Hey there word nerds!
Today I have the pleasure of hosting Adam Cayton-Holland on the show!
Adam is an author and national touring comic who has appeared on shows including Conan, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, and Happy Endings just to name a few. He has also been named one of Esquire’s “25 Comics to Watch” and Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch.”
Adam has been described as “genial” and “with pretty decent teeth”, and co-created, writes, and stars in truTV’s show Those Who Can’t along with his fellow members of the comedy troupe, The Grawlix. His writing has appeared in places such as Spin and The Atlantic as well.
Adam is also the author of the new heart-wrenchingly gorgeous memoir Tragedy Plus Time.
Listen in as we chat about this amazing book and how to tackle a tragic event with humor on the page.
In this episode Adam and I discuss:
- The art of weaving someone else’s life along with yours in a memoir.
- How to create moments that feel real on the page and get readers to respond.
- The broader impact of memoir, and how to navigate that responsibility.
- Knowing what to cut out and what to fight for in revision.
- How to choose the right structure for your memoir.
Plus, Adam’s #1 tip for writers.
About Adam Cayton-Holland
Adam Cayton-Holland is a national touring comic who has appeared on Conan, @midnight, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, Happy Endings, Deadbeat, Flophouse, Hidden America with Jonah Ray, and was named one of Esquire’s “25 Comics to Watch” and Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch.” Adam co-created, writes, and stars in truTV’s Those Who Can’t along with his fellow members of the comedy troupe, The Grawlix. His albums I Don’t Know If I Happy and Backyards are available on iTunes, and his writing has appeared in Village Voice, Spin, The A.V. Club, and The Atlantic. Adam has been described as “genial” and “with pretty decent teeth.” He is the author of the memoir Tragedy Plus Time, which is available now.
To connect with Adam check out his website at adamcaytonholland.com.
Adam Cayton-Holland went from a painfully sensitive kid growing up in Denver, Colorado, to a writer and performer with a burgeoning career in comedy. His father, a civil rights lawyer, and his mother, an investigative journalist, taught Adam and his two sisters to feel the pain of the world deeply and to combat it through any means necessary. Adam chose to meet life’s tough breaks and cruel realities with stand-up comedy; his older sister pursued law like their father; their youngest sister, Lydia, perhaps the most brilliant and talented of the “Magnificent Cayton-Hollands”, struggled with mental illness and ultimately took her own life.
Adam and Lydia (“Lee”) grew up cracking jokes and running bits off one another, developing a similar, shared sense of humor. Their close bond continued through young adulthood as Lydia worked both at the door and behind the scenes giving incisive notes on Adam’s increasingly popular comedy shows. The devastating tragedy of Lydia’s suicide strikes the Cayton-Holland household at the same moment Adam’s career is finally taking off. Yet success is hollow as Adam falls deeper and deeper into his grief, reliving the trauma of Lydia’s death until he seeks help through Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
Both a moving tribute to a lost sibling and an inspiring meditation on mental illness, grief, and recovery, TRAGEDY PLUS TIME is an unsentimental, unexpectedly funny, and incredibly honest love letter to every family that has ever felt messy, complicated, or (even momentarily) magnificent. In the tradition of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and Truth & Beauty, this memoir offers a tender look at the bonds that hold a family together and the difficult truth that you can’t always save the person you love.
If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!
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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!