a podcast about making art, and making a living

For episode eight of Day Job I’m talking to writer Susan Muaddi Darraj about the stigma she sometimes feels as a community college professor, and why she believes so strongly in community college education. We also talk about going to Catholic school as a non-Catholic, what it’s like to be retweeted by Hillary Clinton, her father’s poetry, and why she gets up every morning before the sun.

For episode seven of Day Jobs I’m talking to poet and writer Megan Volpert about her job teaching high school English and journalism, her tendency to overwork herself, and why she never imagined herself after a stable adult life.

For episode six of Day Jobs I’m talking to poet Ryan Eckes about labor organizing, the ethics of working for a university, and how his socialist politics influence both his creative work and his various day jobs. Ryan has worked as an adjunct professor, a union rep, and a proofreader of Horatio Alger stories for a now-defunct Philadelphia publisher. He’s also authored several books of poetry; his latest, General Motors, is available from Split Lip Press.

For episode five of Day Jobs I’m talking with Tyrese Coleman, whose new book, How to Sit, is a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award. She’s also an attorney for the USDA, and a mother of twins, so we have plenty to talk about in terms of work-life balance, and how to fit creative work into days that are busy with other obligations. We also talk about her path to becoming a successful author: Tyrese moved away from creative writing in college, after a disheartening workshop experience, and only picked it back up years later, after finishing law school and passing the bar.

For the fourth episode of Day Jobs I’m talking with Annie Wilson, a dancer, performer, choreographer and bartender. She was a 2017 Pew Fellow, and her dances have been staged at the Philly Fringe Fest, JACK in Brooklyn, and Bryn Mawr College. During our conversation she teaches me about the world of experimental dance, and gives me some new ways to think about movement, performance, and human bodies. We also talk about what she loves (and doesn't) about bartending, why she works as an independent choreographer instead of forming a company, and why she has no interest in adjunct teaching.

For the third episode of Day Jobs I’m talking with Christopher Gonzalez, a fiction writer and literary journal editor who also works full-time in digital production for a big New York City publisher.

We talk about why he chose production work over editorial, what his family thinks about his creative pursuits, and how growing up in a house where money was often tight helped shape his relationship to work.

For the second episode of Day Jobs I’m talking with Bud Smith, a writer and artist who works a heavy construction job in northern New Jersey. We talk about writing on your phone at work, pushing books on your coworkers, what it’s like to grow up on the Jersey shore, and why no job is “brainless.” Also, why Bud’s girlfriend broke up with him after he wrote his first book.

For the inaugural episode of Day Jobs, I talk with poet Gina Myers (Hold It Down, A Model Year) about balancing her creative work with a 9-to-5 job in university communications. We also talk about her former jobs, including temporary factory work and adjunct teaching, and how the need for surgery forced her to find a more traditional career with healthcare benefits. Plus: the high costs of poetry book contests, why she initially balked at college, and why her current coworkers think she's an enigma.