Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Helen Zuman, author of Mating in Captivity. This book is a memoir of her five years, post-Harvard, at Zendik Farm, a neo-hippie cult with a radical take on sex and relationships. Her memoir has received many honors. It got a starred review from Kirkus and was named Kirkus Best Indie Memoir of 2018, and it was a finalist in Creative Nonfiction for the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses’ 2019 Firecracker Award. Today we’ll be talking about the craft and process behind Mating in Captivity.
In this episode Helen and I discuss:
- How blogging and memoir classes got her the feedback she needed to develop her manuscript.
- What is healing about writing a memoir and how it can help you cope with confusing, painful, and difficult personal experiences.
- Why she didn’t always use pseudonyms for her characters.
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.
About the Author
Helen Zuman is the author of MATING IN CAPTIVITY (She Writes Press 2018), a memoir of her five years, post-Harvard, at Zendik Farm, a neo-hippie cult with a radical take on sex and relationships. MATING IN CAPTIVITY received a starred review from Kirkus, was named a Kirkus Best Indie Memoir of 2018, and was a finalist in Creative Nonfiction for the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses’ 2019 Firecracker Award. Born in London and raised in Brooklyn, she currently homesteads with her husband on a steeply sloped quarter acre in Beacon, New York.
You can learn more about Helen by visiting her on Twitter and Reddit.
Mating in Captivity: A Memoir
When recent Harvard grad Helen Zuman moved to Zendik Farm in 1999, she was thrilled to discover that the Zendiks used go-betweens to arrange sexual assignations, or “dates,” in cozy shacks just big enough for a double bed and a nightstand. Here, it seemed, she could learn an honest version of the mating dance—and form a union free of “Deathculture” lies. No one spoke the truth: Arol, the Farm’s matriarch, crushed any love that threatened her hold on her followers’ hearts. An intimate look at a transformative cult journey, MATING IN CAPTIVITY shows how stories can trap us and free us, how miracles rise out of crisis, how coercion feeds on forsaken self-trust.
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!
(Right-click to download.)
If you liked this episode…
Also, remember that sharing is caring so if you know anyone who might enjoy this podcast, please tell them about it or leave us a review so other listeners will want to check it out.
Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!