Courtney Maum Recommends...

“Living in the country affords me time and space, along with a healthy cardiovascular system from shoveling my own driveway over the six months that winter lasts. What I lack, however, is a physical writing community I can celebrate or commiserate with during the work’s many ups and downs. When I need to get out of my head (which I mean quite literally because sometimes an entire day can go by out here when I haven’t spoken out loud), I go down to the kitchen, plug my phone into a portable speaker, and cook while listening to podcasts. Writing-wise, I’m interested in relationships that are failing, but haven’t totally collapsed yet. Accordingly, my favorite podcasts are a little sassy, but buttressed with real hope. Manoush Zomorodi’s “Note to Self” looks at humans versus their devices, while Dan Savage’s “Savage Love Podcast” is humans struggling in bed. I’ve loved the “Seeing White” series from Scene on Radio, which tries to understand what the hell is up with white people right now. And I’m consistently floored by Esther Perel’s “Where Should We Begin” in which she counsels real couples who are brave enough to let the whole world listen in. The smell of sage hitting hot oil, the story of a frazzled mom who doesn’t want to let her cross-dressing husband borrow her only good bra again, this cooking and listening ritual of mine gives me great community. And if we don’t have a community, how can we write about the world?”
—Courtney Maum, author of Touch (Putnam, 2017)