This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast features an interview with Jacob M. Appel, one of the most prolific, accomplished, yet humble people in America. Appel is an author, poet, bioethicist, physician, lawyer and social critic best known for his short stories, his work as a playwright, and his writing in the fields of reproductive ethics, organ donation, neuroethics and euthanasia. He is the director of Ethics Education in Psychiatry and an associate professor of psychiatry and medical education at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and he practices emergency psychiatry within the adjoining Mount Sinai Health System. Appel writes for both The Huffington Post and Opposing Views, and he has obtained ten degrees from various institutions, including Harvard Law School and Columbia Medical School.Appel is the subject of the 2019 documentary film Jacob by director Jon Stahl. Stahl’s film attempts to answer what makes polymaths, like Jacob, who seem to live several lives concurrently, so different. The documentary questions if polymaths' profound intellect is a gift or a burden while trying to uncover if they are happy and satisfied in life. Approaching Jacob both through direct interviews and the testimonies of his friends, Stahl considers Appel through an emotional lens, rather than an intellectual one.In this episode host Michael Shields and Jacob Appel discuss Jacob’s writing style and method before Appel, a prolific writer, offers advice to fellow writers on the importance of the first line, how to deal with editorial rejections, and perseverance being the key to success in writing. They discuss what it was like for Appel to be the subject of a popular documentary, how his studies in numerous fields contribute to his craft, and ultimately, the episode serves as an ode to those in life whose aim is to never stop learning.
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