So have you all heard any of the Tiny Sense of Accomplishment podcasts? They’re the creation of authors Jess Walter and Sherman Alexie, and they’re fabulous. I’m pretty new to the world of podcasts, just beginning to listen to them in the last six months. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this one, but Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins and The Financial Lives of Poets, is among my very favorite authors. And I read Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian this year, and loved it.
They’ve been good friends for years, and the podcast is like a conversation you might have with a good friend, if your main focus was books, writing, and interviewing your author pals. Their topics range widely, though, from their shared passion for playing basketball to grief over personal losses. Alexie lost his mother this year, and in one of the later episodes he reads a poem he wrote about her loss. It was stunning, and had me in tears. In quite a few podcasts they read from works-in-progress, or works that have stalled out for one reason or another. They are humble, earnest, and unflinchingly honest about the hardships and failures of being a writer, even with the success that they’ve had. In later episodes, they do live shows from various venues in the Pacific Northwest, with musical guests like Neko Case and Shelby Earl.
These two men are funny, sensitive, smart, and self-deprecating. I love the sounds of their voices as well; they’re incredibly soothing. (I confess to harboring a small crush on Jess Walter – I met him briefly at a reading and signing at the University of Tennessee Hodges Library in 2013. He was delightful.) My time for podcast listening is very limited, which is why I’ve not listened to more yet. I haven’t even made it all the way through these Tiny episodes yet. With a full-time job, a very active four year-old boy, and my love of reading, I only manage to listen to about one every two weeks or so. Still, please give me some recommendations for your favorite podcasts – I’d love to make a list.