Crafting a Life in Recovery, with Prof. Melissa Febos

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Melissa Febos is one of our most accomplished memoirists and essayists, a passionate and fiercely honest writer who, across several of her works, has often discussed her own path through addiction and into recovery. (Among her many, many accolades, she is the recipient of a 2022 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and a National Book Critics Circle Award.) I was thrilled to talk with her on this latest episode of Flourishing After Addiction and learn more about this harrowing and inspiring part of her life.
There are so many gems in this episode. We talk about Melissa's experience of addiction and how she works her recovery program today . We discuss how her creative practice is part of that recovery; how evaluation, performance, and internal and external criticism was problematic for her; and how writing helped her in recovery. How her definition of recovery expanded over time. How she had to write to survive, and then to thrive. Whether you're interested in the craft of writing, or just how to craft a life, you shouldn't miss this one.
Melissa Febos is the bestselling author of four books, most recently, Girlhood, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, LAMBDA Literary, The British Library, and others. Her work has appeared in publications including The Paris Review, Granta, The Believer, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, and many more.She is an associate professor at the University of Iowa. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, her faculty page and her author website.
In this episode:
- her books:
Whip Smart
Abandon Me
Girlhood
Body Work
Some of her recent longform:
- "The Kindest Cut" in the New York Times Magazine
- “Jeanette Winterson, My Therapist, and Me” in the New York Review of Books
- Girlhood excerpt in the New York Times
- “Do You Want to Be Known For Your Writing, or For Your Swift Email Responses?” in Catapult
Also mentioned: Resmaa Menakem, author of My Grandmother’s Hands and The Quaking of America
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