Episode 53: Julie Lythcott-Haims On Late-Career Blockbuster Success

Julie Lythcott-Haims

Julie Lythcott-Haims

Many authors come to writing later in life, but few make the kind of splash Julie Lythcott-Haims did. She was a Dean at Stanford (and, before that, an attorney) when she quit to pursue an MFA in her 40s. Flash forward, and she is now the author of two successful books: the anti-helicopter parenting manifesto How to Raise an Adult, and her new memoir on race, Real American. Lythcott-Haims joins us on the GrottoPod this week to discuss her journey, her strategies as a writer, her family and her feelings about overparenting. Don’t miss her at Babylon Salon in San Francisco on Saturday, March 3.

Episode 52: Ben Marks On Bringing History to Life

Ben Marks

Ben Marks

Ben Marks, the general manager of Collectors Weekly, brings his colorful backstory to the GrottoPod on this week’s episode. Join us as we trace his wanderings from a childhood in San Rafael to a career that has included working on a lobster boat in Maine, co-owning a restaurant in Seattle, making it as a writer in Los Angeles, landing a cushy job at Sunset magazine, and finally coming to the Grotto, where he and two colleagues produce an online magazine dedicated to deep dives into backstories as colorful as his own.

Episode 51: Dennis McNally, Scribe to the Grateful Dead

Dennis McNally

Dennis McNally

Some people want to meet their heroes; writer/historian Dennis McNally made a career out of meeting his. Already the author of the definitive Beat biography, Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation and America, his life changed when he met with Jerry Garcia in 1980. He became the Grateful Dead’s biographer, and then a few years later the band’s publicist, a role he held for more than a decade. He came away from the experience with another book, A Long, Strange Trip: The Inside Story of the Grateful Dead, and too many stories to for a one-hour podcast. Join us this week as McNally shares some of his adventures in rock and roll and academia and recounts his own long, strange trip from military brat to chronicler of American Bohemia.

Episode 50: Mary Ladd On How Cancer Changed Her Writing

Mary Ladd

Mary Ladd

Writer Mary Ladd was carving out a niche for herself as a San Francisco food and nightlife scribe when she ran headlong into a diagnosis of breast cancer. Looking ahead to a long road of treatment, illness, fear and a concerned husband and small child, she chose to tackle the crisis with humor. This week, on the eve of her “nipple launch” party, Ladd joins BQ and Larry to discuss how cancer changed her writing and her approach to freelancing, and how facing the worst sometimes brings out the best. She’s currently shopping her book The Wig Report, illustrated by Don Asmussen, based on her blog of the same name. Keep an eye out for it.

 

Episode 49: Maw Shein Win, Poet Laureate of El Cerrito

Maw Shein Win

Maw Shein Win

Maw Shein Win is the place where punk and poetry meet. Win is a prolific poet — and the poet laureate for the Bay Area city of El Cerrito. She’s also the former percussionist, along with Mark Dutcher, for Los Angeles post-punk band Pearls Before Swine. She joins us on the GrottoPod this week for a wide-ranging conversation that touches on the many shades of her colorful life, including her long career as an educator, her ongoing collaborations with artists and musicians, her new collection of poems and her experiments with New Wave hairdos during the 1980s. Check out her most recent chapbook, Score and Bone, on Nomadic Press, and her upcoming full-length collection, Invisible Gifts: Poems, on Manic D Press in April. Her launch will be at City Lights Books April 10.

Episode 48: Larry & BQ On Managing Your Writing Career

Bridget Quinn and Larry Rosen

Bridget Quinn and Larry Rosen.

What’s your New Year’s resolution? Does it have something to do with writing? Do you want to write and publish more (or less)? Ease into the new year — and your literary resolutions — with Larry and BQ, who toss around some thoughts about how to approach writing, how to keep yourself in the flow and how to manage your writing career.

Episode 47: Po Bronson & Ethan Watters On Starting a Writers Collective

Po Bronson and Ethan Watters.

Po Bronson and Ethan Watters

For next “best of” GrottoPod episode we return to our roots — and the San Francisco Writers Grotto’s roots — with guests Po Bronson and Ethan Watters. The Grotto co-founders joined us for GrottoPod Episode 2 to discuss the Grotto’s humble beginnings and subsequent growth, tracing a path that traverses more than two decades from a rickety Victorian home to an abandoned pet hospital, and finally, to the present-day Grotto, 100-plus members strong and a fixture of the Bay Area literary community. If you missed this stellar conversation the first time around, now’s your chance to dig into it.

Episode 46: Lee Kravetz’s ‘Strange Contagion’ Takes Off

Lee Kravetz

Lee Kravetz

This week, we travel back in time to visit with GrottoPod producer Lee Kravetz as he anticipates the release of his second book, Strange Contagion, last Juneand then return to the present as Lee recaps the mania of his past six months. He talks about endless touring and his efforts to raise awareness of social contagions and their impact. He also shares a few thoughts on finding a renewed enthusiasm about writing — and Hanukkah leather jackets. Yep, they’re a thing.

Episode 45: Shanthi Sekaran’s ‘Lucky’ Year

Shanthi Sekaran

Shanthi Sekaran

2017 has been quite a year for our inaugural GrottoPod guest, Shanthi Sekeran. Her novel, Lucky Boy, has been named to several “best of” lists, including NPR’s Best Books of 2017, and she’s travelled far and wide — from Nashville to Honolulu to Edinburgh — for readings. In November, Eva Longoria’s production company announced it is developing Lucky Boy as a television series for Universal TV, to be adapted by David Schooner (Do No Harm) and directed by Nisa Ganatra (Transparent, Dear White People). All of this was ahead of her way back in February, though, when she agreed to be the first GrottoPod guest. Travel back in time with us to revisit that day when Shanthi stepped into our tiny studio to discuss expectations for her then-new book, motherhood and the challenges presented by both.

Episode 44: Guinevere de la Mare’s ‘Love Letter to Reading’

Guinevere de la Mare

Guinevere de la Mare

Guinevere de la Mare, author of I’d Rather Be Reading, calls the compilation of art and essays “a love letter to reading.” De la Mare’s life-long love of reading led her to create the Silent Book Club, a “happy hour for introverts” that now has chapters in more than 50 cities worldwide. Listen in as Guinevere explains how a kindergarten rebellion kicked off her love of reading, how her two-year-old indirectly contributed to the birth of the Silent Book Club, how to say “Captain Underpants” in Italian and how to treasure reading in an age of shrinking attention spans.