S1 Ep17: Randall Goodgame

Randall Goodgame is the creator of Slugs & Bugs, a family music and entertainment brand that includes eight albums, two books, and now a television show. It starts streaming on September 27. In this episode, Randall and Jonathan talk about the truth-telling of a childhood perspective, the relationship between silliness and sincerity, collaboration, and the sticking to one’s vision even when the other people in the room know more than you do.

Preorder the Slugs and Bugs TV Show.

Writers who make Randall want to write:

  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Kate DiCamillo
  • Maurice Sendak

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S1 Ep16: Rebecca Reynolds

Rebecca Reynolds is the author of Courage, Dear Heart: Letters to a Weary World. She is currently “transposing” Spenser’s Faerie Queene for a 21st-century audience. In this episode, Jonathan and Rebecca use the trinitarian paradigm of Dorothy Sayers’ Mind of the Maker (Idea, Energy, Power) to discuss the multitude of influences that together make an artist’s voice, then apply this wisdom with excellent practical advice on how we can better know and tend to our own creativity.

To see Rebecca’s diagrams on general and particular inspiration and the energy cycle, click here. 

Writers who make Rebecca want to write:

  • Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Wendell Berry
  • T.S. Eliot
  • George Herbert and John Donne
  • Nature

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S1 Ep15: Mark Meynell

Mark Meynell has done a lot of thinking about civility and cynicism and the writer’s responsibility not just to win arguments, but to tell the truth. In this episode, Jonathan and Mark discuss the practice of generosity involved in both writing and reading, the virtues and vices of rhetoric, and how fiction and nonfiction persuade us in different ways.

Writers who make Mark want to write:

  • Graham Greene
  • John LeCarre
  • Elizabeth Strout

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S1 Ep14: Jessica Hooten Wilson

Dr. Jessica Hooten Wilson, Associate Professor of English at John Brown University, is currently preparing the unfinished manuscript of Flannery O’Connor’s last novel for publication. In this episode, Jonathan and Jessica geek out about Flannery O’Connor, exchange strategies for balancing academic writing and fiction, and discuss how reading poetry has made Jessica a better writer. 

Writers who make Jessica Hooten Wilson want to write:

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S1 Ep13: Mary Laura Philpot

Mary Laura Philpott is the author of I Miss You When I Blink, a nationally bestselling memoir-in-essays. Her writing also appears in publications including The New York Times, The Paris Review Daily, The Washington Post, O The Oprah Magazine, and others. In this episode, Jonathan and Mary Laura talk about the unexpected correlations between perfectionism and humor, the fascinating question “Who were you before you wondered who you were?” 

Mentioned in this episode:
Jerry Seinfeld: How to Write a Joke

Writers who make Mary Laura want to write:

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S1 Ep12: Joseph Patton

Joseph Patton is a staff songwriter at Sony/ATV Music Publishing on Nashville’s Music Row. In this episode, Jonathan and Joseph talk about what happens in Music Row writing rooms, the difference between songs that help people remember and songs that help people forget, and the tensions between commercialism and “loving thy listener.”

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S1 Ep11: Karen Swallow Prior

Karen Swallow Prior is the author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books. In this episode she talks with Jonathan about the instructive power of fictional worlds to shed light on our own, how fiction can teach us to love our enemies, and joy as a courageous act of imagination.

Mentioned in this episode:

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S1 Ep10: Shawn Smucker

Shawn Smucker is the author of Light from Distant Stars (among other books). In this episode, Jonathan and Shawn discuss the nitty gritty of Shawn’s writing habits, the unique challenges and rewards of ghostwriting, and how Shawn goes about encouraging and upholding creativity with his family at home.

Mentioned in this episode: Ira Glass on the creative process (2 min. video)

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S1 Ep9: Kristy Dempsey

Jonathan and Kristy talk about her new book Papa Put a Man on the Moon (written in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing), the process of writing and publishing picture books, the difference between “sweetie pies” and “smart alecks” in character arcs, and her own family’s proximity to the moon landing itself.

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