Maine’s finest writers are invited to chat with Lewis Robinson, creator of the Talk Shop Podcast recorded in his own backyard.
Inside of a 10×10 insulated shed in a backyard of Portland, Maine, Water Dogs author Lewis Robinson can be found either writing his own work or producing his podcast, Talk Shop. Born out of a desire to celebrate and articulate the thriving writer’s community in the area, Robinson and his show have carved out a deep and fruitful niche in the podcasting world.
“There are droves of terrific writers in Maine, and many of my favorites are in the Portland area,” says Robinson. “I wanted to capture this moment of literary burgeoning through a series of conversations.”
And so he does. Each podcast, which runs between 45 minutes to an hour, is a captivating and revealing one-on-one conversation that sheds a much-enjoyed light on the people whose words we have happily devoured inside our own homes. So far he’s spoken with the likes of Sara Corbett, Ben Rybeck, Susan Conley, and Bill Roorbach, to name a few. A writer himself, Robinson understands the processes and experiences of those he interviews, giving a true substance to these conversations that would otherwise be lacking from someone outside the field.
The value in creating this podcast and talking with writers, most of whom work solitarily, is not lost on Robinson. Talk Shop is an effective means for bringing together a group of people whose remote work-style can be a hindrance for creating community. The Portland writer’s scene, in particular, is a special one, and is emboldened by the efforts of Robinson and his show. “Our writing community, from my perspective, is warm and supportive. I enjoy the company of so many writers here, even though I don’t enjoy the company of writers generally. Here, we celebrate each other’s successes and commiserate about our failures.”
Written beneath each episode is a snappy description that sums up the show: “Writers talking shop in the original Portland.” That was a very intentional choice on Robinson’s part, whose allegiance to the Pine Tree State goes back to his childhood.
“I call our Portland the Original Portland because Portland, Oregon was named after us. Usually when people say ‘Portland’ it’s assumed they mean west-coast Portland. Saying “Original Portland” is just a gentle response to that presumption,” he explains. “There’s also a decent amount of original thinking going on here, in my opinion.”
If you’re interested in listening to that original thinking firsthand, there are currently 18 Talk Shop episodes and counting waiting for you online. Coming down the pike is an episode with Nicholson Baker, and a brand new book from Robinson himself.