Orion podcast, Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Retro Renovation

I thought I’d post a link to Orion‘s podcast for the March/April issue. Here’s a summary of what you’ll hear: “Orion editors Jennifer Sahn, Andrew Blechman, and Hannah Fries discuss the March/April 2012 issue of Orion, including the first of a two-part essay by James Gustave Speth about the disappearing American Dream and how things have gotten so bad in Washington; Belle Boggs’s poignant memoir about infertility; Amy Leach’s delightfully whimsical essay about panda bears; Steven Kotler’s humorous investigation into ecopsychology; poetry in the issue; and an introduction to a very unusual project (“Take a Closer Listen”) creatively displayed in this issue of Orion.”

Click here to listen, or here to read my essay and join the discussion.

Also, if you follow Orion on Twitter, you might have learned that the planet Mars will be bright in the east tonight–the brightest this year. (I’m not on Twitter, but sometimes I browse around to follow VCU basketball or see what Richard is up to.)

And speaking of, inspired by my post about our yard, Richard sent me this link to a story about Bonnie Jo Campbell’s “swamp house” kitchen renovation (on the blog Retro Renovation), which she waited 24 years to tackle. In the accompanying interview, she talks about the importance of living modestly if you want to write:

I always tell my students that if they are serious about writing that they should live in a very modest house and try to keep expenses low so that they don’t have to work themselves too hard to pay the mortgage. They think I’m kidding, but I’m not. It’s very hard to make time to write in any case, and so if there’s a way to spend less time earning a living, then follow that way. I also am honest when I say that my poor housekeeping is part of the plan.  I can have a clean, well-kept house or I can get books written, not both.

I asked my creative writing students, who all want careers as artists, if they were willing to live frugally, even to be poor. They all said “yes!” very eagerly. I actually believe them; it’s hard to picture any of them growing up to become investment bankers, or even regular bankers. I did not encourage them to neglect their chores, though.

(pictured above: sunset at my house)

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