The GrottoPod Podcast: Writers on Writing
What it is: Writers crammed into a tiny studio at the largest writers’ collective on the West Coast. At the Grotto, more than one hundred writers share office space, a mailing list and lunch conversations about all manner of subjects. On the podcast, we chat with big players and up-and-comers alike, talking craft, process, narrative stuff of all kinds, and also cereal and other vital aspects of the writing life. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Michael Frank, author of the acclaimed new memoir The Mighty Franks, grew up in an unusual, “intertwined” family. He was swept up into the world of his childless aunt and uncle, a pair of prominent Hollywood screenwriters who helped create such films as Norma Rae and The Long, Hot Summer. They taught him about art, literature and culture — and that “fitting in is death.” Things got complicated, though, when he tried to establish some boundaries as a teenager. What were the costs of his coming-of-age? Find out this week on the GrottoPod.
To retreat or not to retreat? That is the question on this week’s special, guest-free episode of the GrottoPod. Join BQ and Larry as they engage in a spirited conversation about what makes writing retreats and conferences irresistible (BQ) or easily resistible and somewhat enigmatic (Larry) — and where writers of all kinds can go to find their community. Also, in a GrottoPod first, BQ gets bleeped.
How does a “typical Nigerian-Norse American girl” get from rural Washington State to Harvard, Thailand and then San Francisco? Faith Adiele, the product of Sunnyside, Washington’s “only mixed-race, Marxist anti-war family,” who became Thailand’s first black Buddhist nun, joins the GrottoPod this week to share the fantastical twists, turns and happy accidents that led her to become a celebrated memoirist (Finding Faith), filmmaker (My Journey Home), teacher and speaker.
You may not find working with inmates at San Quentin uplifting, but prominent tech journalist Yukari Kane does. This week Kane, a one-time Wall Street Journal reporter who wrote the definitive book on Apple after Steve Jobs, fills the GrottoPod with tales of health challenges, snap career decisions, suspicious sources, world tours and the genesis of her decision to teach at one of California’s most infamous prisons.
Todd Oppenheimer was an actor, a mime and a successful journalist who published in all the major magazines and won a National Magazine Award for Public Interest Reporting. But it wasn’t until he started his own publication, Craftsmanship Quarterly, that he found his life’s work. This week, Todd joins us in the GrottoPod to talk about his magazine, the Craftsmanship Initiative, his passion for craft and “working with your hands,” and the challenges of doing mime in Central Park with a young, untamable Robin Williams.
Missed an episode? View the show archives.
Larry Rosen is a writer, editor, columnist and podcaster whose career path has more twists than Dunkin’ Donuts’ day-old case. He’s worked for a variety of alt-weeklies including Seattle’s The Stranger and a diverse roster of others, including ESPN.com, Washington Law & Politics, AOL and the San Francisco Examiner. Since 2014, Rosen has founded and continues to co-host a podcast called (Is it) Good for the Jews?; worked diligently on short stories, a memoir and a novel; joined the Writers Grotto and become a regular columnist for J., the Jewish news weekly of Northern California. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, son (during breaks from college) and a short, dense, weird dog.
Bridget Quinn has been a grateful denizen of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto since 2011. Her book Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order) from Chronicle Books examines the lives, legacies and artworks of fifteen significant – and too often overlooked – women artists. Broad Strokes was named a Top 10 Spring 2017 Book in Memoirs/Biographies by Publishers Weekly.
Raised on the high plains of Montana with two sisters, six brothers, a devout mother and a WWII Marine-turned-lawyer father, in a home surrounded by cows and nuclear missile silos, today Bridget lives in San Francisco with her husband, two children, two dogs and an absurd number of bikes.
Sugartown is a Berkeley-based acoustic folk trio, heavy on the harmonies, light on the saccharine (and with a hefty dose of southern moonshine thrown in for good measure). Grotto writer Zoe FitzGerald Carter writes the band’s original tunes, sings and plays guitar. Brian Bloom is on lead guitar and vocals, and local jazz great Dan Seamans plays bass. Info about Sugartown’s upcoming gigs can be found on their Facebook page: SugartownCalifornia.