I, for once, was on the interviewee side of an interview when I was a guest on the unique podcast Other You by Daniel Moreno. A creative memoir writer in his own right, Moreno’s unusual approach to podcasting is to ask subjects about a certain time in their lives when they made a big decision or a big change, then he writes a short story about, “What if you hadn’t made that change?” Basically, he re-imagines your life, using the interview as a writing prompt. It’s a very clever way for him to get inspired to write while also creating a sense of accountability. Moreno’s avid podcast listeners enjoy his life re-imaginings, as did I! Importantly, he turned out to be great at telling a story of childhood while staying away from pop psychoanalysis— often a real bugaboo of memoir writers.
Sleazy Peach: A Memoir of Transformation
The story I told is something I’m exploring in my upcoming book Sleazy Peach: a memoir about moving cross-country, seeing my first tarantula, eating my first junk food, and completely re-inventing myself at the age of twelve. I told Moreno about the strange but also dreadfully ordinary life my family lived in Muncie, Indiana, and the justification for our move. He really explored the subject with enthusiasm and his own unique memoir writing style.
My story covers the all-important topics of massive snow forts, Olivia Newton John’s new image, dark sisterly dynamics, and getting tricked into going to someone else’s church. The interview barely touches on any of the subjects covered in Sleazy Peach— Muncie turned out to be a richer subject than I ever remembered, and we talked about a huge variety of things–but it sets the scene for this new endeavor. I hope you’re amused by the story and its setting that pairs beautiful fields of Queen Anne’s lace with cultish religious extremism.
What is Your “Other You” Story?
Furthermore, I hope it inspires you to ask yourself–what big change did I make in my life that set me on a whole new path? If I hadn’t taken that new path, what would my life be like? These are the kinds of questions that inspire great memoirs and make writers re-think our lives from a new vantage point. Enjoy it at this link: https://www.danielmoreno.me/other-you-series/rubyperu