A Preview of the Post-Apocalypse

An interview with Peter Heller, author of The Dog Stars, and Timothy Green, editor of Rattle

If the world is in trouble, no one has told that to the lilacs, wild with renegade bloom.

Preview: Creativity and COVID-19

We continue our miniseries on creativity and COVID-19 in Episode 19 by interviewing Peter Heller, author of The Dog Stars, a best-selling post-apocalyptic novel in which the main character has survived a global pandemic. It’s a little close to home. We talk with Heller about how it feels to watch life mimic his book. We also talk about some of the silver linings we’ve found while sheltering in place, and how Heller weaves different genres. In Episode 20, we speak with Timothy Green, editor of Rattle, one of America’s most popular poetry magazines, about how the pandemic has affected creative output in America. We also talk about how it feels to be the one writing the rejections, how even editors can get impostor syndrome for editors, and how to trust a process.

What We’re Reading:


· This is a little embarrassing, but I have been asking friends to tell me the best sex scenes they have read. Research for a book I’m writing. Ahem. And so I’ve been reading Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner. I’m not quite half way through, and so far, nothing steamy, but I’m enjoying the writing—starting from when they are kids, so it reads more like a YA book … hmmm. I’ll let you know. In the meantime, if you have a recommendation for me, well, I’m collecting.

·  Well, it’s not exactly reading, it’s more listening to people talk about reading—but this week I discovered Third Space’s podcast Turning Towards Life, a weekly conversation about a poem and how it helps us meet the challenges of life. A thoughtful, meditative, nourishing way to spend a half an hour.


·  I am finally reading Richard Power’s novel, The Overstory. It is as magical and lovely as everyone says.

· When I read My Brilliant Friend, the first of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, I fell instantly in love. I was initially hesitant to watch the HBO series based on the books, but once I started, I couldn’t stop. It is just as rich and wonderful as the books. Definitely worth the price of an HBO subscription.

· I absolutely loved this episode of the Partners podcast with Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman. The podcast is so well produced and this episode is honest, frank and full of friendship love. I can’t wait to read Sow and Friedman’s book.

Online Resources:

· One of our listeners suggested that we check out “Leaping Clear,” an online magazine devoted to sharing art by artists who are also contemplative practitioners. The wonderful curator and editor of Leaping Clear is Carolyn Dille. Check out the current spring issue.

· Need a way to engage your kids in creativity this summer? Here in Colorado, Think 360 Arts has created Teaching Artist TV, a free and accessible online platform designed to support ongoing art education efforts in Colorado and beyond. It includes videos made by their Teaching Artists, along with Study Guides designed to deepen student engagement.

· Telluride Mountain Film, a festival that celebrates the indomitable spirit, focusing on adrenaline, environmental activism, adventure and more, is online this year. For the first time ever, you don’t need to come to Telluride to have the experience. It runs now through Memorial Day. Information about the festival and passes, click here.

· Wish there were a literary town hall to help you as you think about elections? There is! And our past guest Pam Houston is on it. Every month until the election, Terrain.org is hosting the Dear America Virtual Town Hall. The first is this Wednesday.

Two Questions:

(share your answers with us here on Substack)

  1. What trends have you noticed in your own creative practice since the beginning of shelter in place and COVID-19?

  2. What effect has COVID-19 had on your genre?