33 episodes

Exploring how stories make a difference in our lives.

Story Made Podcast Matt Sawyer

    • Arts
    • 4.7 • 12 Ratings

Exploring how stories make a difference in our lives.

    Julyan Davis

    Julyan Davis

    Our conversation this week is with Julyan Davis - artist, writer, narrative painter of the American South and West, explorer of lost stories, child of England and citizen of the world.
    “If you’re able to find beauty in what everyone else doesn’t consider for a second, there’s a great richness in that. In a way you’ve made your own discovery.” In 1988, Julyan wandered into Sotheran’s Rare Books in London, England and discovered ‘Stars Fell on Alabama’ by Carl Carmer. Transfixed by the state’s history and a 19th century colony settled by Napoleonic exiles, he followed his curiosity to the source. After a few months spent working odd jobs and saving money, he set off on a great adventure from England to the American South – the untidy land of wistful melancholy that would shape his art and life. He’d eventually settle in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, finding in them a strange kinship and connection to his homelands.
    When he was struggling to earn a spot at an art school, Julyan decided to take his own advice. He found the meeting point of all his particular interests and created a life there. He pursued his dream with conviction and certainty for so long that by the time he realized how difficult it would be, it was too late. He was an artist.
    In this episode you’ll hear Julyan talk about his great adventure from England to Alabama, walking as a lifestyle, finding beauty where others don’t look, the never-ending story of American Ghosts, connecting Appalachia and the Scottish borders, the art of creating for yourself, creating a timeless children’s story for his son, and much more. 
    Location: Julyan's home | Asheville, NC
    Visit Julyan's Website!
    Buy his debut novel, A History of Saints
    Mentioned in this episode, for you to explore:
    The Mind of the South by W.J. Cash
    Excerpts from The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
    The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
    Stars Fell on Alabama by Carl Carmer
    Carson McCullers
    Searching for the Wrong-Eyes Jesus
    Caspar David Friedrich
    City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, NC
    To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Bruce Chatwin: One of the Last Great Explorers
    Walking with Werner Herzog
    Paris, Texas (1984)
    The Story of Picher, Oklahoma
    'There's No Memory of the Joy.' Why 40 Years of Superfund Work Hasn't Saved Tar Creek
    Cheap Old Houses
    Edward Hopper
    Andrew Wyeth
    Populism and the World of Oz
    Dark on Netflix
    The Storied South by William Ferris
    Helpmate Domestic Violence Services
    How Erwin, Tenn. Is Reinventing Its Legacy of Killing Mary The Elephant
    The Professor's House by Willa Cather
    'Luddite' Teens Don't Want Your Likes
    A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
    Glenis Redmond
    'Weather Vane' by Common Market
    'Language of My World' by Macklemore
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
    Eugenics and Sex Harmony by Rubin Herman
    Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane

    • 2 hr 2 min
    Elon Justice

    Elon Justice

    Our conversation this week is with Elon Justice - filmmaker, writer, creator of the Appalachian Retelling Project, and child of Pikeville, Kentucky. 
    "Challenging the narrative of Appalachia - one story at a time." Raised in Eastern Kentucky, Elon heard stories from her family that taught her who she is and where she comes from - and to be proud of it. But she also saw firsthand how negative, steretypical images of her home had the power to cause harm to the people and places she loved. So she decided to do something to change that.
    Rooted in co-creation, the Appalachian Retelling Project shares stories that lift unheard voices and give an honest glance into what it means to be from the mountains. The people of Appalachia are tired of others talking about who they are, so this is a space for them to talk back. "Mountains stories, on our own terms" - as they should be told. 
    In this episode, Elon talks about growing up in Pikeville, the influence of her family, her first recollections of Appalachian stereotypes, moving away for college, her wild and powerful journey to the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT), why she started the retelling project, co-creation and community-based storytelling, and much more. I hope you listen!
    Check out The Appalachian Retelling Project website
    and elonjustice.com
    Mentioned in this episode, for you to explore:
    The Brier Sermon – You Must Be Born Again by Jim Wayne Miller
    Pikeville Cut-Through drone video
    Hillsville Remembered: Public Memory, Historical Silence, and Appalachia's Most Notorious Shoot-Out by Travis Rountree
    Justified on Hulu
    John Dils
    General William Ratliff
    Frank Waller
    Effie Waller Smith
    The Collected Works of Effie Waller Smith
    Breaks Interstate Park: The Grand Canyon of the South
    Beyond Coal: Imagining Appalachia's Future
    Diane Sawyer’s Hidden America: Children of the Mountains
    Billy Ray Cyrus' trip to Kentucky on American Idol
    We're not going to watch 'Hillbilly Elegy', and we hope you won't either
    100 Days in Appalachia on the legacy of Deliverance 
    The Moonshiner (1904)
    The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow (book, 1954)
    The Dollmaker (movie, 1984)
    Katerina Cizek
    Collective Wisdom - Co-Creating Media for Equity and Justice by Katerina Cizek and William Uricchio
    Sarah Wolozin
    Elaine McMillion Sheldon
    Hollow - An Interactive Documentary 

    • 1 hr 40 min
    Suzi Altman

    Suzi Altman

    Our conversation this week is with Suzi Altman: photographer, caretaker of folk-art treasure Margaret's Grocery, and Mississippian by way of Youngstown, OH and New York City. 
    "I couldn't just let that be forgotten or overlooked." When Suzi moved to Mississippi, she received the gifts of friendship with James Meredith, "Preacher" Dennis, and Margaret Rogers Dennis. She didn't take them for granted, working tirelessly to honor, preserve, and amplify James' rightful place in history and save iconic folk-art site Margaret's Grocery. In spite of everything, Suzi keeps going because she keeps her promises. She doesn't wait for the miracle. She sees it and shows up for it every day. 
    In this episode you'll listen to Suzi's journey to Mississippi, how a photograph started a special friendship with James Meredith, the simple beauty of Preacher and Margaret, her fight to save Margaret's Grocery and her own life, the power of saying 'yes', and much more. 
    Location: Suzi's home in Brandon, Mississippi. 
    Suzi Altman's website
    The Story of Margaret's Grocery in Vicksburg, Mississippi
    Donate to help Save Margaret's Grocery
    Mentioned in this episode:
    'Tell Me a Story' by Robert Penn Warren
    David Milch - Every Story is a "Showing Up"
    Brink Lindsey's "The Permanent Problem" 
    John Maynard Keynes
    Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
    Lorelei Books in Vicksburg, MS
    40 Years After Infamy, Ole Miss Looks to Reflect and Heal
    The Rainbow Room at the Rockefeller Center
    Maude Schuyler Clay
    Eyes on Mississippi: A Fifty-Year Chronicle of Change by Bill Minor
    Willie Tankersley
    Dan Rather Interview with James Meredith
    Oral history interview with 'Chooky' Falkner
    Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta by Tom Rankin
    Anson Sheldon, pro-segregation rioter at the University of Mississippi in 1962
    Proud to Call Mississippi Home by Checky Herrington
    Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS
    Derrick Bell, The Man Behind Critical Race Theory
     Joe Minter's African Village in America

    • 2 hr
    Lee Stockdale

    Lee Stockdale

    Our conversation this week is with Lee Stockdale - acclaimed poet, Army veteran, and winner of the 2022 United Kingdom National Poetry Prize.  
    For 10 years, Lee felt a slab on his head - to infinity in every direction - weighing him down. His father, Grant Stockdale, was close friends with John F. Kennedy and, overcome by grief, jumped to his death ten days after the assassination. Due to the shame, stigma, and guilt, he didn't talk about it. But with the help of an extraordinary therapist, a chance enounter with Patti Smith, and cab ride with Jackie Kennedy, Lee felt the weight lift; the loneliness give way to connection. He started doing the things his father did. He finished college, got married, had children, and built a life worth living. And just like his mother, Alice Boyd Stockdale, he started writing poetry to move through the grief and into joy and healing. 
    In this episode you'll hear Lee talk about that journey to joy and healing, how writing brought him close to his father again, the influence of his mother's poetry on his life, the unsung wonder of Alice Notley, and some other fun stories featuring Bing Crosby, Yoko Ono, and Bob Hope. 
    Location: Lee's living room in Fairview, NC.
    Visit Lee's website
    Buy his book of poems Gorilla
     Watch and listen to Lee read his award winning poem, 'My Dead Father's General Store in the Middle of a Desert'
    Mentioned in this epsiode:
    Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
    Quote from Dante: The Divine Comedy
    Midway Books in St. Paul, MN
    Where the Roots Reach for Water by Jeffery Smith
    James Hillman
    Wendell Berry
    City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, NC
    Grant Stockdale
    Can Antioch College Return From the Dead Again?
    The Fillmore East
    St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery Poetry Project
    Patti Smith
    Allen Ginsburg
    William Burroughs
    Gregory Corso
    Yoko Ono
    CBGB - Bithplace of NYC's Rock, Folk, and Punk Music
    Alice Notley
    The Village Voice
    Robert Wilson
    The Talking Heads
    the Ramones
    Are you Jackie Kennedy? by Lee Stockdale
    Alice Boyd Stockdale
    Humbird Live at Salon Sonics
    Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Grant Stockdale in England
    The Road to Hong Kong
    Jack Paar interview Robert Kennedy in 1964
    Brian Lamb
    St. Mark's Poetry Project Archive
    Alice Notley 101
    Alice Notley and the Art of Not Giving a Damn
    Ada Limon
    White Phosphorus by Alice Notley
    Samuel Beckett
    Anne Waldman
    Mary Oliver
    Hannah Kahn
    Ladies' Home Journal
    Young Man, Strolling by Alice Boyd Stockdale

    • 1 hr 59 min
    Castel Sweet

    Castel Sweet

    Our conversation this week is with Castel Sweet: Hip-Hop lover and scholar, Sociologist, Director of Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi, and child of Memphis, Tennessee. 
    So much good stuff in this episode: Hip-Hop feeling like home. The influence of Big K.R.I.T. and Outkast. The struggle of staying true to yourself. Music opening worlds and reminding you who you are. The disconnect between universities and their local communities. Turning theory into practice. How to make space for everyone. Why representation matters. Sharing knowledge and listening to lived experiences. Consistent curiosity and endless discovery. 
    Read Castel's Dissertation on hip-hop artists' interaction with their community
    Castel's SouthTalks: Does My Message Define My Role?
    Check out Castel at TedXUniversityofMississippi
    Mentioned in this episode:
    Big K.R.I.T.
    Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
    Tobacco Road by Common Market
    Connect For by Common Market
    Masta Ace on NPR Tiny Desk
    The genius of science: GZA & Science Genius
    The Blue Scholars
    RA Scion
    Nickerson Street Saloon - Vanishing Seattle
    Andre 3000 -  1995 Source Awards: 'The South Got Somethin' to Say'
    Clipse: 20 Years of Lord Willin'
    Three 6 Mafia's influence on hip-hop
    8Ball & MJG
    Elevators by Outkast
    Eliza Edens - 'Ineffable' live in studio
    RZA on redefining hip-hip and building generational wealth
    Lord Jamar & his contradictory ramblings sum up his soapbox career
    The Rural Studio: Educating Citizen Architects
    Ways of Being Home and Making Noise ~ The story of a skatepark by Cecilia Cornejo 

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Jordan Rushing

    Jordan Rushing

    Our conversation this week is with Jordan Rushing, Warren County's Old Court House Museum historian and child of Vicksburg, Mississippi. 
    How can you play and still accomplish something cool? I love that question. We talk in this episode about life-changing teachers, the legacy of Gordon Cotton, learning and work as play, Eva Whitaker Davis and the story of the Old Court House Museum, clandestine county seat swaps, iconic election-day debates on the courthouse lawn, Reconstruction and diversifying Vicksburg, and much more.
    This one goes out to all the teachers who sparked my curiosity and imagination. I owe my life to you. 
    Location: Old Court House Museum | Vicksburg, Mississippi
    Visit the musuem! 
    Visit Vicksburg - The Key to the South
    Mentioned in this episode:
    How Eva Whitaker Davis Saved a Warren County Institution
    PJ McGann
    Jonathan Marwil
    Gordon Cotton
    Bubba Bolm
    The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
    Vicksburg National Military Park
    B.L.C. Wailes 
    Seargent Smith Prentiss
    Peculiar Digs: The strange life of Washington Green
    How Vicksburg almost became the capitol of Mississippi
    Annual Lebanese dinner in Vicksburg
    Peter Crosby, Warren County's first black sherriff and the Vicksburg Massacre of 1874
    Pat Cashman and The Vicksburg Post

    • 1 hr 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

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Fantastic podcast for book nerds

Thoughtful literary interviews.

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