The Chills at Will Podcast is a celebration of the visceral beauty of literature. This beauty will be examined through close reads of phrases and lines and passages from fiction and nonfiction that thrills the reader, so much so that he wants to read again and again to replicate that thrill. Each episode will focus on a different theme, such as "The Power of Flashback," "Understatement," "Cats in the Cradle," and "Chills at Will: Origin Story."
Monday Aug 28, 2023
Monday Aug 28, 2023
Notes and Links to Erica Berry’s Work
For Episode 201, Pete welcomes Erica Berry, and the two discuss, among other topics, her early reading and writing and generational traumas and anxieties that have colored her life and many of our lives, her move from poetry into nonfiction and an eventual embrace of many different types of writing and lenses, the “ecology of fear,” travel and confronting fears, and making storylines about seemingly disparate topics-land rights, myth, wolves, fear-into a coherent and superb book.
Erica Berry’s nonfiction debut, Wolfish: Wolf, Self, and the Stories We Tell About Fear, was published in February 2023 by Flatiron/Macmillan (US+Canada), and Canongate (UK+Commonwealth) in March 2023.
Her essays and journalism appear in Outside, Catapult, Wired,. Winner of the Steinberg Essay Prize, she has received grants and fellowships from the Ucross Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources, and Tin House.
She teaches workshops for teenagers and adults through the Attic Institute, Literary Arts, the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, the New York Times Student Journeys, and Oxford Academia. She was the 2019-2020 National Writers’ Series Writer-in-Residence and Teaching Fellow at Front Street Writers in Traverse City, Michigan.
She graduated from Bowdoin College in 2014, and received her MFA from the University of Minnesota as a College of Liberal Arts Fellow in 2018. She now lives in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, where she is a Writer-in-the-Schools and an Associate Fellow at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters.
At about 2:15, Erica reps The Chills at Will swag!
At about 2:55: Erica quotes Rebecca Solnit in describing her early reading and writing and the relationships to anxiety and ease and pleasure
At about 4:20, Erica focuses in on some favorite readings and writers from growing up, including Cornelia Funke, in addition to the importance and shortcomings of journaling in her life
At about 8:55, Erica talks about her early connections to farms in her family, as well as poetry and nonfiction and her views of them as she got into high school and college
At about 13:05, Pete asks Erica about traumas and fears and how generational traumas have affected her family, her, and her writing
At about 17:15, Pete shouts out his son’s soccer debut in asking Erica about confronting fears; Erica quotes a telling example from Rachel Cusk’s work
At about 19:45, Erica responds to Pete’s questions about the connections between travel and exploration as imperatives for writers
At about 23:00, Pete shouts out Jean Guerrero’s top-notch Crux in asking Erica about her multidimensional writing style; Erica speaks about the background and rationale for her “interdisciplinary omnivorousness”
At about 26:00, Erica replies to Pete’s questions about what helped her to solidify seemingly-disparate topics into Wolfish; she discusses how early iterations of the book didn’t feature fear so prominently
At about 29:30, Pete sets the scene for the book’s opening, the start featuring the discovery of a wolf corpse, as well as further exploration by Erica of “crying wolf” and the many permutations of Little Red Riding Hood
At about 31:20, Erica speaks of ways in investigating the wolf’s effect on society’s consciousness through various expressions across the world involving the wolf
At about 33:00, Erica reads from Page 6 of her book, an excerpt involving false perceptions about worldwide wolf attacks on humans
At about 35:45, Erica discusses myths and stories and cultures that don’t always match up with perceptions of wolves, as well as ideas of indigenous’ connections to wolves and ideas of boundaries
At about 39:10, Pete and Erica chart the journeys of OR-7 and other wolves
At about 40:15, Pete cites Oregon’s horrific laws of the past involving Black people in asking Erica about how she brought together seemingly-unrelated issues and histories
At about 43:45, Erica and Pete discuss binaries and how Erica wrote against them
At about 44:45, The two discuss real-life tragedies and rational fears, and Erica discuss the implications of the “ecology of fear”
At about 49:20, Erica discusses her time at a wolf sanctuary in England and its aftereffects
At about 52:40, Erica discusses her heightened understanding of ranchers and food systems and the “stewards of the land” in eastern Oregon and beyond
At about 57:00, Erica discusses “connecting with the land” and ranchland
At about 58:15, The two discuss Erica’s trip to Sicily and ideas of getting past fears/living with minimized fear
At about 1:02:20, Erica discusses exciting upcoming projects
At about 1:04:00, Pete shares two pertinent quotes paraphrased by Erica’s teachers and she highlights their importance and genesis
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Please tune in for Episode 202 with Dennis J. Sweeney, a cross-genre writer and the author of You’re the Woods Too and In the Antarctic Circle, as well as four chapbooks of poetry and prose. He has been a finalist for the National Poetry Series and the Big Other Book Award.
The episode will air on September 5.