Episode 505 – Richard Butner

Virtual Memories Show 505:
Richard Butner

“I don’t visit my home town that often, and when I do, there’s that feeling that takes your breath away. Like the ghost towns that underlie or overlay the town’s current state. It’s an image and a feeling that I can’t get away from.”

Author Richard Butner joins the show to celebrate his marvelous first book, The Adventurists and Other Stories (Small Beer Press). We get into the F&SF story that started him on the writing path, his love of the fantastic in fiction, his background in engineering & how he has to throw it out the window when it comes to writing, and the theme of return that runs through his stories and the unfinished business it implies. We also talk about his history with Sycamore Hill Writers Workshop & how he ended up running it, how critiquing others’ stories can teach you more than having your own work critiqued, and his love of the short story as a form. Plus we discuss writing & performing theater and how he balances that collaborative art with the solo process of writing, his experience in immersive theater, my observation that changed the way he sees his stories, the impact of Kurt Cobain’s suicide on him & his friends, and a lot more. Give it a listen! And go read The Adventurists!

“What I tell people about Sycamore Hill Writers Workshop is that whether you make your living from writing or you have a day job, you get to go to place for a week where words and stories matter.”

“The sign of great art is collaboration between the artist and the audience.”

“I don’t mind pointful conflict, but I really hate pointless conflict.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest

Richard Butner‘s fiction has appeared in Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, been shortlisted for the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Fountain Award, and nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. He has written for and performed with the Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern, Aggregate Theatre, Bare Theatre, the Nickel Shakespeare Girls, and Urban Garden Performing Arts. His nonfiction — on topics ranging from computers to cocktails to architecture —has appeared in IBM Think Research, Wired, PC Magazine, The News & Observer, Teacher, The Independent Weekly, The North Carolina Review of Books, Triangle Alternative, and Southern Lifestyle. He lives in North Carolina, where he runs the annual Sycamore Hill Writers’ Conference. He and Harry Houdini have used the same trapdoor.

Follow Richard on Twitter and Instagram.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded remotely via Zencastr. I used a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Richard by Areon Mobasher. It’s on my instagram.

2 Replies to “Episode 505 – Richard Butner”

  1. Saying this, admittedly, as a person who was mentioned towards the end as “the king of” a certain (micro) genre, I think this was great. Your questions were really on point and really drew out Richard’s fascinating and cogent worldview. More speculative fiction writers, please! (Now I gotta go back and find the Chris Brown episodes.)

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