Want to learn how to write an essay? Study The Memory Palace. Nate DiMeo, the podcast’s host, is a master of the form. Though, he says he’s not an essayist.
Essayist, storyteller… either way, Nate zooms in on the small details of historical events then expands them into big stories with universal themes. In fact, that’s part of the beauty of The Memory Palace – Nate’s uncanny ability to recognize the profound in the small. Sometimes they’re simple stories about dancing or manufacturing hats. Other times they’re complicated pieces on race like “Notes on an Imagined Plaque…” (my fav episode) featured on this HowSound.
The Memory Palace has been around since 2009 and joined the lineup of podcasts at Radiotopia last summer. The stories average length is usually between 10 to 15 minutes. Nate shies away from producing longer stories. He says he learned the value of brevity while working for NPR and Marketplace.
After Nate selects a topic, it sometimes takes a while before he starts writing. In fact, he’s a fan of procrastination. But, procrastination doesn’t mean he’s not working. He’s waiting to connect to a story emotionally. And once he does, he writes and rewrites for several hours over a few days.
Nate talks more about his writing process on HowSound including the benefit of “burying the lede.” After you listen, I urge you to subscribe (!) especially since The Memory Palace’s new fall season is just underway with lots of new episodes to come.