Will Be Complete has made Glen a more confident writer, and the newly honed skills he's been able to take back to his fiction. Plus the story of how David Leavitt became his literary archnemesis, un...

29 MIN2018 DEC 19
Comments
Life Stories #105: Glen David Gold

Life Stories #104: Minna Zallman Proctor

I met with Minna Zallman Proctor a while back, shortly after the publication of Landslide, a collection of autobiographical essays that orbit around her relationship with her mother. One of the things we discussed was how circumspect she was in the portrayal of her own children, and that prompted me to say something about how we don't really know the author of a memoir or an autobiographical essay, that the "I" we read is a controlled, calibrated literary invention. Proctor challenged that assumption. "The book is, at best, a portrait of my brain," she told me, "of the way I think of things. In that sense, it's incredibly honest. I don't think that you can write a book like this without a degree of intimacy, a degree of candor and vulnerability—a great degree of those things—and I think that the vulnerability that I express in my personal essay writing... and sometimes my book reviews, too, for that matter... is in that I am laying it all out. This is the way my brain works."

23 MIN2018 JUL 27
Comments
Life Stories #104: Minna Zallman Proctor

Life Stories #103: Michelle Stevens

EI first met Michelle Stevens in 2014, back when I was an acquiring editor for a startup book publishing company. We took a meeting with her and her agent after reading the proposal for her book, which combined a memoir about surviving childhood sexual abuse with solid explanations of the psychology involved in the dissociative identity disorder that Stevens, among others, developed as a result of that protracted trauma. I was impressed by the proposal, and the meeting, but I wasn't the one who got to make those sorts of decisions, so we ended up passing on the book—fortunately, Scared Selfless wound up with a great publisher who was able to support the book in a way it deserved, so chances are that, sometime in 2017, you might have seen her in a magazine you were reading, or on a daytime talk show... Happily, she and I were able to keep in touch, so when she came to New York City to do some media, we were able to get together for a frank conversation about—among other things—what...

21 MIN2018 JUL 26
Comments
Life Stories #103: Michelle Stevens

Life Stories #102: Elizabeth W. Garber

EI spoke with Elizabeth W. Garber the Monday right after Father's Day, an apt time to be discussing her memoir, Implosion. It's a story about growing up in Cincinnati in the 1960s and early '70s in a glass house designed by her architect father—years that were so unsettling to live through that when Garber began speaking to her mother and her two brothers about the abuse they all endured, they initially refused to have anything to do with the topic. Which didn't exactly surprise her, because it was the last thing she ever intended to write about, either. During our conversation, Garber and I discussed how she had mentally and emotionally blocked out her father's most invasive and abusive behavior while it was happening, and about how friends and neighbors, and even her father's therapist, turned a blind eye to the blatant signs of his mental and emotional condition. We also discussed how her father's most famous project became a landmark metaphor for all the shortcomings of modernis...

23 MIN2018 JUL 25
Comments
Life Stories #102: Elizabeth W. Garber

Life Stories #101: David Hallberg

EI met David Hallberg at the midtown offices of the American Ballet Theater, where they'd set aside a conference room for us to talk about his new memoir, A Body of Work. It's about his relentless quest for perfection, from his earliest days as a ballet student in Arizona to his role as a principal dancer at ABT (and as the first American to hold a position of comparative stature at the Bolshoi's dance company). But it's also about realizing that, even though he thought he was pushing himself to the limit, he was really holding himself back—and about how a career-threatening injury drove him not just into physical therapy but into a complete overhaul of his emotional approach to his craft. As I was reading A Body of Work, I started thinking Jim Bouton's classic baseball memoir, Ball Four. Both books are by young men who've dedicated themselves to their field but find themselves coming face-to-face with the prospect of no longer being able to do the thing they love, far sooner than t...

24 MIN2017 DEC 18
Comments
Life Stories #101: David Hallberg

Life Stories #100: Kat Kinsman & Andrea Petersen

For the 100th episode of Life Stories, the podcast where I've been talking to memoir writers about their lives and the art of writing memoir, I wanted to do something special. So, in the spring of 2017, I sat down with Kat Kinsman, the author of Hi, Anxiety: Life with a Bad Case of Nerves, and Andrea Petersen, the author of On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety, for a wide-ranging discussion about their personal experiences with anxiety disorder, about maintaining their mental health while dealing with the pressures of their careers in the media industry—like, what does and doesn't work for them, and why it might or might not work for someone else suffering from anxiety—and about the battle that was then raging to protect our government health care programs. (A battle that we'll undoubtedly have to fight again before too long.) Sometimes it's hard to believe that it's been nearly six years since I uploaded my first Life Stories interview, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to have ...

46 MIN2017 DEC 7
Comments
Life Stories #100: Kat Kinsman & Andrea Petersen

Life Stories #99: Lauren Marks

ELauren Marks was an actress in her late twenties when she went to Edinburgh in 2007 to direct a friend's play in the city's annual Fringe Festival. One night, they went out to a bar, and she was in the midst of a karaoke number when an aneurysm in her brain burst. When she regained consciousness, her ability to communicate with the people around her was massively impaired. A Stitch of Time is the story of her recovery from that aphasia—which was so severe at one point that she lacked a conscious interior voice. There's a lot of personal story packed into Lauren's memoir, and into this conversation. We talk about her frustration at what felt like a parent's attempt to co-opt her "story," about her then-boyfriend's attempt to essentially treat her brain injury as an opportunity to "reboot" their relationship, and about how the injury forced her to fast-track a re-evaluation of her life that had already begun. As she explains, "It's not unusual for someone twenty-seven in New York to ...

41 MIN2017 DEC 2
Comments
Life Stories #99: Lauren Marks

Life Stories #98: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

When Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich was in law school, she did a summer internship at a Louisiana law firm. She was firmly against the death penalty, and then they asked if she would be prepared to work on the case of convicted child murderer Ricky Langley. Attempting to familiarize herself with the case, she was overwhelmed by memories of being molested by her grandfather—and though her career as a lawyer was pretty much over before it had even begun, her future as a writer was just beginning. In The Fact of a Body, Marzano-Lesnevich writes about her efforts not just to confront what had happened to her and her sister, and how her family had suppressed it, but also to understand Rickey Langley—not to sympathize with him, as we discuss in this interview, but to understand what drove him to commit his crimes... and how his attempts to seek help before then had gone unanswered. During our conversation, she also described one of the long-term effects of her grandfather's molestation, h...

20 MIN2017 NOV 22
Comments
Life Stories #98: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Latest Episodes

Life Stories #107: Chavisa Woods

EChavisa Woods' 100 Times: A Memoir of Sexism is a book that, as our British friends say, does exactly what it says on the tin—chronicling 100 separate incidents of sexist behavior that Woods has faced in her lifetime, a pattern of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse (including sexual assault) that starts when she's five years old and continues to the present day. It's a patten that, I speculated, just about any woman should find instantly recognizable, to which Woods replied: "I keep saying a lot of memoirs are written because the author thinks it's an exceptional story. I actually felt like I needed to write this memoir because my story is not exceptional at all, and I wanted to show how pervasive sexism is in multiple spheres of society... I just wanted to show how pervasive it is everywhere and how it affects us constantly throughout our lives." We cover a lot of territory in this conversation, including how Woods used to adopt a violent response to sexual harassment—and the ...

27 MIN2019 AUG 5
Comments
Life Stories #107: Chavisa Woods

Life Stories #106: Rick Moody

In The Long Accomplishment, Rick Moody takes readers through the first year of his second marriage. It was a moment in time where he'd gained significant control over his addictions, and had extricated from a dysfunctional first marriage—a moment when, as I jokingly said during our conversation, "everything should be coming up Rick Moody." But it didn't go that way; instead, we have an account of a couple grappling with the financial and emotional tolls of fertility treatment, along with various other assaults from the outside world... and, as Moody describes it, a shutdown of his creative faculties so all-encompassing that, eventually, the only thing he could see himself writing about was what was happening to the two of them. We talked about how he was able to write about these events, and he made an insightful distinction between craft and candor&8212;whereas most of his career, including his first memoir, he'd been focused on craft, this time around he decided to go all in on t...

23 MIN2019 AUG 5
Comments
Life Stories #106: Rick Moody

Life Stories #105: Glen David Gold

EI first met Glen David Gold when he was on a reading tour for his second novel, Sunnyside, which happened to be the name of the neighborhood where I lived at the time; that wasn't the only reason we hit it off, but we did, and so I was excited when I found out he was publishing a memoir, I Will Be Complete. I spoke to him in the summer of 2018 about his family history, how he'd tried to deal with it by writing fiction in his twenties, and the path toward eventually finding the right literary structure through which to tell the story. One of the first things I mentioned is how perfectly it illustrated that famous Philip Larkin verse about what your parents do, which eventually brought us to a discussion of how some relationships simply can't be fixed. We also talked about how working on I Will Be Complete has made Glen a more confident writer, and the newly honed skills he's been able to take back to his fiction. Plus the story of how David Leavitt became his literary archnemesis, un...

29 MIN2018 DEC 19
Comments
Life Stories #105: Glen David Gold

Life Stories #104: Minna Zallman Proctor

I met with Minna Zallman Proctor a while back, shortly after the publication of Landslide, a collection of autobiographical essays that orbit around her relationship with her mother. One of the things we discussed was how circumspect she was in the portrayal of her own children, and that prompted me to say something about how we don't really know the author of a memoir or an autobiographical essay, that the "I" we read is a controlled, calibrated literary invention. Proctor challenged that assumption. "The book is, at best, a portrait of my brain," she told me, "of the way I think of things. In that sense, it's incredibly honest. I don't think that you can write a book like this without a degree of intimacy, a degree of candor and vulnerability—a great degree of those things—and I think that the vulnerability that I express in my personal essay writing... and sometimes my book reviews, too, for that matter... is in that I am laying it all out. This is the way my brain works."

23 MIN2018 JUL 27
Comments
Life Stories #104: Minna Zallman Proctor

Life Stories #103: Michelle Stevens

EI first met Michelle Stevens in 2014, back when I was an acquiring editor for a startup book publishing company. We took a meeting with her and her agent after reading the proposal for her book, which combined a memoir about surviving childhood sexual abuse with solid explanations of the psychology involved in the dissociative identity disorder that Stevens, among others, developed as a result of that protracted trauma. I was impressed by the proposal, and the meeting, but I wasn't the one who got to make those sorts of decisions, so we ended up passing on the book—fortunately, Scared Selfless wound up with a great publisher who was able to support the book in a way it deserved, so chances are that, sometime in 2017, you might have seen her in a magazine you were reading, or on a daytime talk show... Happily, she and I were able to keep in touch, so when she came to New York City to do some media, we were able to get together for a frank conversation about—among other things—what...

21 MIN2018 JUL 26
Comments
Life Stories #103: Michelle Stevens

Life Stories #102: Elizabeth W. Garber

EI spoke with Elizabeth W. Garber the Monday right after Father's Day, an apt time to be discussing her memoir, Implosion. It's a story about growing up in Cincinnati in the 1960s and early '70s in a glass house designed by her architect father—years that were so unsettling to live through that when Garber began speaking to her mother and her two brothers about the abuse they all endured, they initially refused to have anything to do with the topic. Which didn't exactly surprise her, because it was the last thing she ever intended to write about, either. During our conversation, Garber and I discussed how she had mentally and emotionally blocked out her father's most invasive and abusive behavior while it was happening, and about how friends and neighbors, and even her father's therapist, turned a blind eye to the blatant signs of his mental and emotional condition. We also discussed how her father's most famous project became a landmark metaphor for all the shortcomings of modernis...

23 MIN2018 JUL 25
Comments
Life Stories #102: Elizabeth W. Garber

Life Stories #101: David Hallberg

EI met David Hallberg at the midtown offices of the American Ballet Theater, where they'd set aside a conference room for us to talk about his new memoir, A Body of Work. It's about his relentless quest for perfection, from his earliest days as a ballet student in Arizona to his role as a principal dancer at ABT (and as the first American to hold a position of comparative stature at the Bolshoi's dance company). But it's also about realizing that, even though he thought he was pushing himself to the limit, he was really holding himself back—and about how a career-threatening injury drove him not just into physical therapy but into a complete overhaul of his emotional approach to his craft. As I was reading A Body of Work, I started thinking Jim Bouton's classic baseball memoir, Ball Four. Both books are by young men who've dedicated themselves to their field but find themselves coming face-to-face with the prospect of no longer being able to do the thing they love, far sooner than t...

24 MIN2017 DEC 18
Comments
Life Stories #101: David Hallberg

Life Stories #100: Kat Kinsman & Andrea Petersen

For the 100th episode of Life Stories, the podcast where I've been talking to memoir writers about their lives and the art of writing memoir, I wanted to do something special. So, in the spring of 2017, I sat down with Kat Kinsman, the author of Hi, Anxiety: Life with a Bad Case of Nerves, and Andrea Petersen, the author of On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety, for a wide-ranging discussion about their personal experiences with anxiety disorder, about maintaining their mental health while dealing with the pressures of their careers in the media industry—like, what does and doesn't work for them, and why it might or might not work for someone else suffering from anxiety—and about the battle that was then raging to protect our government health care programs. (A battle that we'll undoubtedly have to fight again before too long.) Sometimes it's hard to believe that it's been nearly six years since I uploaded my first Life Stories interview, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to have ...

46 MIN2017 DEC 7
Comments
Life Stories #100: Kat Kinsman & Andrea Petersen

Life Stories #99: Lauren Marks

ELauren Marks was an actress in her late twenties when she went to Edinburgh in 2007 to direct a friend's play in the city's annual Fringe Festival. One night, they went out to a bar, and she was in the midst of a karaoke number when an aneurysm in her brain burst. When she regained consciousness, her ability to communicate with the people around her was massively impaired. A Stitch of Time is the story of her recovery from that aphasia—which was so severe at one point that she lacked a conscious interior voice. There's a lot of personal story packed into Lauren's memoir, and into this conversation. We talk about her frustration at what felt like a parent's attempt to co-opt her "story," about her then-boyfriend's attempt to essentially treat her brain injury as an opportunity to "reboot" their relationship, and about how the injury forced her to fast-track a re-evaluation of her life that had already begun. As she explains, "It's not unusual for someone twenty-seven in New York to ...

41 MIN2017 DEC 2
Comments
Life Stories #99: Lauren Marks

Life Stories #98: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

When Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich was in law school, she did a summer internship at a Louisiana law firm. She was firmly against the death penalty, and then they asked if she would be prepared to work on the case of convicted child murderer Ricky Langley. Attempting to familiarize herself with the case, she was overwhelmed by memories of being molested by her grandfather—and though her career as a lawyer was pretty much over before it had even begun, her future as a writer was just beginning. In The Fact of a Body, Marzano-Lesnevich writes about her efforts not just to confront what had happened to her and her sister, and how her family had suppressed it, but also to understand Rickey Langley—not to sympathize with him, as we discuss in this interview, but to understand what drove him to commit his crimes... and how his attempts to seek help before then had gone unanswered. During our conversation, she also described one of the long-term effects of her grandfather's molestation, h...

20 MIN2017 NOV 22
Comments
Life Stories #98: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
success toast
Welcome to Himalaya LearningDozens of podcourses featuring over 100 experts are waiting for you.