Gravy, Widow, Mermaid

Big Man

Episode: “Suburbs” | Podcast: The Gravy Train | 39m28s

Beginning of a series about a larger-than-life blond businessman who got elected to a major office. Except this one was Canadian, and became Mayor of Toronto in 2010 promising to “stop the gravy train” and “respect the taxpayer”. As this episode sets out, though, Rob Ford’s political ideas had been a decade in the making while he served as a councillor for a suburban district of the city. Ford’s drinking and drug-taking activities were merely a punchline to the rest of the world, the host says, but this series aims to show the full picture of what he did in office and how the city’s civic infrastructure coped (39m28s)

Family Secrets

Episode: “What Came Before" | Podcast: Committed | 35m00s

Profile of a widow and widower who met online in a grief support group when they were both 31. They became friendly, fell in love, and eventually decided to start a new kind of family — blending their 11 children into one new domestic unit. This moving episode tells Erica and Spencer’s love story, but it also looks at the — increasingly common — practice of creating new families after previous relationships have ended. They talk movingly about the challenges of becoming step parents and how they still include their first spouses in their lives, even though they have passed away (35m00s)

Am Writing

Episode: “Like Magic" | Podcast: Bestseller: A Self-Publishing Podcast by Reedsy | 23m24s

Branded podcast from a platform aimed at aspiring self published authors. This is the beginning of a series about writing for younger people while avoiding clunky language or cliché. The focus in this episode is on magical stories — the guest is a successful YA author and the creator of a mermaid-based fantasy series — and how to construct a world that is invitingly supernatural and escapist for readers while also having a decent structure. Too many fantastical devices and not enough recognisable character development can make a novel unreadable, this show argues (23m24s)

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