Episode 130 – Funerals And Fire Eating With Allison Williams!

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The Newbie Writers’ Podcast

Special Guest: Allison Williams



Allison Williams
Photo credit: Mi Ko
The funeral story –
Postcards from Shakespeare and my other plays –

Allison’s group::

We’re the Aerial Angels, a high-flying show from Kalamazoo, Michigan, featuring acrobatics, fire-eating, whip-cracking, trapeze
and aerial fabric.

 Performing on our hot pink, freestanding rig, we’ve charmed audiences from corporate affairs to street festivals, blending smart comedy with edge-of-your-seat thrills. 

We’re real. We’re good. We’re the Aerial Angels. 


Tell us about your essays!

Tell us about your travels.

How did you get involved with Aerial Angels and what inspired you to write?

Is writing like acrobatics?

– Yesterday I moved to Dubai to focus on writing full-time. I planned to come for an event management job that fell through, so I figured that was the universe saying, write full-time.

– I’m in the process of querying, and would love to give some insight on specific, measurable steps that writers can take to polish their query, figure out who wants it, and keep track of a confusing and intimidating process. You mentioned a couple of podcasts ago that people always say “Oh I got lucky and got an agent” and you don’t think it’s luck. I’ve been working on it for four years and I can tell your listeners what I did to get here (8 agents want me to query, I have referrals to 3 more, and after my first two queries (last week) I’m at one referral and one request for full.

– I think rejection should be completely recast in a way that makes the writer feel way less bad – the idea that we don’t have the right to impose our taste on everyone else.

– I’m starting a new service, The Unkind Editor. All the ads in the back of Poets & Writers tout “kind, loving, nurturing” editors. All the writers I know say “Please give me harsh feedback! I want it straight up!” So here’s the blurb on my new website –

“Praise makes you happy, criticism makes you improve. Sometimes “scrap it and do something else” is the best encouragement. Tired of friends kissing your manuscript’s ass? Get real feedback and get better.”

 – I’m also starting a new online, video-based course, How To Get Published In Literary Magazines. This covers specific steps a writer can take to find the right home for their work and get it published. We start with the 3 P’s – are you in this for Prestige, Publication or Payment?

We may not get to all (or any) of those, but it’s something to start with 🙂 And my basic bio –

Guerrilla memoirist, essay writer, playwright and travel journalist, Allison Williams is a former academic and current circus aerialist. She has written about race, culture and comedy for National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor and Travelers’ Tales.

Her fiction has appeared in Crossed Genres, Smokelong Quarterly and The Drum; her plays include the Heidemann Award finalist Miss Kentucky, scripts for NPR’s All Ears Theatre, and the London Fringe Best Of Fringe winner, TRUE STORY.

As a storyteller, Allison has performed at London’s Theatre Royal and Rich Mix, Filocafe in Mumbai and The Kautilya Society in Varanasi, India, and is a two-time winner of The Moth StorySLAM.

Allison has traveled to India, Dubai and South Africa as a civil rights worker and journalist. As an aerialist and acrobat, she has performed in 23 countries. She blogs at www.idowords.net.


Poem of the Month

To commemorate ANZAC Day.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning

We will remember them.

Love After Love

The time will come 

when, with elation 

you will greet yourself arriving 

at your own door, in your own mirror 

and each will smile at the other’s welcome, 

and say, sit here. Eat. 

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 

for another, who knows you by heart. 

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 

peel your own image from the mirror. 

Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott


Did sarcasm not work? For National Poetry try writing a poem the length of a tweet or a haiku, which very much like a tweet. How much can you say in only three lines, 17 syllables (more or less) or 140 characters? I’ll help you –

the moon is like

The early fall sounds

I hate

Have fun, tweet your masterpiece to me @cbramkamp

Tortured Sentences:

I can get information on driving. Channel 2 tells about all the freeway and bridges.

Bring out your dead:


Shout outs:

Carl McAteer for reviving old books. Some are not timeless at all. E.g Windows ME for Dummies.

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