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The Easy Chair


Author Laura Hurwitz reads you a story, continued week to week.

Author Laura Hurwitz reads you a story, continued week to week.
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Author Laura Hurwitz reads you a story, continued week to week.




Episode 158: Mightier than the Sword

This week on The Easy Chair, it’s a relaxed return to Mightier Than the Sword, with co-host Steph Spaulding. This week Steph and I share our reading list summer picks. Here’s the context: the weather is hot, the air is heavy, and if you’re like us, you don’t feel like moving. You might consider this the perfect time to pick up a good read (and to this listen to podcast!) Steph’s top choice is a work of historical non-fiction, and mine is good ol’ literary fiction. We both weigh in. And just...


Episode 157: Heart to Heart

This week on The Easy Chair, it’s Heart to Heart, with my wonderful and wise co-host Jane Gross. This week we take on a difficult subject: heartbreak. It’s something most of us go must through, and Jane offers some ideas on how to successfully navigate the challenge of ending a relationship. Our conversation leads us to discuss ways to enter into a relationship with a healthy sense of boundaries and expectations. This is one episode that is truly empowering for those in the throes of the...


Episode 156: The Necklace

Today on The Easy Chair, just sit back and let me read you a classic short story: “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant. When the wife of a lowly clerk is invited to a fancy ball, she complains that she has no jewels to wear. When her husband suggests she borrow a necklace from a wealthy friend, it seems like an excellent idea, until...well, listen in and find out what happens next in this tale of vanity, envy, pride, and assumption. It's a return to the good old days! I love reading y'all a...


Episode 155: Mightier Than the Sword

This week on The Easy Chair, it’s Mightier Than the Sword! Steph and I talk about “Nanette”- the Netflix comedy special by Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby. If you haven’t seen it, OMG DO, and also, listen to us discuss just how groundbreaking it is. Gadsby does not give us a conventional stand-up comedy, but an intensely personal storytelling blending humor and pathos and spot-on social commentary. We are continuing our exploration of censorship, specifically of the female voice, and...


Episode 154: Heart to Heart

This week on The Easy Chair: It's “Heart to Heart” with co-host Jane Gross. This is an incisive and, okay, radical conversation about what made Donald Trump Donald Trump. Jane, who knows her stuff when it comes to her long-time profession puts on her psychologist hat to connect the dots between Trump the emotionally stunted child to Trump the world-class narcissist acting out from a place of unique power on an international stage. What are we supposed to learn from this man, and this...


Episode 153: The Telltale Heart

This week on The Easy Chair: “The Telltale Heart,” the classic twisted Victorian psychological thriller by Edgar Allen Poe. This story has been scaring the wits out of readers since it was first published in 1843. When the narrator of events insists to you that he’s not mad, there’s a pretty strong possibility that he is quite mad, indeed. This story of obsession, premeditation, gruesome murder and unbearable paranoia has stood the test of time- and I promise it will keep you riveted,...


Episode 152: Heart to Heart

This week on The Easy Chair: another episode of Heart to Heart, healing wisdom for creative souls, with co-host, artist, licensed therapist, and dear friend Jane Gross. Sometimes we are unwitting recipients of unanticipated negative reactions. From fielding angry emails and hurtful texts to facing the jerk who screams at you as you try your best to merge into traffic, we sometimes must confront negativity that blindsides us. What if the first reaction was calm, rather than frantic? Jane...


Episode151: Mightier than the Sword

This week, it’s another clear and honest episode of Mightier Than the Sword, the advice podcast for writers, readers, and people who may just be wondering what me and co-host Steph Spaulding have on our minds. Today, an email from a listener has us talking about censorship. It's a complicated topic. Do we, as female writers, self-censor before even putting our work out there? Is there a double standard for women and men, when it comes to being judged on the creative work we produce? From...


Episode 150: Heart to Heart

This week, it’s Heart to Heart, healing wisdom for the creative soul, with co-host Jane Gross. Today’s episode has many things to offer: an exploration of arguably what we humans crave more than anything. Jane’s answer might surprise you, just like it did me: I would have guessed love. What’s your guess? Tune in to find out Jane’s answer. Also, Jane takes listeners on an off-the-cuff guided meditation that is genuinely effective in helping to attain that aforementioned thing we humans want...


Episode 149: Gift of the Magi

This week: “The Gift of the Magi” is a classic short story by O Henry. This small gem is generally considered a Christmas story as well as an iconic example of comic irony. I would challenge the limits of these labels. This story about love and sacrifice is relevant for any time of year, and the lessons it imparts are not tied to one faith. While O. Henry certainly uses elements of both comedy and irony, his story tells what it means to love and sacrifice, and champions the notion that...


Episode 148: Bad Neighbor Part 2

The week's episode: Bad Neighbor, Part 2, by author Deborah Zervas. This culmination of Deborah’s story is intense and provocative. This fiction is a cautionary tale about how the power people living side by side have to both create and destroy community. If you ever wonder what might downshift an altruist into a vengeful misanthrope, well, pay attention to the unraveling of the narrator as she recounts the intrusions and annoyances she endures at the hands of her neighbors, and see if you...


Episode 147: Bad Neighbor Part 1

This week on The Easy Chair: I welcome back returning guest author Deborah Zervas for part one of her two-part story, Bad Neighbor. What does it mean to be a good neighbor? Perhaps a more relevant (and story-specific) question is, what does it take to make a bad neighbor? The narrator in this wry fictional tale is, like Deborah Zervas herself, a Midwest transplant to a Northeast city. She was raised with regional rules of civility, but a series of unfortunate neighbors seem hellbent on...


Episode146: Relevant Bits from I Like You by Amy Sedaris

I have been a long time planning the wedding for my daughter, Rachael. Guess what? The wedding is THIS WEEKEND. Yay, and YIKES. I needed something funny and light to read, since I didn't have time to write anything, so I settled on the hilarious “I Like You” by the hilarious Amy Sedaris. Today, I share some passages from her how to hostess book that are irreverent yet practical. How to be a guest. How to entertain guests. How to get rid of guests. Basically, it’s everything you need to...


Episode 145: Telling

This week, Steph and I are back with Mightier Than the Sword. Our topic: the difference between writing and storytelling. I step out of my comfortable narrative distance to tell a very difficult true story. Two weeks ago, I was the victim of a sexual assault. The ways people- from friends and neighbors to law enforcement- reacted to my story made me realize that I may be a decent writer, but I am not a reliable storyteller. Steph and I talk about how women who have been victimized often...


Episode 144: Hills Like White Elephants

This week's episode: "Hills Like White Elephants." This classic short story by Earnest Hemingway is widely considered most striking for everything that is revealed in the things are left unsaid. A man and a woman are waiting for the train to Barcelona. It is a hot afternoon. They are drinking beer at a bar and talking about the landscape, the weather, and whether or not the woman should have an abortion. Nothing is actually said about this last detail, but Hemingway’s inference is as heavy...


Episode 143: Writing: A Life Sentence

It’s a return to the old format, only instead of fiction I’m reading a witty social commentary by the inimitable humorist/social critic Fran Lebowitz. Lebowitz, author of Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, has been writing about what makes people and life annoying since the early seventies. My favorite Lebowitz quote: “The opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.” Her essay, “Writing: A Life Sentence,” is a textbook example of Lebowitz’s sardonic style....


Episode 142: Heart to Heart

This week on The Easy Chair, it’s Heart to Heart, healing wisdom for all of us humans, with co-host Jane Gross. This week Jane takes on the topic of asking for and accepting support from trusted sources. Getting help can be challenging for those, like yours truly and Jane, who generally find themselves in the helper role. Asking for help is, in fact, a vulnerable and brave thing to do. As with many of our best Heart to Heart convos, Jane and I start down a path with no planned destination,...


Episode 141: Mightier Than the Sword

This week, another fabulous episode of Mightier Than the Sword! Steph and I stay on last time's topic: travel writing. Steph reads her succinct, distinctly humorous reflection on her recent trip to Paris (here's an example: “The Eiffel Tower: I like it.”). I admit it: I slacked on my assignment to write something fresh about my recent travel experience to Norway, but I did rummage through my bookshelves to find a piece I wrote years ago for a coffee table book about the Cayman Islands and...


Episode 140: In the Field (with Deborah Zervas)

This week: “In the Field." Returning guest author Deborah Zervas reads three vignettes about time spent in remote places. Her experience of the wild's simultaneous profound connectivity and separation inform her writing, and her words transport us from of the everyday home and comfort zone to magical terra incognita. It should be noted that during this episode Charlie, my newly-adopted Westie, is curled under our feet, listening avidly to Deb’s recounting, especially when she gets to the...


Episode 139: Mightier Than the Sword, Travel Edition

It’s Mightier Than the Sword, Travel Edition! Steph and I are back from trips to Europe- Paris for Steph, and Bergen, Norway for me. We share snippets from our journeys, plus advice about travel writing in general. Whether promoting a travel destination or simply journaling, travel writing is challenging. Total immersion in new experience requires living in the moment, as opposed to taking notes. What makes for successful travel writing? We opine, and bust a few myths while we’re at it. If...