Life Stories #48: Patty Chang Anker

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Life Stories: Patty Chang Anker
photo: Alison Sheehy

In this episode of Life Stories, I reunited with an old friend, Patty Chang Anker, to talk about her memoir, Some Nerve, in which she recounts her effort to face some of her most basic fears—and to reach out to other people who are confronting fears of their own. It didn’t get off to such a great start—confronting her terror of swimming in the open water, she got slammed by an ocean wave and broke a foot—but eventually she found herself surfing on Lake Michigan in the winter and getting in a car with a woman who hadn’t driven in 20 years since she got into an accident her second time behind the wheel.

As I mentioned, Patty’s an old friend, who I met back when she was a book publicist, and so we talked a bit about how, after years of helping other writers face the media and the public, she’s on the other side of the fence now:

“It takes a lot of courage to go out there and feel like you have a story that is worth people’s time, that you feel like you want to take up their valuable time and share a piece of yourself with them, come what may—whether they like it or not. I think most of us don’t want to feel criticized; we want to be embraced and accepted, and when you put yourself out there, you never know exactly what’s going to happen.

“I have always felt passionate about the importance of storytelling, and the importance of connecting with people and sharing ideas. I just feel like we’re put on this earth to connect with each other. Writing is one way of doing it, and speaking is a way of doing it. I just feel like there’s so much competition now for people’s attention that you can’t just rely on your written words alone to reach people. If you have an opportunity to do a radio show, or to stand up and talk to people in your workplace or your church or a bookstore, you should take it, because otherwise you’re choosing to be smaller with your message rather than reaching people.”

Listen to Life Stories #48: Patty Chang Anker (MP3 file); or download this file directly by right-clicking (Mac users, option-click). You can also subscribe to Life Stories in iTunes, where you can catch up with earlier episodes and be alerted whenever a new one is released. (And if you are an iTunes subscriber, please consider rating and reviewing the podcast!)

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23 October 2013 | life stories |