19-06 Segment 2: The Written Word: A history of storytelling

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Throughout history, stories have been told but sometimes preserving them for future generations has proven difficult. We examine the ways stories have been passed down, and the role the written word has played in shaping our civilizations.

Guest:

  • Martin Puchner, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Harvard University, and author, The Written Word: The power of stories to shape people, history, and civilization

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18-08 Segment 2: Processing Unimaginable Grief

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While grief is an innate part of human life and something everybody experiences, the way in which people manage this grief is different. Some people choose to sulk, others choose to listen to music. But, Tom Malmquist, author of In Every Moment We Are Still Alive, chose to write a novel after the death of his partner to deal with the pain he was feeling. Through the novel, he was able to create something meaningful out of his grief.
Despite being based on real events, In Every Moment We Are Still Alive is not a memoir or an autobiography. Malmquist explains that he wrote this story as a novel because he made conscious decisions to include or add certain events, while leaving out others, and by choosing to focus more on some details than others. In sharing his grief in this novel, he hopes that other grieving people will read his book and realize that they are not alone. Listen in to hear Malmquist tell us more about his experiences with grief, and pick up a copy of his book.

Guest:

  • Tom Malmquist, author of In Every Moment We Are Still Alive

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Culture Crash 18-08: Culture Crash: A Father and Son Duo’s New Creepy Ghost Story

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

Parent-and-child bonds can be nurtured in countless ways. You may remember your dad picking you up from school every day or reading you bedtime stories. You may have a family business where your mother taught you the tools of the trade.

Maybe you’re like Richard and Billy Chizmar, a father and son duo from Maryland who set out to write a horror story together.

Billy Chizmar: “We’ve always just been like natural collaborators. We’ve been best friends for as long as I can remember and he’s been my coach in every sport I ever played. So just collaborating on that level was just natural just because we had so much experience working with one another”

p>That’s Billy, the son, who co-authored the novella Widow’s Point with his father, the author and publisher Richard Chizmar.

The novella tells the story of Thomas Livingston, an author on the paranormal who sets out to spend a weekend in a haunted lighthouse where gruesome deaths and ghost stories have never been in short supply.

Both Billy and Richard raved about the fun of scaring people and their love for the horror genre. The novella is even dedicated to Stephen King, the master of horror and also the Chizmar’s family friend.

Widow’s Point is a creepy story that will get under your skin and keep you up at night. But the father and son who masterminded the whole thing say writing it was a blast- made even more fun because they did it together.

Richard says one of his biggest joys was watching each of their sensibilities and writing styles combine to create something entirely new.

Richard Chizmar: “When I go back and look at it I can absolutely pick some spots that were me, I can pick some spots that are him, and then there’s some gray areas where I cannot remember who wrote this and I think that’s how it should be.  You know I think those lines should be blurred a little bit.”

Widow’s Point by Richard and Billy Chizmar is available now for purchase at CemetaryDance.com or as an ebook on Amazon.

 

I’m Evan Rook.

17-50 Segment 1: The Role of a Literary Editor

 

You see authors thank their editors all the time in the acknowledgements section of a book. But exactly what does an editor do? We talk to an editor himself who explains to us what an editor does to get the book from a manuscript to the finished copy on store shelves

Guest:

  • Peter Ginna, literary editor and author, What Editors Do

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Coming Up On Viewpoints Show 17-27

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What Big Data Can Teach Us About Ourselves

All of the websites we visit, things we search, and products we buy are logged in databases that can tell us a lot about modern people’s thoughts and behaviors. We talk to data analyst and author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz about some of the conclusions this big data can help us reach.

The Story of Apollo 8

Many of us know the stories of Apollo 11 and Apollo 13, but fewer know of Apollo 8, the first daring mission into the orbit of the moon. We discuss the mission that effectively ended the space race and set an important precedent that may have saved the lives of the astronauts on board Apollo 13.

17-22 Segment 2: From Fan to Collaborator: How Richard Chizmar wrote a novella with Stephen King

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Richard Chizmar is an author, publisher, and Stephen King fan. He joins the show to discuss his career, his process, and his opportunity to write a novella with one of the world’s biggest authors.

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Culture Crash 17-22: Stephen King’s Mastery of Storytelling

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture, what’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

On the dedication page before the novel It, Stephen King writes, “Kids, fiction is the truth inside the lie, and the truth of this fiction is simple enough: the magic exists.”

Horror has never been my thing, so growing up, I generally avoided Stephen King books. The extent of my knowledge of king was watching the Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me. Sure, and I love those movies but I thought they were the exception and that the rest of his catalogue was cheap thrills, monsters, and gore. But there’s a reason he’s one of the best-selling authors ever, and it’s not just chance.

Several years ago, I was finally brought fully into the world of Stephen King by my girlfriend and, more specifically, her father. Ignoring my distrust of horror media, I dipped my toes into the King library. I read Carrie and Salem’s Lot, then, I dove all the way in – Night Shift, It, The Stand, on and on.

Here’s what I discovered. First: there’s more to King than black cats and stormy nights. 11/22/63, The Green Mile, Joyland, Different Seasons, and many more of his works manage to be page-turning reads without being horror.

Even when he is writing horror, King writes deeply realized characters who we really care about. Yeah, he creates terrifying universes – in Christine, an evil car controls a high schooler, in The Shining, a hotel transforms a father into a monster, and in It, a clown hunts down children.

But when you get past the fantasy, you can see that they’re really parables: of addiction, of losing your innocence, and growing up and moving on. They’re scary, but they’re relatable. King writes about things we’ve all experienced. He just externalizes them as the boogeyman. It’s fiction. But like he said, fiction is the truth inside the lie.

Stephen King allows us to feel with his characters, get inside their heads, and understand what they’re thinking.

800-some pages into It, King writes: “maybe there aren’t any such things as good friends or bad friends- maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you’re hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they’re always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for.”

It’s passages like that where King really shines.

And that’s not so scary, right?

The magic exists.

I’m Evan Rook.