In Episode 63, Helen Dea Bala (author of Craigslist Confessional) shares why she started Craigslist Confessional, how she decided to quit her job to pursue Craigslist Confessional full-time, and shares her own story of immigrating to the U.S. from Albania.
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My plan at this point is to return with a new full length episode on August 19 and resume a normal schedule from that point on.
In the meantime, I’ll still be sharing what I’m reading on the blog and sometimes on Instagram.
AND, my bonus podcast content for patrons (support the podcast on Patreon here) will NOT change during my break. I’ll still be releasing 2 bonus episodes per month…one book recommendations episode and one Superlatives episode.
- How a conversation with a homeless man in front of her D.C. office building gave Helena the idea for Craigslist Confessional.
- The story of quitting her job as a lobbyist to pursue Craigslist Confessional full-time.
- How her parents (who were extremely proud of her job as a lobbyist) felt about her quitting to do Craigslist Confessional full time…and how their feelings were shaped by their immigrant experience.
- How / why she decided to just listen to her Craigslist subjects without offering advice and what that was like.
- The logistics of getting these personal conversations into book form.
- How she cared for her own mental health while being enmeshed in these oftentimes horrific stories.
- What it was like to listen to stories told by the person who was doing the harm (rather than the victim).
- The two subjects she’s kept in communication with since their initial conversations.
Helena’s Book Recommendations [36:43]
Two OLD Books She Loves
- Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill | Buy from Amazon [37:02]
- Stay Up With Me by Tom Barbash | Buy from Amazon [40:00]
Two NEW Books She Loves
- Make It Scream, Make it Burn by Leslie Jamison | Buy from Amazon [42:42]
- No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol | Buy from Amazon [44:06]
One NEW RELEASE She’s Excited About
Rate It Game [48:47]
Other Books Mentioned
- Craigslist Confessional by Helena Dea Bala | Buy from Amazon [7:34]
- Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed | Buy from Amazon [7:50]
- This Is Pleasure by Mary Gaitskill | Buy from Amazon [37:38]
- The Girl on the Plane by Mary Gaitskill (Short Story) [37:51]
- The Mare by Mary Gaitskill | Buy from Amazon [38:37]
- Stray by Stephanie Danler (My Review) | Buy from Amazon [39:32]
- The Dakota Winters by Tom Barbash | Buy from Amazon [40:10]
- The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison | Buy from Amazon [42:52]
- All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister | Buy from Amazon [45:07]
- Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun (My Review) | Buy from Amazon [47:40]
- Mindhunter by John E. Douglas | Buy from Amazon [50:29]
- Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed | Buy from Amazon [12:45]
Helena Dea Bala immigrated to the United States as a child. To make ends meet during those difficult first years, she helped her mother clean houses on the weekends. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from George Washington University and worked to become a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington, DC. After her day job left her feeling disconnected and unfulfilled, she deferred her student loans, applied for a credit card, and gave herself one year—one year to just listen. Five years in, she now does Craigslist Confessional full time. Find out more at CraigslistConfessional.com.
The podcast will be on hiatus through mid-August.
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