On today’s show I’m speaking with writer Tanya Ward Goodman, author of Leaving Tinkertown. Our conversation examines how she uses her writing practice, which she likens to the process of composting, to learn her mind and understand experience. We discuss how the experience of taking care of her father during his decline from early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which she chronicles in Leaving Tinkertown, allowed her to develop her own identity and question deeply held beliefs. Tanya also talks about what the experience of caring for her father during his illness and death taught her about what it means to live well.
Writer and visual artist Chris Rice talks about growing up on the road, traveling between the Bible Belt and Southern California as the oldest of nine children and caretaker of her younger siblings. Witness to the legacy of epigenetic trauma and suffering, Chris became an outsider and observer of the imagined lives she might inhabit in the future. Chris also talks about the healing power of love and the importance of community to protect and foster the vulnerable.
Elizabeth Aquino is writer, disability advocate, and pastry chef. Elizabeth talks about the struggle to understand her own identity as separate from that of her now 22-year-old daughter, Sophie, who is profoundly disabled, as well as how the style in which she writes reflects this fragmentation of identity. Elizabeth also talks about the importance of creativity, what it means to give care to someone until one of you dies, and the questions that this caregiving raises about the value of a life and what it means to be human.
Cassandra Austin is an Australian writer and author of two novels who lives in Los Angeles. Our conversation explores how the profound sense of alienation that Cassandra experienced upon moving from the land with which she closely identifies has shaped her writing and helped her to develop her craft even while she struggled personally. Cassandra also talks about why she considers herself an Australian writer and how she discovered that writing time is more important to her than writing space.
Catherine Temma Davidson is a novelist, essayist, poet, and teacher of writing who grew up in Los Angeles and settled in London. Our conversation delves into Catherine’s creative process as well as her exploration of how culture shapes one’s worldview and what happens when we cross cultures. Catherine talks about the multicultural environment in which she was raised, her comfort with the “mixed mezze” approach, and why it is that she feels more Californian living in London than she ever did while she was living in the United States. Catherine also gives us a glimpse into the autobiographical novel on which she is currently working and discusses why—in the aftermath of Brexit—she has come to feel more connected to a larger community in England.