Episode 15: Writers Finding Community During The Pandemic with Carol Menaker & Wayne Lee

Hosted By: Mag Dimond

September 14, 2021

In this episode of the Bowing to Elephants Podcast, I offer my first roundtable conversation. Carol Menaker and Wayne Lee join me to discuss our respective manuscripts. We touch upon death, grief, and the racism firmly entrenched in our judicial system. 

Carol, Wayne, and I bonded through our writing program, Write to the Finish. We embarked on our writing adventure during the frightening and chaotic early days of the pandemic. Over time, the three of us inevitably became close. Today, we share our works in progress and what inspired us to write them!

What You Will Hear/Learn/Discover

[0:23]  Guest introductions

[2:45] Wayne answers the question, “How hard was it to separate your book content from your feelings about the pandemic?”

[7:55] Mag reveals hidden blessings she found in the pandemic.

[13:57]  Carol shares details about her experience serving as a juror on a black man’s murder trial. 

[16:49]  Mag, Carol, and Wayne discuss how the pandemic forces them to read and write more. 

[26:21]  Wayne talks about the painful experiences that led him to write Service Husband: A Caregiver’s Journey Through Disability, Suicide, & Recovery

[33:09] Carol explains her inspiration for The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done

[44:16]  Mag discusses how writers get overly attached to particular passages and how hard it can be to let go of them.

[48:44]  Wayne and Carol share things they’ve realized about themselves and their manuscripts. 


From Carol:

“I served on a jury 40 some years ago that convicted a black man of murdering a white prison warden. And it never left my mind that maybe things could have gone a different way. And at some point, before I started actually working on this project, I made up my mind that I wanted to figure out what really happened there.”

From Wayne:

“[While writing my memoir], there were just so many times when it was just like reopening a wound over and over again. And there were so many times when I just wanted it to have a chance to heal more, but I felt like I just had to keep doing that work … to honor the truth of the book.” 

“My view is that the first draft is the time to throw all the paint on the wall.”

From Mag:

“And all of us know about the awesome task of letting go and how powerful that is and how incredibly hard it is killing our darlings … You can be convinced that you need certain ways of saying things or certain anecdotes, but it turns out that you don’t. And, it takes somebody else to look at it [for you to realize this].”


Download the episode transcript here.

Connect with Carol Menaker & Wayne Lee

Wayne’s website: https://wayneleepoet.com/

Carol’s email: carol.menaker@gmail.com




From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for being here. If you haven’t already, come join the community!

Instagram: https://instagram.com/magdimondauthor
Website: https://bowingtoelephantspodcast.com

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