My podcast convo with bestselling “Bittersweet” author Susan Cain: “Longing For The Beautiful World”
At long last, presenting my podcast interview with Susan Cain:
“LONGING FOR THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD”
IT IS THREE YEARS AFTER THE FAST….because it took that long for her book to wrap up and come out, but it is FINALLY TIME!
THE ART OF ASKING EVERYTHING IS BACK….for a moment.
Susan and I sat down in Edinburgh in the summer of 2019 to talk about longing, art, WHY GOTH MATTERS, wholeness and emptiness and all the things she was mulling around for her book. It’s realllly good.
You can find the podcast ANYWHERE YOU LISTEN TO PODCASTS, but we’ve also got a nice handy list of links here to help:
Here it is, directly, on my website, you can just play it right off the site.
OR, it’s HERE on spotify and HERE on apple podcasts.
If you’re more of a reader than a listener, we also have a FULL TRANSCRIPT attached to this post, transcribed by our little Merch-and-Patreon-elf Alex, so you can go ahead and get stuck into that if that’s your thing.
IF IT RESONATES….
PLEASE SHARE IT.
In addition, just to get giddy and happy that the talk is proliferating out into the world…the TED podcast, TED TALKS DAILY, did a little spot on Susan’s talk, book, plus a snippet of our podcast today. YAY US.
It’s lovely if you wanna hear what they selected…but it’s a repeat of what’s in the OG podcast
More about Susan; here’s her introduction from her website, in her own words:
Hi, I’m Susan.
I prefer listening to talking, reading to socializing, and cozy chats to group settings. I like to think before I speak (softly). Until a few years ago, I was terrified of public speaking, and I am still amazed that such a giant fear is conquerable. During the last few years, I’ve given hundreds of talks, a fun fact that would have astonished my childhood—even my 40-year-old—self.
I dream big and have audacious goals, and I see no contradiction between this and my quiet nature.
I live on the banks of the Hudson River in an 1822 captain’s cottage with my beloved husband, sons, and magnolia trees. My favorite activities are reading, writing, lounging around café and traveling the world with my family. Lately, I’ve also been on a tennis kick.
A few times a year, I try to like cooking. I use a lot of old-fashioned expressions. I’m insatiably curious about human nature.
To me, one of the best things in the world is that sublime moment when a writer, artist, or musician manages to express something you’ve always felt but never articulated, or at least never quite so beautifully.
She’s done TWO TED talks, and they’re both pretty astounding…
(Photo by James Duncan Davidson)
This is Susan Cain’s TED talk from 2012, titled “The Power of Introverts:
She also did a SECOND TED talk, just this year, about “The hidden power of sad songs and rainy days”, accompanied by violinist Min Kym…
and, as you can learn in the podcast, I was THERE.
I saw this talk a few days before our chat, and I was so so inspired.
Her new book:
Her new book “Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole” just came out in April… and, of course, immediately went to #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List.
Here’s the blurb: In her inspiring new masterpiece, the author of the bestselling phenomenon “Quiet” describes her powerful quest to understand how love, loss and sorrow make us whole – revealing the power of a bittersweet outlook on life.
Bittersweetness is a tendency towards states of longing, poignancy and sorrow; an acute awareness of passing time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world. It recognizes that light and dark, birth and death – bitter and sweet – are forever paired.
If you seek out beauty in your everyday life . . .
If you find comfort or inspiration in a rainy day . . .
If you react intensely to music, art and nature . . .
Then you probably identify with the bittersweet state of mind.
With Quiet, Susan Cain urged our society to cultivate space for the undervalued, indispensable introverts among us, thereby revealing an untapped power hidden in plain sight. Now she employs the same mix of research, storytelling
and memoir to explore how embracing the bittersweetness at the heart of life is the true path to creativity and connection.
Cain shows movingly how a bittersweet state of mind – though we’ve been blind to its value – is the quiet force that helps us transcend our personal and collective pain. It can change the way we live, the way we work and the way we love. If we realize that all humans know – or will know – loss and suffering, we can turn towards one another.
At a time of profound discord and personal anxiety, Bittersweet brings us together in deep and unexpected ways.
Click here to find where to buy it
I also highly recommend checking out her first book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking
If you want to follow her on social media you can find her here:
There’s also a whole beautiful section of her site with ‘Resources’, including a QUIZ to determine how bittersweet you are…
And, want some REAL BITTERSWEET MUSIC?
SUSAN PUT TOGETHER A PLAYLIST…..
SO I DID, TOO:
It was pretty impossible.
Every single fucking song I’ve ever written is Bittersweet.
There wasn’t a single song on “There Will Be No Intermission” that isn’t Bittersweet.
I GUESS IT IS MY THING.
The New York Times also wrote a great article about the book during release week…
And since we talked about sad songs, and bittersweet songs, I felt inspired to create a playlist of some of the most bittersweet songs by YOURS TRULY, which you can find on Spotify here…
((INSERT SPOTIFY SCREENSHOT WHEN PLAYLIST HAS BEEN MADE))
Here are some photos from our recording studio in Edinburgh, back in the summer of 2019…remember???? BEFORE THE THINGS HAPPENED???
And here’s a photo of me and Susan in color…in Edinburgh outside the studio…it’s been so long that the photo credit is lost, but it was either (on my phone) Alex Knight or Gaby Motola….
And I did this to it.
Because, Bittersweet, and to make Susan look more like the GOTH SHE TRULY IS.
And a little note from Susan about the (long-awaited) release of the podcast:
Dear Lovely Fans of Amanda,
Just wanted to say that I’m so thrilled that you all are listening to this Bittersweet conversation, some three years after we first recorded it!! At the time, I thought my book would be out within a year or so, plus we had no idea that a pandemic was about to descend upon us. But sitting with Amanda, in her makeshift Edinburgh recording studio, was one of the great highlights of that TEDdish trip, and it makes me happy now, just to recall it. I hope it makes you happy to listen.
Recorded at Canongate Studios, Edinburgh, Scotland – June 25th, 2019
Engineered by Al George
Intro and outro recorded July 26th 2022 in Woodstock, NY at Applehead Studio – August 2nd, 2022
Engineered by Christopher Bittner
That’s it, my loves.
I’ll be back soon with info about SATURDAY’s LIVE-STREAMED SHOW from NY.
Hold the night: Aug 13th, around 8pm EST.
There’s a lot going on back to back.
It is ALWAYS THUS.
——THE NEVER-ENDING AS ALWAYS———
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