Don And Tom Reconnect WOWI

On a typical marvelous day in Coupeville, Don and I found an opportunity to set these podcasts back on their original track. At the start, we crafted these episodes based on our resources, i.e. two guys, a microphone, an interest in highlighting the writing community of Whidbey Island, and a willingness to adapt and learn. Writers are creative people. We did what we could with what we had. The pandemic changed things (understatement.) And now, thanks to responsible folks wearing masks and getting vaccinated, enough progress has been made that we could return to something like our original concept. Uh. How did we do this a little more than a year ago? We begin again. 

We started with live, largely uncut interviews and discussions with various members of the expansive yet unofficial Whidbey Island writing community. Guests included writers, of course, but also editors, publishers, poets, librarians, book sellers, book collectors, etc. Our community is varied. Whidbey Island is varied, too. So, we recorded at a variety of locations. The background became part of the show. Listen for ambience that includes jets, turkeys, dogs, businesses, pedestrians, etc. The island provides a long list to include.

Then, the pandemic hit. Zoom this. Google Meet that. Everyone was remote. Everyone was required to have a bit of technological skill. And of course that thing we all needed, a sense of humor, somehow.

Now, we’re back – or at least we hope we are – sort of. For the first time in over a year, Don and I recorded a live, masked-face-to-masked-face episode. The bonus was a setting that included the sounds of eagles, people, and maybe a ferry. Our personal bonus was a view of the Sound, Port Townsend, the Olympics, and the usual extraordinary panoramas from near the Admiralty Head Lighthouse. Why not include someone as a guest? Well, partly, we had to see if we remembered all of the gadgets and setup considerations. (Good thing Don remembered the extra batteries.)

It was good to reconnect and remember those other bits of communication that are harder to convey online. Body language, hand signals, stifled laughs – as well as a reminder to not bump the microphone.

And there was a lot to talk about. Those months weren’t wasted. Turning binge watching into a way to research writers’s styles. A surplus of uninterrupted time to write. Dealing with a support network, or at least fellow writers, that are necessarily more remote. Marketing campaigns that can’t rely on readings, signings, panels, or talks. 

Listen for our personal adaptations and approaches, as well as progress in our individual projects – including opening hints about a possible group project for sci-fi writers. 

If you have a story to tell about your recently released book, how you managed your marketing campaign, how your business survived, how your organization adapted, whatever, send us a note about possibly being one of our guests. (If we get too many we might have to put all the names in a basket and see what luck provides.)

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 23 – Don and Tom Reconnect


His Mother Really Is Crazier Than Yours – In Interview With Cam Castle

Where would writers be without their families? Sure, they’re a source of support, but they’re also a source of stories. Cam Castle was born into a wealth of stories, which is one reason he wrote a book about it. “My Mother is Crazier than Your Mother”

Cam’s Mom created a creative childhood environment, not necessarily on purpose. Retelling those tales here would be redundant. Besides, Cam’s better at telling them. He’s a writer of many talents, including writing for the Seattle Times; but as a few fortunate fellow writers know, having him in a writing group makes sure the day won’t be dull. He’s a humorist with the ability to make dull text entertaining. (I know. His reading of some of my personal finance pieces made them funny enough to wake everyone up.)

Cam was also brave enough to be one of our first interviewees, back when we were still learning what this podcast would truly be about, and how we needed to approach it. Just like in the writing groups, his candor was appreciated and constructive. Subsequent interviewees can thank him, even though it may not be apparent how he made their experience much smoother. (That’s also why he pointed out that, while we posted the podcast, we forgot to post the attendant blog post. Oops. Pardon us as we play catch-up.)

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 3 – Cam Castle, My Mother is Crazier than Your Mother

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Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 5 – Allan Ament, Learning to Float

Ament, like in Dam(n) It. Allan Ament (attorney, writer, and person instrumental in the official – though no longer existing – writers association and language arts institute) was kind enough to spend some time talking about writing his book, Learning to Float – Memoir of a Caregiver-Husband. Another key talent, a sense of humor.

As Allan mentions, life is a writing prompt. Even if you don’t intend to write a book, life can put a person through an experience that others ask to hear or read. His story is based on caring for his wife, Deloris Ament, who is also a writer and editor with her own book, Iridescent Light – The Emergence of Northwest Art. Caregiver is a job frequently engaged by necessity as much as choice, which is where Allan found himself. Requests from friends about medical progress turned into an email list, which turned into a blog, which turned into a book. The path to publication does not always follow a plan.

He gives credit to the various writing groups on the island (a place that is “amazingly supportive of creativity.”), and notes their differences in style; the role of the various types of editors, something he’s familiar with because Deloris is one of the best; and how attempts at perfection can intrude on creativity. As he advised one of his perfectionist students, “Get a life.” Considering the topic of his book, and the life he’s led, that’s far more pragmatic than academic.

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 5 – Allan Ament, Learning to Float