81. Honoring Jack Kerouac’s Impact on American Poetry w/ S.A. Griffin & Richard Modiano

In the second of three special episodes celebrating Kerouac’s 100th birthday, Dan invited S.A. Griffin & Richard Modiano to talk about Kerouac’s contribution to American poetry, his haiku mastery, spiritual questing, the challenge of adapting Kerouac’s novels on film, and so much more.

Listen to the first Kerouac episode: 80. Celebrating Jack Kerouac’s 100th Birthday w/ Tim Hernandez & Nate Jordan

Continue reading “81. Honoring Jack Kerouac’s Impact on American Poetry w/ S.A. Griffin & Richard Modiano”

80. Celebrating Jack Kerouac’s 100th Birthday w/ Tim Hernandez & Nate Jordan

In honor of Jack Kerouac’s 100th birthday, Dan invited writers and fellow Naropa alumni Tim Hernandez & Nate Jordan to talk about how Kerouac influenced their writing & personal journeys. They discuss Tim’s 2013 novel about Bea Franco (Terry/”The Mexican Girl” from On the Road) Mañana Means Heaven, understanding the influence of the published Joan Anderson Letter (2020) on Kerouac’s writing style, the importance of Neal Cassady, Kerouac the spiritual and knowledge seeker, and so much more.

This is the first of three special Kerouac episodes being released this month.

Continue reading “80. Celebrating Jack Kerouac’s 100th Birthday w/ Tim Hernandez & Nate Jordan”

79. Being in Isolation with Tara Bradway

In Episode 79, Dan Dissinger is joined by Guest Host Danielle Lee to talk to Saint John’s University alum Tara Bradway about life after the PhD, the complex issues facing contingent faculty, the challenges of being the artistic director of the Adirondack Shakespeare Company during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of isolation on mental health.

Continue reading “79. Being in Isolation with Tara Bradway”

78. Writing Movie Trailers with Brandon Martin

In Episode 78, we talk to screenwriter Brandon Martin about transitioning from working as a touring musician to writing movie trailers, creating a comic strip during quarantine, finding inspiration in life experiences and other artistic pursuits, and selling his first movie script for -$100.

We share a couple of announcements at the beginning of the episode, including the news that Writing Remix was awarded the 2021 John Lovas Award by Kairos for Outstanding Online Project in Writing Studies! If you want to jump straight to the episode, skip to 4:55.

Brandon Martin is an award-winning copywriter and screenwriter and an American Music Award-nominated musician. His hobbies include double-neck guitars, bingeing Vulfpeck videos on Youtube, (fitness) boxing, and watching any movie or TV series involving three-or-more ninjas. He is represented by Leyla Kader Dahm at Zero Gravity Entertainment.

Learn more at Brandon’s website and be sure to check out his animated web series, Gnat & Tina: Episode 1, Episode 2, and Episode 3.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“I decided that writing was really what I wanted to do because I loved the idea of depending on myself for my future, as opposed to depending on a drummer.” -Brandon Martin

“When you make decisions that are in line with who you are, these doors open that you would never have even imagined.” -Brandon Martin

“[Making movie trailers] is more involved than anyone would imagine.” -Brandon Martin

“We work the hardest on bad movies or TV shows.” -Brandon Martin

“[Writing trailer scripts] is a really great job for someone who wants to be a screenwriter.” -Brandon Martin

“Writing is like a muscle that you learn to flex.” -Brandon Martin

“You want to learn and learn and learn so you can then forget.” -Brandon Martin

“For me, [writing] is just a stepwise journey of internalizing.” -Brandon Martin

“Everything informs everything, so I try to just keep being creative always.” -Brandon Martin

“It’s the tiny little moments that really inspire me more than the big ones.” -Brandon Martin

“Chase your dreams. Lose $100.” -Brandon Martin

“This city is filled with jobs you never knew existed.” -Brandon Martin

This episode was recorded on January 10, 2022. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

77. Processing Grief w/ Merissa Nathan Gerson

In Episode 77, we talk with writer & Tulane professor Merissa Nathan Gerson about her book Forget Prayers, Bring Cake: A Single Woman’s Guide to Grieving, the many ways people experience grief in their daily lives, and the interconnected impact grief has on the mind, body, & spirit. Also, Dan & Merissa do some reminiscing on their time together at Naropa University.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication at Tulane University and the author of Forget Prayers, Bring Cake: A Single Woman’s Guide to Grieving (Mandala Publishing / Simon & Schuster, August 2021)She was the intergenerational trauma consultant to Amazon’s hit show Transparent and has writing featured in The New York Times, CNN.com, Playboy Magazine, The Atlantic, Elle.com, Tablet Magazine, Lilith Magazine, and beyond. After releasing a 2018 ELI Talk on consent and Talmud, she founded www.KenMeansYes.org to address the need for consent education in Jewish spaces.

Visit Merissa’s website to learn more!

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“I think that generally, grieving, even without a pandemic, is so isolating.” –Merissa Nathan Gerson.

“I have lots of feelings about [my book], like good, bad, and in between, but I do think the process of writing it in some way was a blessing […] I live alone in New Orleans, and I was grieving and I wasn’t really allowed to leave my house. So in some ways it was like a torturous task to sit at home alone and write about grief everyday, but on the other hand, […] it kept me connected to the world because I was writing to this imagined group of women that now have come forward and said thank you.”
–Merissa Nathan Gerson

“Every time I had hell come through me, or if I’d fall to my knees in grief, I’d be like, ‘Oh, take a note and put that in the book.’ So that was, in some way, really nice because it forced me to witness myself and be in community at the same time even though I was alone.”
–Merissa Nathan Gerson.

“I come from a Holocaust survivor family […] there’s this element of grief in my family that existed since the day I was born.”
–Merissa Nathan Gerson

“Grief rips time out.” –Merissa Nathan Gerson

“I want grief to be something that we integrate as like a normal human experience.”
–Merissa Nathan Gerson

“I had a lot of conversations with friends, particularly with Black women who were saying, ‘Your expectation to just sort of like spend the time to clean out your insides and find peace with your grief it’s rude almost because it’s presuming there’s a space between griefs.’” –Merissa Nathan Gerson

This episode was recorded on December 1st, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

76. Celebrating Critical Fan Studies w/ Cara Marta Messina

In Episode 76, we talk to Dr. Cara Marta Messina about the academic job market, open-access research and critical fan studies, the parallels between fanfiction and fantasy football, and teaching writing for podcasting.

Dr. Cara Marta Messina is an Assistant Professor of English with a focus on professional writing at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. Her research is in fan studies, digital humanities, digital rhetoric, and feminism. In 2019, she won the national Kairos Teaching Award for her work in interdisciplinary critical digital pedagogy. Cara received her Ph.D. in English, focusing on Writing and Rhetoric, from Northeastern University in 2021. Her dissertation, The Critical Fan Toolkit, is an open-access, digital project that traces critical fanfiction writing practices. If you’d like a CFT vinyl sticker, feel free to DM Cara on Twitter @cara_messina or email her at cmessina@jsu.edu

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“In my classroom, I try to make it very clear that I have particular politics and that I expect students to follow a particular class environment, practicing inclusivity, no racism, no homophobia, no ableism.” @cara_messina

“I really do believe in open-access, especially when you’re doing research about particular communities.” @cara_messina

“I really believe everyone is a fan of something.” @cara_messina

“In fanfiction you can really do that sort of close reading and that analysis and reimagine those characters, think about justice, think about representation. Who is represented? Whose stories are told? Whose stories are not told?” @cara_messina

“Fanfiction, at least for me, that dissecting, breaking down the different media…and then untangling the politics, that was central to my identity and how I began to see myself and see the world, see how not only how stories are written but how they reflected the world.” @cara_messina

“I try to get a general sense of who [my students] are and what they’re invested in. And then I try to build their interests into what we listen to and then what we talk about.” @cara_messina

“[In my class,] we’ve been talking about the importance of not just the podcast itself but the writing around the podcast.” @cara_messina

This episode was recorded on November 22, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

75. Office Hours w/ Dan & Katie

In Episode 75, Dan & Katie answer questions from the audience about the Metaverse, the cost of higher education, teacher training and experiences, identity, and much more. If you have questions for us to talk about and answer on another Office Hours episode, you can email them to writingremixpodcast@gmail.com.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“I remember teaching [Super Sad True Love Story] and at the time I was teaching it, it was like the near future and now it is basically the present in many ways.”
–Dan Dissinger

“I think about what’s great about writing and fiction is that we get to bring in that humanistic side to and think about what are the ethical and moral questions here, things that sometimes get overlooked.”
–Katie McNey

“All those questions about what is it to be human and what is the human experience about will continue to persist […] so there will always be a need for writing.”
–Katie McNey

“[College] faculty are never prepared [to have difficult conversations in the classroom] because we’re not trained that way in a PhD program. PhD programs only train you in order to write your dissertation and make sure you can get that finished.”
–Dan Dissinger

“You have to think about the type of education you want and the type of experiences you want over what the name on the degree is.”
–Dan Dissinger

“Is going to an elite university really worth it? Are you getting a higher level of education, or is it just this prestige that has been built up over time because it’s about this image that is being created?”
–Katie McNey

This episode was recorded on November 15, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

74. Pursuing Your Passion w/ Katie McNey

In Episode 74, Dan interviews Katie about her science fiction and fantasy novels, her background in medieval literature, her journey getting into podcasting, and her new role as a book writing coach. Along the way, we talk about witches, fan fiction, medieval dream poetry, and the time she set up a Go Fund Me to send her favorite podcasters to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida.

Katie McNey earned a Ph.D. in English with a focus in medieval and early modern literature from the University of Minnesota. After moving to Los Angeles, she taught in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California for two years before designing her Author’s Dream Mentorship Program and launching her own coaching business. She hosts two podcasts about writing and reading (Writing Remix and Witches in Britches) and is one of the founding members of the Humanities Podcast Network. She also writes speculative fiction and is represented by Kurestin Armada at Root Literary.

You can learn more at katiemcney.com and get in touch on Twitter and Instagram @KatieMcNey.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“Going to grad school was so valuable for me, and I grew a lot and I learned a lot, so I don’t think it was wasted time. But I had always wanted to write [fiction], and so I did…When I was in grad school, I published a trilogy of novels, which was probably an indication of where my real passion was. ” @KatieMcNey

“[At the end of my Ph.D.] I was like, ‘I don’t know how to do these two things: I don’t know how to raise a kid and be in academia.’ And I think it speaks to the dismal state of things, that academics are expected to produce at such high levels that are really not sustainable for a good work-life balance.” @KatieMcNey

“It was just another way of looking at what I can do with this degree that I hadn’t really considered before because…we have such a narrow focus about what [a Ph.D.] means.” @KatieMcNey

“I would literally just write all day long…and I never felt tired or drained. I always felt energized. To me, that was a real indication of something that was important to me or that I was meant to do.” @KatieMcNey

“I just really love world-building. I love how the setting can become like a character.” @KatieMcNey

“I love Sci-Fi and fantasy and cool, weird elements, and I love writing action and fast-paced page-turners.” @KatieMcNey

“A lot of modern fantasy is rooted in medieval literature.” @KatieMcNey

“For me, [inspiration] really comes in stages. I get an inkling of an idea, and I start working on it. And then I read something or see something and I’m like oh that’s a cool element. I like that. And I figure out how to work that in.” @KatieMcNey

“It’s a little bit like painting a picture. You have a rough sketch, and then you add in some colors, and you keep layering and layering, and you get more detailed as you go. That’s how writing works for me.” @KatieMcNey

“I’m both [a plotter and a pantser]. I always have an outline, because I always want to know where I’m going. But inevitably as I’m writing, I end up changing what I’m doing, or in the course of writing, I get a new idea. So I like to allow space for that organic development as well.” @KatieMcNey

“[Writing fan fiction or playing an RPG] is a great place to start as a writer…It’s a great way to try things out where you don’t have to come up with everything from scratch on your own.” @KatieMcNey

This episode was recorded on November 8, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

73. Confronting Campus Rape Culture w/ Chris Belcher, Stephanie Renée Payne, & Jordan Broberg

Content Warning: Discussion of sexual and domestic violence, please listen with care.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual and/or domestic violence/abuse, you can find support through: RAINN & RSVP (for USC community). More resources available here.

In Episode 73, Dan is joined by Writing Program faculty Chris Belcher & Stephanie Renee Payne, USC alum Jordan Broberg, and two current USC students to talk about rape culture at USC and beyond. This episode is in response to an email sent out to the USC community on October 20th, 2021 about drugging, sexual assault, and rapes occurring at the Sigma Nu fraternity house.

Chris Belcher is a writer and professor. She completed a PhD in English at the University of Southern California, where she now teaches Gender and Sexuality Studies and in the Writing Program. Under her working name, Natalie West, she edited the acclaimed anthology We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival. Her memoir, Pretty Baby, will be published by Simon & Schuster’s Avid Reader Press in July 2022 and is available to pre-order here.

Jordan Broberg is an American actor, director, poet and playwright. Her primary concentration is in the theatre, but she has crossed all mediums and has enjoyed every minute doing it. Broberg is a 2019 magna cum laude graduate of the USC School of Dramatic Arts and she thoroughly enjoys the exploration of off-kilter, vibrant and unparalleled ways to tell stories. From stage-managing Off-Broadway, to finessing her way to production assisting for Aaron Sorkin, Broberg has worn every hat. She is a SAG-Eligible actress and a proud member of Includiance, a new production division of Schmengie Inc. that has partnered with GLAAD to increase the representation of LGBTQIA+ in commercial spaces. She has just released her first book titled, “I Forgot My Parachute This Time – A Collection of Poetry In Three Acts,” which can be purchased online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other book retailers. Please visit iforgotmyparachutethistime.com for more information. Her theatrical/film work is located at jordanbroberg.com.

Stephanie Renée Payne teaches writing in both the freshman and advanced writing seminars at the University of Southern California. Payne’s special topics include experiential and collaborative learning using the city of Los Angeles as an extended campus in her Food & Culture course in the Advanced Writing seminar. Payne’s aim in collaborative and experiential learning is to foster within her students a consideration of the self, the intersection of self with the other, and the self and the other within multiple environments to produce thoughtful, rich, and probing writing that is relevant in a 21st-century context. Payne writes non-fiction and fiction. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and commercial print publications. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Texts & People Mentioned in the Episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“Thinking about […] the years and years and years of silence around the Tyndall events and the even just month of silence that failed to protect students from Sigma Nu, this sort of time lapse between when they knew that reports had been made and then when they alerted students through DPS—as problematic as that was […] that seems to me that nothing has changed.”
–Chris Belcher

“I think that as a female on a college campus even before all of this has come out was already terrifying enough.”
–USC Student

“I don’t know how this is gonna sound, but just how I feel is that the institution of USC is very much, ‘Don’t get raped’ as opposed to ‘Don’t rape.’”
–Jordan Broberg

“Why would you put the burden on the staff to take care of the students’ trauma […] instead of putting the burden on the perpetrators or putting the burden on the system?”
–USC Student

“The University is constantly looking for individual responses to systemic problems.”
–Chris Belcher

“What was really interesting to me is [how Greek life] depersonalizes the criminal acts, which is what they are, they’re not even acts of misconduct, they’re criminal actions, so I was curious about the house being fined rather than the individual or individuals involved.”
–Stephanie Renée Payne

“Maybe this is just from my experience, but I feel like reporting it, speaking it, acknowledging it is a way, at least for me, of finding freedom […] but when an institution doesn’t hold individuals accountable what that to me is saying is your freedom doesn’t matter.” –Jordan Broberg

“I did talk a little bit with some of my friends that are way more involved with fraternities and sororities than I am and hearing about the rushing process and the bidding process, and how these institutions try to make it seem very [inclusive], but in reality it’s really hard for BIPOC or people from low-income backgrounds to join these organizations.”
–USC Student

“For rape culture to change, people have to be afraid to rape, people have to be afraid to be associated with rapists.” –Chris Belcher

“It’s because of these stupid institutions and stupid systems that exist, especially in the United States, that cause a lot of females, and not even just females, just most sexual assault survivors to silence themselves in the fear of being stepped on by the patriarchy, because anyone under the patriarchy is in the wrong.”
–USC Student

“Are we educat[ing] our boys the way we educate our girls […] It’s about ‘girls be careful,’ but it’s not about how we should tell the people in fraternities and sororities they should start acting like a human
–USC Student

“I didn’t receive the email [about the assaults at Sigma Nu] as I am an alumni, but if I were to receive an email that talked about making sure what I wear isn’t provocative, I would bet my life that there is no dress code for modesty when it comes to any of the events that Greek life profits off of.”
–Jordan Broberg

“As a college student and a woman, I feel like my weekend activities should not be limited because of the actions of criminals.”
–USC Student

“What my students have brought to me is that they feel, especially my sorority students, that fraternity men are the most educated on campus, that they absolutely understand the parameters of their actions, that they absolutely understand standards that are put forth. However, what students have brought to me is that there are no consequences whatsoever. One of my students said you can get kicked out [of USC] for plagiarism easier than [for] raping someone.”
–Stephanie Renée Payne.  

“I think the point of race and protectionism and wealth and the culture of white male dominance is very much entrenched not just in the Greek system, but on our campus.”
–Stephanie Renée Payne

This episode was recorded on November 4th, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod.

72. Life After the Ph.D. w/ Dr. Steven Mentz, Dr. Meghan P. Nolan, Dr. Melissa Rampelli, & Dr. Daniel Dissinger

In Episode 72, Dr. Steven Mentz of the Saint John’s University English Department interviews three SJU Alums about what academic, writing, and teaching life is like after the Ph.D. This was a special episode for Dr. Mentz’s graduate theory course, and some of these questions come straight from his students.

Steve Mentz is Professor of English at St. John’s University in New York City, where he teaches Shakespeare, the environmental humanities, literary theory, and poetry. His recent publications include the book Ocean, part of Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series, and the collection of essays, A Cultural History of the Sea in the Early Modern Age (2021). He is currently writing an Introduction to the Blue Humanities for Routledge Publishing. He tweets @stevermentz and blogs at The Bookfish.” Follow the link for a full bio.

Meghan P. Nolan, MFA, MA, PhD is an Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center at State University of New York, Rockland. She is a Persona Studies scholar and multigenre writer who focuses on fragmented perceptions of self-hood and written identities through academic works, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is the author of the poetry collection, Stratification (BlazeVOX Books, 2008); her essays have recently been published in Persona Studies, ThreadThe 100 Greatest Detectives, Exquisite Corpse: Studio Art-Based Writing in the AcademyTransnational Crime Fiction, andMean Streets: A Journal of American Crime and Detective Fiction. 

Melissa Rampelli is Assistant Professor of English at Holy Family University where she teaches courses in British literature and first-year composititon. She is currently at work on her book manuscript, Plots of Pathology, and her article “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and the 2008 Recession” is forthcoming in the Winter 2021 issue of Modern Language Studies. Her research interests include nineteenth-century British literature and culture, the history of psychology, gender studies, medical narratives, and the novel. 

Daniel Dissinger is an Assistant Professor in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California. He earned his PhD and MA from Saint John’s University as well as an MFA from The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.  Dan’s dissertation examined the early, pre-On the Road novels of Jack Kerouac and the reflective writing properties of the “Duluoz Legend.” Dan’s poetry has been published in a variety of journals, and his first chapbook, tracing the shape…, was published by Shadow Mountain Press in 2012. He is the co-host/co-creator of both Writing Remix Podcast & The Nostalgia Test Podcast. Dan co-created The Humanities Podcast Network, which hosted their first-ever International Humanities Podcast Symposium October 2021.

Texts & People Mentioned in the Episode

Some links may be affiliate links, which at no additional cost to you help to fund The Writing Remix. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

“The job of a graduate student is to figure out the question and then answer it.”
–Steven Mentz

“For me the seeds are still in [my] dissertation […] it’s just branched off in five different directions”
–Meghan P. Nolan

“It’s been like really amazing to kind of be almost like an archivist in many ways.”
–Dan Dissinger

“Academic work, in the broader sense, is all about creating communities.”
–Steven Mentz

“When something bugs you like that, then I know to pursue it.”
–Melissa Rampelli

“I was always curious how, you know, you see scholars on their fourth or fifth book and you ask them, ‘How did you get these ideas?’ and they’re like, ‘Oh, it came from the previous book.’ And I think until you actually get that moment you can’t really appreciate how that can organically happen.”
–Melissa Rampelli

“Academic work emerges out of the […] coming together of different discourses.”
–Steven Mentz

“[Writing] process is different depending on your situation and what kind of person you are.”
–Meghan P. Nolan

“I think it’s an interesting thing to think about in the academic life, there are things you think you’re supposed to be doing, then the things you want to do, and then there are expectations on both sides and you’re kind of like balancing this really weird ecosystem.”
–Dan Dissinger

“I also think academics and students and graduate students are really susceptible to the kind of panoptic paranoia, that you always think you’re supposed to do one more thing or one more project you can take on.”
–Steven Mentz

“The culture of academia is like a culture of overwork, and I think it’s important to know that and set up some human boundaries.”
–Steven Mentz

“The purpose of a critical review, even a review that says, ‘Hey, we’re not going to publish this right now’ the purpose is always to make the piece better.”
–Steven Mentz

“One of the other things I say to younger writers is this; you may think you have it written the way that you want it, but really ask yourself is making this change going to change the entire piece because if not, just make the edit. Don’t fight it. Stop fighting it, stop arguing over every minute detail.”
–Meghan P. Nolan

This episode was recorded on July 27th, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod