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Word S4 E7: NPR’s Scott Simon On ‘Trying’ — Plus Creative Nonfiction

Welcome to the final episode of “Word” for this season.

As we close out 2020, we’re exploring nonfiction, something we don’t often discuss as a literary art form on this program.

And for a veteran living in Tucson, the act of writing a WWII biography was a challenge he didn’t expect.   

Plus, we’ll talk to NPR’s Scott Simon about the art of the essay that he features on "Weekend Edition Saturday," which you hear from 6 to 10 a.m. on KJZZ.

But first, Alli Cripe is a student at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

She developed a love for writing at a young age, but her early professional life took her in another direction as a model.

Cripe shares part of an autobiographical piece she wrote about picking up a shell on a beach across from Fukushima, Japan — one year prior to the tsunami that caused the greatest nuclear disaster in the 21st century.

Also, John Floyd talks creative nonfiction and describes the decades it took for him to write The Expendable, an account of his father-in-law’s experience in the Navy, fighting to liberate the Philippines in WWII.

He and his wife, Barbara, are both retired veteran medical professionals and live in Tucson.

Finally, I was grateful to catch up with NPR’s Scott Simon.

It was a unique pairing, as he's the national host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday and I provide local news and informational cut-ins throughout the program.

Regular listeners know that one of his talents is essay writing.

Some of the frequent devices he employs are history. Sometimes it’s a call for morality, maybe introspection as to we are as humans — and of course humor.

We talk about his writing process, editorial oversight, struggling for the correct word, inviting people to think and the art of trying to connect to one another in the age of COVID-19.

Portions of this program have been nominated for an Edward R. Murrow award.

We’ll be back in early 2021 with our annual haiku writing contest.

Until then, thanks for supporting public radio and the literary arts in Arizona and the region.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.