I’ll Find Myself When I’m Dead is a podcast about the literary essay, a genre of writing that’s hard to define. Essays are nonfiction, more or less, and they’re (usually) short. Beyond that, nobody really agrees about what a literary essay is, so we–two writers, professors, and colleagues in a creative nonfiction MFA program–decided to start a podcast to figure it out. Once a week or so, we’ll talk to literary guests, read and discuss our favorite essays, and debate what is and isn’t an essay.
Elena Passarello is the author of two essay collections, Let Me Clear My Throat and Animals Strike Curious Poses, but she’d still be hard-pressed to give you a specific outline of what a literary essay is and what it can do. She has published essays about ventriloquists, psychic octopuses, Anna Karenina, and the one-hit-wonder “Return of the Mack.” Elena teaches in undergraduate and MFA Creative Writing Programs at Oregon State University, where she frequently annoys her students by refusing to define the essay and by making too many puns. You can hear her every weekend on the radio variety show LiveWire, which airs on 175 radio stations across North America.
Justin St. Germain is the author of the memoir Son of a Gun, which won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and was named a best book of the year by Amazon, Publishers Weekly, Salon, Library Journal, and BookPage, among others. He has written essays about police violence, Truman Capote, Terrence Malick, his family’s history of driving Camaros, the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies, a historical map of his hometown, and a Warren G concert; they have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Tin House, New England Review, DIAGRAM, Territory, Barrelhouse, Hobart, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. He grew up in Tombstone, Arizona, and attended Arizona public schools. He has a BA and MFA from the University of Arizona, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. He lives in Oregon with his wife and stepson, and teaches true crime and creative nonfiction courses at Oregon State.