There Is No Y.O.U. Podcast: Andri Snaer Magnason

On episode two of the podcast, I speak with the Icelandic poet, novelist, and activist Andri Snaer Magnason about his children’s novel The Casket Of Time.
We discuss writing for children, the importance of myth, and Robert Oppenheimer’s hemorrhoids.

Andri Snaer also elaborates on the task of switching voices and changing the tone of his writing. He started with poetry and then a children’s book and then a sci-fi novel and then a non-fiction polemic (which he also made into a documentary film). Andri Snaer may be best known for his activism and his non-fiction book, Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual For A Frightened Nation, but he is always drawn to storytelling and myth. He’s a strong believer, like the writer Jane Smiley, that all writing is political and has a point or a message.

The Casket Of Time is a homage to the fairy-tales of old or as he says “yet another story about a king and a princess,” but this is also a story about courage and strength and not hiding away when you’re needed the most. After 13 years of environmental activism, with gains made and battles lost, this fairy-tale doesn’t seem like an escape to fantasy but a reminder to himself and everyone else: don’t waste the time you have.

You can order The Casket Of Time here:

My New Podcast: There Is No Y.O.U.

I know. I KNOW. Every comedian has a podcast. Well, now, so do I.

This podcast is all about “I” or at least the “I” you create. I wanted to have a series of conversations with writers, comedians, musicians, saleswomen, rodeo clowns–basically anybody–about “voice.” The way we create the character that achieves our goals or desired responses. We understand this when we read writers or listen to certain guitar players, but it’s also something we all do. We create the voice we need to get what we want.

My first guest is the screenwriter, novelist, poet, essayist, biographer Jay Parini. He’s written biographies on William Faulkner, Robert Frost, and Gore Vidal. He’s done novelizations of the lives of Leo Tolstoy (adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film), Herman Melville, and even Jesus Christ. His most recent novel, The Damascus Road, is being released on April 2, 2019 and follows the most important voice in early Christianity, The Apostle Paul. Jay describes Paul as a Benedict-Cumberbatch-Sherlock-Holmes type character. Someone who is eccentric, abrasive and a little bit sexually ambiguous.

I am honored to have Jay Parini as the first guest on this series of podcasts. Jay has spent his career exploring some of the greatest voices in literature…as well as befriending them. He was friends with Gore Vidal for over thirty years and even went hiking through the highlands of Scotland with Jorge Luis Borges.

This is my first attempt at a long, recorded, conversation-style interview. I have a lot to learn–probably the most urgent being NOT to laugh into the microphone. Luckily, Jay Parini is pro, so my shortcomings are easily hidden.

I hope you enjoy it.

You can pre-order your copy of The Damascus Road here: