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Tag: memoir

Lisa Wells in Conversation With Lydia Millet

Like many of us, Lisa Wells has spent years overwhelmed by news of apocalyptic-scale climate change and a coming sixth extinction. She did not need to be convinced of the stakes. But what can be done? Wells embarked on a pilgrimage, seeking answers in dedicated communities — outcasts and visionaries — on the margins of society. Wells meets Finisia Medrano, an itinerant planter and misanthrope leading a group of nomadic activists to rewild the American desert. She finds a group of environmentalist Christians practicing “watershed discipleship” in New Mexico; another group in Philadelphia turning the tools of violence into tools of farming — guns into plowshares. She watches the world’s greatest tracker teach how to read a trail, and visits botanists who are restoring land…

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Daisy Hernández in Conversation With Amy Stewart

Growing up in a New Jersey factory town in the 1980s, Daisy Hernández believed that her aunt had become deathly ill from eating an apple. No one in her family, in either the United States or Colombia, spoke of infectious diseases, and even into her thirties, she only knew that her aunt had died of a rare illness called Chagas. But as Hernández dug deeper, she discovered that Chagas — or the kissing bug disease — is more prevalent in the United States than the Zika virus. Today, more than 300,000 Americans have Chagas. Why do some infectious diseases make headlines and others fall by the wayside? After her aunt’s death, Hernández begins searching for answers about who our nation chooses to take care of…

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Trystan Reese in Conversation With Andrew Solomon

When Trystan Reese was just a year into his relationship with Biff (now his husband), the couple learned that Biff’s niece and nephew were about to be removed from their home by Child Protective Services. Immediately, Trystan and Biff took in one-year-old Hailey and three-year-old Lucas, becoming caregivers overnight to two tiny survivors of abuse and neglect. From this surprising start, Trystan and Biff built a loving marriage and happy home — learning to parent on the job. They adopted Hailey and Lucas, and soon decided to grow their family biologically with a child that Trystan, who is transgender, would carry. Trystan’s groundbreaking pregnancy attracted media fanfare, and the family welcomed baby Leo in 2017. In How We Do Family: From Adoption to Trans Pregnancy,…

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Daniel Barbarisi in Conversation With Jason Gay

Daniel Barbarisi’s Chasing the Thrill (Knopf) is a full-throttle, first-person account of the treasure hunt created by eccentric millionaire art dealer — and, some would say, robber baron — Forrest Fenn that became the stuff of contemporary legend. When Fenn was given a fatal cancer diagnosis, he came up with a bold plan: He would hide a chest full of jewels and gold in the wilderness, and publish a poem that would serve as a map leading to the treasure’s secret location. But he didn’t die, and after hiding the treasure in 2010, Fenn instead presided over a decade-long gold rush that saw many thousands of treasure hunters scrambling across the Rocky Mountains in pursuit of his fortune. Barbarisi first learned of Fenn’s hunt in…

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Jonathan Taplin in Conversation With Robbie Robertson

Jonathan Taplin’s extraordinary journey has put him at the crest of every major cultural wave in the past half century: he was tour manager for Bob Dylan and the Band in the ’60s, producer of major films in the ’70s, an executive at Merrill Lynch in the ’80s, creator of the Internet’s first video-on-demand service in the ’90s, and a cultural critic and author writing about technology in the new millennium. His is a lifetime marked not only by good timing but by impeccable instincts — from the folk scene to Woodstock, Hollywood’s rebellious film movement, and beyond. Taplin is not just a witness but a lifelong producer, the right-hand man to some of the greatest talents of both pop culture and the underground. With…

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Craft Conversations: Place: Setting Down Roots

Everything that happens in our lives and in our stories happens somewhere. Setting is a building block of fiction and memoir. During this discussion and workshop we will take a thorough look at how to build a vibrant and invigorating setting. Be it the cereal aisle of a grocery store, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, a classroom, or in bed at night—settings are opportunities to reveal character, heighten theme, and create tone. Through writing examples, prompts and ample discussion, you will leave this workshop with a firmer grip on how to enliven your work with setting, specifically: How the right detail can activate a setting How setting reflects/reveals interiority and puts pressure on our characters (even when the character is you!) How place can trigger…

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Joseph Fink & Meg Bashwiner in Conversation With Symphony Sanders

The First Ten Years: Two Sides of the Same Love Story (Harper Perennial) is the sometimes hilarious, occasionally heartbreaking, and always entertaining joint memoir by Joseph Fink, cocreator of Welcome to Night Vale, and his wife, writer and performer Meg Bashwiner, chronicling the first 10 years of their relationship from both sides. In 2009, 22-year-old Joseph, newly arrived to New York City from the West Coast, was juggling odd jobs to pay the rent and volunteering with a theater company in the East Village so he could snag free tickets to their shows. Meg, a 22-year-old aspiring performer and playwright, was living with her parents in New Jersey, working a desk job and commuting to her internship with that same East Village theater company. Joseph’s…

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Whitney Otto, Art for the Ladylike

We are so thrilled to be (virtually) hosting Portland author Whitney Otto with her new book Art for the Ladylike, published by Mad Creek Books. In this inviting blend of biography and memoir, Otto examines her life in terms of the women artists who influenced her, asking, “Is there any social effect when a woman is explicit in her observing?” She limns the lives of eight pioneering women photographers—Sally Mann, Imogen Cunningham, Judy Dater, Ruth Orkin, Tina Modotti, Lee Miller, Madame Yvonne, and Grete Stern— to in turn excavate her own writer’s life. The result is an affecting exploration of what it means to be a woman, what it means to be an artist, and the perils and rewards of being both at once. In…

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Book Launch: “Don’t Be Sad When I’m Gone” by Beatriz Dujovne

Beatriz will be reading excerpts of her memoir. In this book all human emotions deserve a place of honor: life, death, morning, love, happiness, anger… The author’s American and Argentine cultures, the chronological time and Kairos, the more human time, reality and fantasy, are intertwined from Introduction to the Epilogue. We follow her to Buenos Aires from her present home in Portland, where she journeys to rekindle her life after the death of her life long husband. We partake in her internal and external experiences: those special spots where her love affair with him bloomed and took hold, her psychotherapy sessions with an Argentine psychoanalyst, the life force of the metropolis itself, and the warmth of its habitants. And we also witness how all these…

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Wordplay Festival: West x Midwest Present Alison Bechdel in Conversation with Cheryl Strayed

Join The Loft’s virtual Wordplay Festival for a conversation between Alison Bechdel and Cheryl Strayed about Bechdel’s new graphic memoir, The Secret to Superhuman Strength. The long and complicated history of workout crazes in the US—from the Thighmaster, to Nordictrack, to Peloton and Soul Cycle—have created a culture that chases fads over facts. And Alison Bechdel, iconic, award-winning graphic memoirst, has not been immune to the promises. But in her quest for superhuman strength, Bechdel’s journey leads her to another muscle: the heart. And then turns towards the ultimate flex: letting her brain guide her. Join her and fellow soul-seeker Cheryl Strayed as they discuss Bechdel’s latest graphic memoir. In partnership with Literary Arts (Portland, OR), The Loft (Minneapolis, MN), Black Mountain Institute (Las Vegas, NV),…

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