S. 2 EP. 10 "KISS ME DEADLY"

This week we’re discussing that infamous classic film from the post-World War II period: “Kiss Me Deadly”. Released in the theaters in 1955, and adapted from the novel released in 1952, both the cinematic piece and its inspired counterpart represent a time of nuclear paranoia and ‘tough guy’ machismo, sometimes jarring to our modern ears.

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S. 2 EP. 9 MUSIC WE LIVE BY

I sat down with Douglas Kennedy in one of the most poetic cities in the history of music, Paris, France, to discuss the current state of classical music. In a world full of candy pop beats and auto-tuned charlatans, the aural intoxication of classical music remains the pinnacle of what the human ear can experience. Douglas Kennedy explains:  

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S. 2 EP. 7 "AURORE'S AMAZING ADVENTURES..." PT. 1

Talk about output. Already in the first quarter of the 2019, Douglas Kennedy has witnessed the release of “The Great Wide Open” in January, completed his next novel “Isabelle in The Afternoon”, and, just this week, published his new graphic novel “Aurore’s Amazing Adventures” in which Kennedy finds himself paired with France’s preeminent illustrator, Joann Sfar.

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S. 2 EP. 6 MISSING THE BOHEMIAN

No one can argue that most of the western world has befallen to corporate and monocultural tastes; opting for efficiency over aesthetic, and the bottom line over creative expansion. There is a general lack of care and concern that the artist of our cities are being priced out at a rampant rate. What will these centers of artistic energy do when they only left with chain stores, mini-malls, and gas stations? Cinemas are closing rapidly – book stores are nearly extinct. Places of cultural interest are empty. What’s next for the culture of art in the 21st century?

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S. 2 EP. 5 THE FUTURE IS LITERARY

Everybody knows that the world of the literary novel has been significantly diminished. Since the advent of the Internet, the colossal power of Amazon, and the almost daily shuttering of your local independent bookstore, reading levels are at an all-time low. According to a new study by the National Endowment of the Arts, the percentage of adults who read books fell to 52 percent in 2017, compared with 54 percent in 2012 and 56 percent in 2002. The percentage of adults reading fiction has dropped from 45 percent in 2012 to 41 percent in 2017.

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S. 2 EP. 4 "MY, HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED"

This week we’re discussing the seismic tremors and tectonic shifts coursing through our culture in the last century – so much so that any knowledgeable person with any historic interest can hardly catch their breath.

As the great Lenny Bruce once said: “The 'what should be' never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no 'what should be,' there is only what is.”

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S. 2 EP. 3 THE POLITICAL MIND

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”  We take this Sunday to discuss the political mind.

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S.2 EP.2 INSIDE THE GREAT WIDE OPEN

This week we’re discussing the ritualistic habits and ornamental traditions of the literary life. Every writer has a specific pattern to which they construction their literary tomes, and Douglas Kennedy is no different. Some hide from the world. Some seek inspiration through travel. Kennedy found himself immersed in “The Great Wide Open” a novel that to nearly three years to hit the book shelves. I got a chance to sit down with Douglas Kennedy in Manhattan to ask him how this novel came to fruition.

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S.2 EP. 1 HOW WE LIVE NOW

Just in the last two months – America has experienced a great shift to the left. For the last two years, the Republican House and Senate have entrenched our culture in retrograde policies and astoundingly isolationist behavior. From the border wall, to the travel ban, to the hostile Grand Guignol theatrics of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings, the country is more divided than ever.

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How We Live Now
EP. 60 THEMES INSIDE

All works of literature possess a river of thematic concern flowing beneath the written word. Some philosophers have expounded that authors themselves work to uncover and discover their own well-hidden secrets and foibles layered deep within the narrative structure of their work.       

The writer Alexei Panshin writes: “A book isn't a single, static thing with one unarguable meaning. Each reader who comes to it brings his own special knowledge, habits and attitudes. Each reader reads a different book. Each reader imagines a different story.”

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EP. 59 HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL PT. 2

This week, we’re continuing our two-part series titled, aptly, How To Write Novel. Brave title I know. But I’d put my good money on listening to those that have crossed that literary line. To try is noble. To do it once is heroic. To sustain a career – That’s something I’ll turn over to someone who has published over 21 books during the length of their career. Our dialogue with Douglas Kennedy continues.

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EP. 58 HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL PT. 1

The Pulitzer Prize winning author Eudora Welty wrote this about the craft of a novel: “The writing of a novel is taking life as it already exists, not to report it but to make an object, toward the end that the finished work might contain this life inside it and offer it to the reader. The essence will not be, of course, the same thing as the raw material; it is not even of the same family of things. The novel is something that never was before and will not be again.”

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EP. 57 THE FRAGILITY

The great Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz wrote: “The partition separating life from death is so tenuous. The unbelievable fragility of our organism suggests a vision on a screen: a kind of mist condenses itself into a human shape, lasts a moment and then scatters.”

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EP. 56 THE COMPLEXITIES OF THE HEART

The famed psychologist Esther Perel wrote this about modern relationships: “Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all?”

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EP. 55 ON THE NOTION OF VENGEANCE

No one with any modicum of awareness has escaped the feeling of anger or desire for vengeance against some form of perceived slight or insult. One can even argue that to be a rational, present human being, engaged in any form of political, social, or familial conversation – will find themselves steamed with some form of negative emotion – one that we’ll only confess to our most intimate of partners.

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EP. 54 AND SO LITTLE TIME...

This week I turned our dialogue to a much more sensitive topic – a personal one. Just at the time of this interview, Douglas Kennedy got word that there was one less author in the world. The news was sudden, though, not unexpected. This author, the acclaimed novelist and intellectual Philip Kerr, passed away in March of 2018. An esteemed author of 41 novels, Kerr was an astute observer of the human condition and a lock-tight fictional historian – capturing time and place as no other author of his time could.

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How We Live Now
EP. 53 THE STATE OF THE UNION

Defying her radically political parents, Hannah determines that a life with a mundane but sturdy husband with a good job in a small New England town is her life’s future. But much like Madame Bovary, who is the behind the scenes inspiration for State of the Union, Hannah finds herself embroiled in an affair – and one that she quickly sweeps under the rug. Kennedy explains.  

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EP. 52 WHAT IS YOUR ARGUMENT?

No one will openly tell you how absolutely difficult it is to stay not only relevant in our ever-changing climate – but how to stay careered, and constantly producing interesting and creative works during a lifetime. Most of these so-called job skills can’t be learned in a classroom or seminar – they must be earned by hard work and a special kind of dedication to the craft. Douglas Kennedy and I both share an affinity for this subject – each of us sharing a history of facing rejection and dealing with the critics. This in fact goes back to Kennedy’s early days as a writer, and trying, unsuccessfully, to impress some members of the supposed elite at his University’s literary journal.

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EP. 51 THE IMPORTANCE OF PLACE

During my most recent conversation with Douglas Kennedy, I read to him a fascinating little quote by the writer Douglas Coupland that I thought Kennedy might find interesting. He wrote: “We are all of us born with a letter inside us, and that only if we are true to ourselves, may we be allowed to read it before we die.” This was his response.

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