Charlie Jane Anders and Becky Chambers on the Power of Storytelling (and Tea!)
This Week from Tor Presents: Voyage Into Genre
Tor Books, in partnership with Literary Hub, presents Voyage Into Genre! Every other Wednesday, join host Drew Broussard for conversations with Tor authors discussing their new books, the future, and the future of genre. Oh, and maybe there’ll be some surprises along the way…
ITINERARY: August 25, 2021
Charlie Jane Anders talks about her essay collection Never Say You Can’t Survive, how to write in dark times, the retrospective opportunities offered by a story collection, and gleefully smashing the bounds of “genre” distinctions.
Becky Chambers talks about her fridge-meal novella A Psalm for the Wild-Built, the pleasures of tea-drinking, and why she has hope.
Drew reads an excerpt of Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus as a beacon against dark times.
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Charlie Jane Anders on encouraging the therapeutic power of storytelling:
I definitely wanted this book to be for anybody who might find it helpful, including people who maybe don’t write science fiction or just write other genres, people who are writing fan fiction and people who are writing for themselves and never intend to show it to anybody else. One thing that’s sometimes a little alienating about writing manuals or advice books is this assumption that you are going to want to have a professional career as a writer, and that means you need to person up. I don’t want to say man up, but adult human definitely. There are times in the book where I try to talk about how even if you’re doing creative nonfiction, this can be helpful. But really also, even if you’re just daydreaming and making up stories in your own head, I feel like the world is made out of narratives and politics is constructed out of narratives. Our relationship to each other is all made out of stories we tell ourselves. Finding ways to think about storytelling is, I think, therapeutic for anybody. And I do think that good writing advice is, at least to some extent, a little bit therapeutic in terms of just making people feel okay about what they’re doing.
Becky Chambers on the power of a cup of tea:
This is the cup of tea that’s going to give you what you need right now. It’s not a magic potion. and it’s not a cure-all. It’s just here’s a little something to help you get through the day. I wanted to to underline that thing I said earlier of this idea of small comforts, of the little stuff, is what gives you the strength to tackle the big things. And so it seems like a really perfect fit, because a cup of tea is in a lot of ways nothing. It’s just a drink; it’s just something you have on your desk. And yet a cup of tea can make the whole difference in your afternoon. I love to drink tea when I work. It’s really different than just grabbing a glass of water or whatever. It’s comforting. It’s soothing. You’re taking just five minutes to do something nice for yourself.