Life Stories #90: Barbara Schoichet

Life Stories: Barbara Shoichet

Barbara Schoichet got hit with a triple whammy just before her fiftieth birthday—she lost her job at a movie studio in Los Angeles, her girlfriend left her, and then her mother died. Don’t Think Twice is the story of how she pushed back against all that by learning to ride a motorcycle, then flying out to New York to buy a Harley Davidson and ride it back home across the country. Almost immediately, she got first-hand experience of the camaraderie that exists between Harley drivers, through random acts of kindness on the road… and that was something she wasn’t entirely prepared for:

“To be honest with you, I kinda had a death wish. I didn’t care whether I came back. I just wanted to divert my mind from all that was going on in my life. And one of the best ways to divert grief is to focus on something else. I focused on staying alive. It’s interesting, because I had a death wish, but I was really searching for a life wish. I mean, the great thing about this trip was all I had to think about was staying upright and getting to the next town I was going to stop at, and looking at every nook and cranny in the road, making sure I didn’t hit something. It really healed me, because by the time I got back, I thought I could do anything.”

Listen to Life Stories #90: Barbara Schoichet (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. (And if you are an iTunes subscriber, please consider rating and reviewing the podcast!)

photo: Nancy Borowick

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2 May 2017 | life stories |

Life Stories #89: Jamie Brickhouse

Jamie Brickhouse

I’ve known Jamie Brickhouse for a long time; in his former life as a book publicist, he was someone to whom I’d frequently reach out when I wanted to talk to… well, people like him in his current life as the author of Dangerous When Wet, “a memoir of booze, sex, and my mother,” as the subtitle sums it up. So, among the many other things we talk about in this episode, we discuss how the publishing industry was a place where he was able to hide his alcoholism in plain sight for a long time—and, too, how knowing how hard it is to get attention for a good book didn’t deter him from writing with an eye to publication. We also talk about his recent efforts converting Dangerous When Wet into a one-man show, which he’s performing at the 2017 FRIGID Festival in New York in late February and early March:

“I didn’t know that there was this whole storytelling world. All I knew about was The Moth, I’d heard about this thing called The Moth, and a friend of mine who’d done it and won a bunch of their story slams took me a couple years ago. And so I started performing at The Moth… and it opened up this whole world of storytelling. There were all these different shows and venues around town and around the country. So I started adapting stories from the book while I was writing it, and then after it was published, and performing them until I had enough that I could put together for a show…”

For FRIGID, Jamie had to get the show down to a tight hour. “Writing the book, of course, taught me about editing and cutting and trimming material; especially when you write a memoir, you have the burden of too much information and you really have to be like a French chef, making a reduction sauce. And that’s what it really felt like turning a 271-page book into a sixty-minute show. So I really had to reduce it to those three things: booze, sex, and my mother.” So there’s a lot of stories in the book that aren’t in the show—and that, even in a slightly longer conversation than usual, we didn’t get a chance to touch upon. You’ll just have to read the book to find out about them!

Listen to Life Stories #89: Jamie Brickhouse (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. (And if you are an iTunes subscriber, please consider rating and reviewing the podcast!)

photo courtesy Jamie Brickhouse

22 February 2017 | life stories |

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