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Salvational or "a series of compulsions"?
Bowen Dwelle in conversation with Sam Kahn of Castalia
This conversation is part of an ongoing series of conversations with fellow writers including several on Substack such as Michael Mohr, Lyle McKeany, and Sex at Dawn author Chris Ryan as well as others including master coaches Michael Lipson and Robert Ellis, ultra-ultra-runner Charlie Engle and legendary sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson.
Today’s conversation is between, the writer behind , who also writes as part of the collective, and who writes, which includes his serialized memoir of the same name.
Sam and I got together for a deep and wide-ranging conversation covering how we came to writing on Substack, the questions of why write? and is it hard?, figuring out how to tell the truth, the challenges of editing, using addiction as the “hinge” for writing, how life can seem like “a series of compulsions,” how writing can be “salvational,” as well as the power of community for writers. We also get to one of my favorite topics: masculinity and identity, which is as complicated—or as simple—as you want to make it. Either way, as Sam puts it, “it’s a valid topic.” Finally, the epistemological boundary between arguing a point of meaning vs. speaking from personal experience, reconnecting with our wild center, and, of course, what we’re working on next.
If you’re someone who values authentic, honest, deep, vulnerable conversations between working writers, we think you’ll get a lot out of this discussion.
Following the interview are links to some of our writing, some other writers of memoir on Substack, and some questions for you. We’d love to hear from you!
Listen in the player at the top of the page, or watch the interview on video:
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Sam writes aton literature, politics, and personal reflections.
Some of our writing
Bowen: Sex is Better Sober
Other writers we recommend on Substack Just Enough to Get Me in Trouble The Bright Life Make Me Good Soil
📖 The Revolt of the Public, Martin Gurri
📚 Bowen’s complete “for men” reading list.
Men’s Writing Group on Substack
Bowen hosts a monthly group for men on Substack writing memoir, autofiction, personal essay and other first-person informed work. This group already includes several strong writers Michael Mohr Latham Turner Joshua Doležal Lyle McKeany Dee Rambeau. Participation is by request and invitation. If you’re interested in joining us, please complete this questionnaire.
We’ve got some questions for you
Why do you write? Is there a subject or personal complex that serves as a hinge for your writing?
What are your own compulsions?
Is writing redemptive (or just another compulsion)?
How does Substack change the way we think about writing, art, and sharing ideas?
Did you enjoy this conversation?
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