The Virtual Memories Show

George Prochnik rejoins the show to celebrate his new book, I Dream With Open Eyes: A Memoir About Reimagining Home (Counterpoint Press). We get into his family's decision after the 2016 election to leave America, how his book complements his wife Rebecca Mead's memoir about their move to the UK, the performative & symbolic aspects of their decision, the work of culture, and how it felt to write about the present moment for the first time. We talk about American exceptionalism, the nature of exile & self-exile, the centrality of Freud to different branches of his family, and why he decided to write about the nature of working as a writer and trying to get by as an artist in NYC. We also discuss the apocalyptic nature of our era, how the power of ignorance is stronger than power of knowledge, how we can recuperate the unknown as a space of possibility, and the warnings of two of his past literary subjects, Stefan Zweig and Gershom Scholem. Follow George on Twitter and Instagram, although he doesn't actually post at either very much • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_506_-_George_Prochnik.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:25am EDT

Author Richard Butner joins the show to celebrate his marvelous first book, The Adventurists and Other Stories (Small Beer Press). We get into the F&SF story that started him on the writing path, his love of the Fantastic in fiction, his background in engineering & how he has to throw it out the window when it comes to writing, and the theme of return that runs through his stories and the unfinished business it implies. We also talk about his history with Sycamore Hill Writers Workshop & how he ended up running it, how critiquing others' stories can teach you more than having your own work critiqued, and his love of the short story as a form. Plus we discuss writing & performing theater and how he balances that collaborative art with the solo process of writing, his experience in immersive theater, the impact of Kurt Cobain's suicide on him & his friends, my observation that changed the way he sees his stories, and a lot more. Follow Richard on Twitter and Instagram • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_505_-_Richard_Butner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:51pm EDT

Author & architecture critic Eva Hagberg rejoins the show to celebrate her new book, WHEN EERO MET HIS MATCH: Aline Louchheim Saarinen and the Making of an Architect (Princeton University Press). We get into how Aline built the narrative around Eero Saarinen’s greatest buildings, her pivotal role in shaping the way we — media, laypeople, and critics — talk about architecture, and how publicity has been intertwined to architecture ever since. We also talk about how Eva’s own career in architecture PR is woven through the book, why her original title was What Would Aline Do?, the moment she realized Aline & Eero’s correspondence was Ph.D. thesis-worthy, and the notion of legacy and the ego of architects. Plus, Eva being Eva, we get into oversharing, divorce, IVF, the VERY impending birth of her first child, and more! Follow Eva on Twitter and Instagram, and listen to our 2019 conversation • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_504_-_Eva_Hagberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:36am EDT

Author & showrunner Jonathan Ames returns to the show to celebrate his new novel, The Wheel Of Doll (Mulholland Books)! We get into how Lee Child inadvertently led him into writing about a down-on-his-luck PI named Happy Doll, how this new book builds on 2021's A Man Called Doll, his love of crime/mystery fiction and what he's learned about the form from re-re-re-reading masters like Richard Stark/Donald Westlake. We also talk about the Buddhist influences in The Wheel Of Doll (& in Jonathan's life), whether people can change, why he tweaked Happy's LA setting to mess with reality a little, and what it means to set a character along a new path (if not the Eightfold Noble Path). Plus, we discuss his recent binge-watch of Vikings, the principle of Engagementism, his writing advice (set reasonable goals), and plenty more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal

Direct download: Episode_503_-_Jonathan_Ames.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58am EDT