Life Stories #101: David Hallberg

Life Stories: David Hallberg

I met David Hallberg at the midtown offices of the American Ballet Theater, where they’d set aside a conference room for us to talk about his new memoir, A Body of Work. It’s about his relentless quest for perfection, from his earliest days as a ballet student in Arizona to his role as a principal dancer at ABT (and as the first American to hold a position of comparative stature at the Bolshoi’s dance company). But it’s also about realizing that, even though he thought he was pushing himself to the limit, he was really holding himself back—and about how a career-threatening injury drove him not just into physical therapy but into a complete overhaul of his emotional approach to his craft.

As I was reading A Body of Work, I started thinking Jim Bouton’s classic baseball memoir, Ball Four. Both books are by young men who’ve dedicated themselves to their field but find themselves coming face-to-face with the prospect of no longer being able to do the thing they love, far sooner than they’d ever anticipated. Fortunately, Hallberg was able to make the comeback, and as this episode goes online he’s approaching the first anniversary of his return to the stage.

Listen to Life Stories #101: David Hallberg (MP3 file); or download this file by right-clicking (Mac users, option-click). Or subscribe to Life Stories in iTunes, where you can catch up with earlier episodes and be alerted whenever a new one is released. (If you’re already an iTunes subscriber, please consider rating and reviewing the podcast!)

photo: Bjorn Iooss

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18 December 2017 | life stories |

Life Stories #100: Kat Kinsman & Andrea Petersen

Life Stories: Andrea Petersen & Kat Kinsman

For the 100th episode of Life Stories, the podcast where I’ve been talking to memoir writers about their lives and the art of writing memoir, I wanted to do something special. So, in the spring of 2017, I sat down with Kat Kinsman, the author of Hi, Anxiety: Life with a Bad Case of Nerves, and Andrea Petersen, the author of On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety, for a wide-ranging discussion about their personal experiences with anxiety disorder, about maintaining their mental health while dealing with the pressures of their careers in the media industry—like, what does and doesn’t work for them, and why it might or might not work for someone else suffering from anxiety—and about the battle that was then raging to protect our government health care programs. (A battle that we’ll undoubtedly have to fight again before too long.)

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly six years since I uploaded my first Life Stories interview, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have talked to so many fascinating people about their experiences, and about how they’ve striven to communicate their experiences to others. There’s several more interviews already in the pipeline, and while the schedule has been somewhat erratic at times, I’m hoping to establish a steady rhythm in 2018. I hope you’ll continue to join me for those conversations!

Listen to Life Stories #100: Kat Kinsman & Andrea Petersen (MP3 file); or download this file by right-clicking (Mac users, option-click). Or subscribe to Life Stories in iTunes, where you can catch up with earlier episodes and be alerted whenever a new one is released. (If you’re already an iTunes subscriber, please consider rating and reviewing the podcast!)

photos: Marc Goldberg Photography, Jeremy Freeman/CNN

7 December 2017 | life stories |

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