Life Stories #79: Molly Wizenberg

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Life Stories: Molly Wizenberg
photo: Kyle Johnson

When Molly Wizenberg’s husband told her that he wanted to open a New York-style pizzeria in Seattle, she encouraged him—even though, as she explains in this episode of Life Stories, the podcast where I interview memoir writers about their lives and the art of writing memoir, she wasn’t convinced his plan would come to fruition. In Delancey, she tells the story of how it all came together, including what happened when her doubts finally came out in the open, and how she wound up becoming a full partner in the project—and so we talked about the point at which she realized that this was going to be the subject of her second memoir (following A Homemade Life:

“As Brandon was building it, and as the process began to switch from ‘my husband is opening a restaurant’ to ‘we are opening a restaurant,’ I started to realize that there was a story there. I didn’t really know what the story was yet, but it was there. And also, as soon as I could begin to get some distance from it, I could see that it was really funny. The things that we did, the mistakes that we made, the things that happened to us were not at all funny at the time, but in retrospect, it was a really funny story.

I wanted to figure out how to tell it both so that I could remember it and also so that I could understand the trajectory that our lives were headed in. Writing helps me understand my own life; it helps me see the throughline in my own life… Writing Delancey, when I started, I didn’t know how the book was going to end, and that was because I had to figure out the story as I went along.”

(By all accounts, Delancey the restaurant has turned out really well, and I’m looking forward to visiting it the next time I’m in Seattle…)

Listen to Life Stories #79: Molly Wizenberg (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!)

3 August 2014 | life stories |

Life Stories #78: Jen Doll

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Life Stories: Jen Doll
photo: Sarah Shatz

In this episode of Life Stories, the podcast where I interview memoir writers about their lives and the art of writing memoir, Jen Doll talks about her experiences as a serial wedding guest, as recounted in her memoir Save the Date. So we discussed how she came up with the idea of writing a book around (some of) the weddings she’s attended, what it’s like periodically reuniting with the same friends—and, in one case, former friend, how our parents’ relationships shape our personal concepts of marriage, and, as long as we’re telling wedding stories, which ones are the most embarrassing:

“I think the most really sad embarrassing thing that I’ve done has been allowing my stubbornness and immaturity create a situation where a relationship couldn’t be regained [with the former friend she'd run into at several weddings]… You know, I don’t actually think that I was wrong, just like I don’t think she was wrong, but I wish that I’d handled it differently. And so it’s embarrassing to think back about those weddings and think, ‘Yeah, you kinda drank too much and you end up puking and screaming at someone…’ That’s pretty awful.

On the other side of that—I think this is a more funny embarrassing moment, because all was forgiven and my friends now think of it as a funny story… It’s the moment where I threw my shoes down the road because I refused to leave a party and it sounds horrible, but it also now is the stuff of legend in my friend group, and the bride and groom think it’s really funny. So, I feel better about that, even though I wish I hadn’t done it.”

Listen to Life Stories #78: Jen Doll (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!)

2 August 2014 | life stories |

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