Memoirist Yolande House sits down with me for a book club conversation about Kae Tempest’s On Connection. It was a real pleasure to read this book alongside her and compare notes. And I hope those of you reading alongside us in our book club enjoy it.

About On Connection: This is a book about connection. About how immersing ourselves in creativity can help us cultivate greater self-awareness and bring us closer to each other.

After we discuss the book, stick around as Yolande House also shares highlights from her disability reading list.


Get a big “YES” for your writing from literary journals you love in this five-week guided course.


#88 Write, Publish, Shine Episode Transcript


Time codes Description
00:01 Episode Intro
02:16 Rachel’s introducing the book by reading its blurb…
03:26 Rachel’s introducing “Kae Tempest”
05:00 Rachel’s interview with “Yolande House”
05:34 Yolande’s first impression of On Connection.
09:20 How does this book enriched Yolande’s writing?
12:12 The questions Yolande found provocative raised in the book.
22:35 Preparation section and Kae Tempest’s question.
25:12 Midroll Ad here
30:20 Yolande’s favorite chapter.
34:01 How this book (On Connection), affected Yolande’s writing life?
39:26 Yolande’s disability reading list
44:33 Quick Lit Round by Rachel Thompson
46:50 Interview Outro & Discussion
48:32 Episode Outro


  1. Yolande House
  2. Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson:  00:01

The Lit Mag Love course will help you get a big “Yes” for your writing from a literary journal. This five-week course starts on January 10th and runs until February 14. I am so excited to offer this session and to help you get published. If you have a plan to publish your writing in Lit Mags in 2024, and you want to get serious about it with lots of support and feedback to help you stay accountable, get on track and understand exactly how to publish in literary magazines. Starting with; why you want to publish in literary magazines and really getting deep into a practice that’s going to help you get that big “Yes.” I would love to have you join us.


You can learn more and sign up at


Welcome luminous writers to the Write, Publish and Shine Podcast. I am your host, author and literary magazine editor Rachel Thompson. This podcast explores how to write and share your brilliant writing with the world. In each episode, we delve into specifics on how to polish and prepare your writing for publication, and the journey from emerging writer to published author.


Welcome luminous writers to the Write, Publish and Shine podcast. In this episode, it is a book club conversation. I’ve spoken for some time about how we have a book that we’re reading, and this is the conversation about it. I spoke with memoirist and member of my writing community, Writerly Love, Yolande House, who’s sat down with me for this book club conversation about Kae Tempest’s On Connection. It was a real pleasure to read this book alongside her and our members and to compare notes. I hope that those of you reading alongside us in our book club, enjoy this conversation. I will state that you don’t have to have read the book to enjoy this conversation. In fact to use this if you’d like to, to decide whether or not this is a book you want to spend your time with. That’s definitely some of the questions that we try to answer in our chat.


I’ll introduce the book with its blurb…

“This is a book about connection. About how immersing ourselves in creativity can help us cultivate greater self-awareness and bring us closer to each other.

Drawing on two decades of experience as a writer and performer, Kae Tempest champions the role of creativity – in whatever form we choose to practice it – as an act of love, helping us establish a deeper relationship to our true selves, and to others and the world we live in.

Honest, hopeful and written with piercing clarity, On Connection is an inspiring personal meditation that will transform the way you see the world.”


That’s the blurb from the book, the promise of the book. I’m going to also add this context on the author, Kae Tempest. This is from the British Council of Literature. This context that I’m about to read from the British Council of Literature, neither Yolande House nor I had going into the reading of this book, so you’ll be further ahead than us if you’re just considering picking it up. It’s interesting context. I don’t know if it’s essential context, necessarily, but it was something that came up as we were reading the book.


“Kae Tempest is a playwright, poet, novelist and spoken word artist. They began performing when they left school at the age of 16. As a teenager was support act to various key cultural figures including Benjamin Zephaniah and Billy Bragg. Kae has since emerged as one of the U.K.’s most recognized performance artists, drawing large crowds at Glastonbury and Leeds Festivals. Their influences range from Wu-Tang Clan, to modernist poetry, to Tracey Emin. Tempest was visiting fellow at University College London in 2015. Neil McCormick has described them as ‘Britain’s most acclaimed young performance poet, Tempest can dazzle with scansion and flow, cadence and rhymes, but crucially employs their verbal skills in the service of big ideas – about poverty, identity, consumerism – and strong emotions.’”


That was the blurb from the British Council of Literature. That gives a little bit more context of who is Kae Tempest, which is, again, something we didn’t know coming into the conversation. We talked about that a bit.


In our conversation, we talked about who the book is for, how it impacted our writing and view of the world, and the idea of connection.


After we discuss the book, stick around as I asked Yolande to also share highlights from her disability reading list. Our book club in our community is shifting to a more of a Bring Your Own book (BYOBook) approach for the coming months.


These are some books that Yolande brought to us on this topic. So you’ll hear that as well.


Here is our book club conversation…


I’m going to start by welcoming you, Yolande House and thanking you so much for coming on the podcast to talk about On Connection by Kae Tempest with me.

Yolande House:  05:12

You’re welcome. Thank you so much for having me.

Rachel Thompson:  05:14

I should also preface to that we’ve been reading this book within the Writerly Love community, and I’ve really appreciated the insights and the way that you’ve been reading this book, and the conversations that you’ve been guiding within our community. So I’m particularly excited to bring those as well to our listeners.


We’ll start with; what were your first impressions of On Connection, and how is it to read for you, Yolande?

Yolande House:  05:41

At first, I didn’t know what to make of the short chapters in the short book. If it wasn’t for a book club, I don’t think I would have ever picked it up. But once I learned that the author is a poet, they made sense that they’d share their thoughts in a concise way, in punchy chapters with a lot of food for thought. So I’m really grateful to our book club for introducing this book to me. That was an easy read, and that it was short, and I read it in only a few sessions. I’m a slow reader, so I appreciate that.


I found that the material was so rich, I really wanted to reflect on it and take a lot of breaks. I really think of it as like a coffee table book or a bedside book that I would come to again, and again, just something I want to own and have with me. My own book is marked up with new, there’s so many great quotes, so much great insight. I really appreciate the recurring theme of the power of words I’m writing of the creative life and the importance of connection to the current moment to others to one’s true self.

Rachel Thompson:  06:42

Yeah, that’s so true, and what you said about being, or maybe you didn’t say deceptively, but for me, it was deceptively small. Because it’s this mighty book that feels very tiny. I felt like I needed breaks in between readings, I did most of it by audio book, and so it was cool to hear Kae Tempest voice. But still, the ideas are so layered that I felt like I needed time to think in between sections.

Yolande House:  07:07

It was very accessible. I was looking over the ebook from the local library last night. That one has an interview with Maggie Nelson, in the back, my physical copy doesn’t. But in the interview, they talk about how accessible Kae Tempest book is. It’s really written for a wide audience, and I really felt that. There are a lot of difficult subjects broach in a very accessible, welcoming way that I feel like anyone could read and be like, Oh, this makes sense. Or maybe I disagree, but not feel attacked. Feel like, Oh, that’s an interesting point of view. And that’s really powerful for this kind of material. I think this short volume is important for that, too. I think it’s a great book for busy people, as are we all.

Rachel Thompson:  07:10

I like that you said people, and you mentioned this too that it’s sort of for everyone, because it’s a book for writers and creatives kind of, but it feels like Kae really opens it up to anyone who’s just trying to live in this world in this time, and in an intentional kind of creative, open way and wanting to connect with people.

Yolande House:  08:18

Thinking about the audience. I feel like it’s for creatives, primarily, including writers, but it’s really for any reflective person, especially at this moment in history. It just has so much great wisdom and call ins to kind of get us to reflect more on our positionality and what’s going on in the world and make sure that we’re deeply honest with ourselves first and foremost. I think as a writer, that’s number one for me that kind of inner work.

Rachel Thompson:  08:51

So true. Yeah. I think Kae mentioned several times in the book about the idea of like, who we are out in the world, and then who we are in private. How do we reconcile those masks we put on the personas that we hold and the values that have been ingrained into us, I guess, and where did we learn them? Are they our values? Yeah, anyway, I’m excited to dig into all of that.

Yolande House:  09:19


Rachel Thompson:  09:20

Before then I wanted to ask about… This is a podcast for writers, we’re talking to writers, so how did this book enrich your writing? Did it introduce you to new ideas when it comes to your own work? I should also add that you are working on a memoir, you’re primarily a memoirist, you’ve written in other genres as well. But yeah, has it enriched your writing? If so, how?

Yolande House:  09:43

Yeah, I think anything that gets me to reflect deeply, especially in my opinion related to inner work, is something that’s going to enrich my writing, especially as a memoirist, so that my reflection in my writing, my zoom out center wider society, so that I have more information to share and more context that I understand that all adds to my memoir writing.


In this book, most of the ideas were not new to me. But the author articulates so many difficult truths in a way that I’ve often had a hard time expressing. That just feels like a relief. This is why I love writing and reading, to see on the page, whether I’ve written it or someone else’s written it, just this articulation of something I’ve been struggling with. It’s like, Okay, I have this quote, I feel like I’ve healed a little bit, because I can now refer to this quote, in the future, for myself, I can share it with others. It’s a big reason why I’m so excited about this book. I’ll definitely quote from this book for years to come. Reading this book enriched my writing, by reminding me why I write to connect. So I welcome the reminder, especially in such beautiful prose. I really found many craft writing tips embedded in here, too.

Rachel Thompson:  11:01

This book was brought to us actually by our member, Ellen Chang Richardson, a wonderful poet. People listening may have heard Ellen on the podcast before, a name check before who was my assistant editor at my last issue that I did with Room. It was to me just like, oh, yeah, we have to have a book On Connection because connection, for me, fundamentally, I don’t think that’s true, necessarily all writers, but I would say a lot of writers who are listening here and who are part of our membership or maybe it is true, but maybe they just don’t know what the other writer is that I’m thinking of. But connection is really integral to what we’re doing in our work. We’re trying to connect with other people, we’re trying to connect our words to other people. Then even within our community, we’re trying to connect with other writers to understand, like you said, that inner work too, just understanding ourselves and our own motivations.


I want to call on you to pull some of those quotes that you love out, but maybe, actually, just this idea of that self-examination. So when you share the book in our membership community, you mentioned, all the questions that Kae Tempest raises, in particular those “why questions” that help us examine our motives for writing and publishing and presenting.


What are some of the questions you found particularly provocative raised in this book?

Yolande House: 12:17

There were so many.

“So near the beginning of the book, Tempest asks, you may feel like the good guy, sure. But how can you be certain? Does it not happen daily that you transgress your own codes? If you let a racist or homophobic remarks slide, are you prepared to accept that you lack integrity? And more; when reading a book you’re not into, they suggest asking yourself, why not? What choices are being made that turn you off? In the chapter going out there, they suggest questions for performers, which I think are great for writer performers, too. Why am I up here? What do I want? What is it that I’m trying to do? It’s important to examine our motives for writing and publishing and presenting, as we’ve read about in our book club before.”


I do have one more quote,

“If we hope to enact social change, Tempest says, we must do inner work and grow as a person. If we can’t even notice violence in ourselves, let alone root it out. How can we expect to dismantle it in the culture at large?”


I just find that quote, so relevant, especially right now. So, the personal is political. As an activist, any change I want to see externally, I feel like I can’t, with integrity, asked for that, or demand for that, if I’m not doing that in my everyday life. So for me, I really turned inward and try to start with myself and trust that that ripples outward. If so many of us did that, I think that’s exactly how we work. This book, I think, encourages that in an accessible, pleasant way. There’s kind of difficult, challenging ideas, but just beautiful prose, and it’s just draws you in.

Rachel Thompson:  14:05

They do this surprising trick of it, not feeling in the least bit judgmental, but also not feeling overly sentimental or coddling either too, sort of this interesting balance that they’ve struck in terms of relatability. Like you, I resonated with that idea of like, well look at your own life and look at how you show up in the world and behave, even as we’re, of course, trying to be active and making changes in what we see is often horrific in the status quo, especially these days, but also looking at the self and how even just the microcosm, I guess, of our world and our behaviors, play a part of that whole.


One of the things actually on that section that just in my re-listening today, I was thinking about was because Kae Tempest started as performance poet and is also a rap artist, I think or hip-hop artists, I guess. And was talking about how, in this age where the stage is basically our phone that we pull out from the pillow at the beginning of the day, and then we’re on stage all day, I felt there was something really poignant in that question of why because what they are saying is that as a performance poet when there used to go on stage, they were saying used to, because this was written mostly during the pandemic, so at that time, they weren’t going on stage. But they would go on stage, and then be able to go backstage and have that kind of debrief. Now I’m off stage, and now I can think about what are my motivations? How am I presenting myself? Why am I presenting themselves this way?


One of the things they identified is being quite problematic in our current times is, the stage is there from the beginning, the moment we put our head off the pillow, the phone. Then to the end of the night when we put the phone back under the pillow, I suppose. But I thought it was really a great lesson and giving yourself that time to kind of debrief and reflect on why you’re performing in a certain way. I am thinking of even just what is performance is just sort of how we present ourselves and how we show up in the world every day.

Yolande House:  16:14

Yeah, for sure. I love that part of the narrative. I feel like part of the power of the book is how grounded it is in reality, and in Kae Tempest personal story, and the vulnerability. I was reading your review on Goodreads where one of their fans was saying that it wasn’t what they expected, they thought it’d be more of a memoir, more inner secrets of their career. And it’s definitely not, I don’t think a memoir, or a celebrity memoir at all. Even though the bookstore I bought it from categorizes it as biography, that wasn’t my reading. So it’s very much narrative nonfiction, very inviting cultural criticism. But there is a personal story of Kae Tempest and the vulnerability of that. I don’t think the book would work without that. That’s for me is the truth of it, the veracity that Kae Tempest is, I really got the feeling later on in the book that they are talking to a younger version of themselves. This is what they needed to read at a point in their life earlier, which is often, who I’m also writing for, and I found that deeply affecting, maybe that’s why it’s not judgmental.


If someone were to write something, externalizing issue, a problem outside of oneself, it’s easy to be judgmental, or simplify things. But when you’re writing to your younger self, you have all kinds of empathy, like, I messed up, I know why, I totally understand. But this is what I needed to hear. This is how I needed to hear it. So it just comes across as the most loving letter. There’s so much power in that love.

Rachel Thompson:  18:02

You mentioned a bit about Kae Tempest’s celebrity. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know much of them before coming to this book, I’d heard the name before. Even just like when I was started doing a bit of research around the book, I found an interview with like, absolute rock stars, it’s like flee from the chili peppers, just interview and gave them post about their book. I was like, Oh, okay, this person is like, really well known in some circles, clearly that I’m not feeling, I was going to do something where I put myself down for not being cool enough. But I’m feeling that’s not in the spirit of this book either to do that, which is like, I just wasn’t doing it. But I think that’s also interesting, because we both came to it. We’re both really enthusiastic about the book, but we came to it not as fans necessarily, weren’t picking up a celebrity, biography, memoir.

Yolande House:  18:55

I had no idea who Kae Tempest was. I feel like there’s a mis categorization problem with this book. Thinking of it like a writer, I wonder if maybe it was seen as the celebrity of the author could maybe sell the book. That’s why maybe I look at it, and I just didn’t understand what it was at all. As I said before, I would never have picked it up if it wasn’t for a book club. I’m really grateful that I did. But I’d never heard of Kae Tempest before. So I’m less cool than you are.

Rachel Thompson:  19:33

Now I realize I had suddenly put you down in my own put down.

Yolande House:  19:37

Ideally, in the truth. So I don’t know, like being humble. So I don’t mind that at all. Yeah, so as I’m reading, it’s clear in the text that Kae Tempest is a celebrity or very successful in their career, and knowing that they were a poet. That’s when I started to understand. Oh, that’s why it’s written in this way; short, concise, and other people must know who this person is, even though I don’t. And that does lend, I think a cultural power to it, even though I didn’t know who they were. The book that I own, there’s three blurbs or recommendations on the cover. I don’t know who those people are either. But presumably well-known celebrities too.

Rachel Thompson:  20:24

On yours is it Matt Haig, because Matt Haig is on mine.

Yolande House:  20:27

Yeah. Matt Haig is the top one, the Toronto Public Library when I got the ebook. The title is called On Connection powerful Matt Haig. Which isn’t even what Matt Haig said. That’s not the title.

Rachel Thompson:  20:42

Yes. That’s interesting. They put the quote in it.

Yolande House:  20:46

Before I bought the book, I was borrowing it from the library. I was just so confused about what this book was.

Rachel Thompson:  20:52

That’s interesting to identify it is a marketing packaging issue, because that was a bit of a barrier for me too to kind of understand what this book is about. I think there was something where I was like, Okay, Rockstar, I get it now. There’s sort of like a different expectation, maybe for a book that’s written by a celebrity memoirs, but at the same time, the writing itself that’s not what it is about, it’s not really focused on the Kae Tempest’s life. Definitely, there’s, like you said, real honesty to it. But there’s no name dropping at all happening in there. But there’s definitely name dropping, I guess around it on the cover.

Yolande House:  21:28

Yeah. In a writing course, I think this would be a fascinating book. You could study the contents, but to study the packaging and marketing of it, because I see people like us, as being a huge audience for this book. Clearly, the publishers didn’t think of that. Even on Goodreads, the review I read from a fan who was unsatisfied with the book, thinking it was a celebrity memoir, it makes me think that the packaging and marketing, positioning was not the most effective. So it kind of missed the audience. Seems to me, marketing itself to people who know Kae Tempest is when I think it was more powerful because I didn’t know who they were.

Rachel Thompson:  22:13

So true.

Yolande House:  22:14

It’s like a philosophy book, philosophy on life, definitely for creatives, but I really think for anyone, I guess anyone who is reflective and is interested in this, but I can see this being on a bedside table, on a coffee table for anyone to pick up and peruse.

Rachel Thompson:  22:35

So I want to talk about the Preparation section and Kae Tempest’s question, “What is the difference between self-knowledge and self-obsession?” Because in the work I do with writers, I find that writers fall into two camps, those who are very comfortable sharing their selves and even mythologizing themselves. And those are generally not the writers I work with, though the writers I work with are often reticent at first to share much of themselves in their writing, particularly in CNF, where really drafts from newer writers tend to obfuscate the narrator’s wants and aim for a more neutral relaying of events versus digging deeper into the self.


So thinking about Preparation, the difference between self-knowledge and self-obsession, I’d love to hear about your own evolution with this question as a writer, and what you learned about going deeper into self-knowledge, which you already said is so key versus ”(perceived) self-obsession.”

Yolande House:  23:35

I’ve always been comfortable with sharing myself on the page. Early on, I lacked the craft skills to do so in an effective way. Then for a long time, it was easier to speak neutrally and factually, by which I mean without or with little emotion. I think that’s because I’m a survivor of childhood trauma and a sufferer of what I’ve learned is called CPTSD, complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I really had to do a lot of peeling off the page in order to more accurately render or even just access more emotion on the page, which is so important for memoir writing. So it’s taken a lot of inner work, feeling my feelings and patience. That’s why it’s taking me so long to write my childhood memoir, which I started back in 2006. I’ve always said, the writing process for me mimics my healing process, and it just takes as long as it takes.


I’ve always been comfortable sharing myself on the page, and having that kind of self-knowledge. But I really think that stems from being a trauma survivor, and even when I left home at 15, I wanted to go to a counselor, I wanted to do inner work, I wanted to heal. I’ve been doing that my whole life. So that topic isn’t new to me.


In writing memoir over the last, very seriously, over the last decade, I think that inner work of any sort is so important for all memoirs and really all writers. So I think that’s why Kae Tempest is staying here for all creatives. And I completely agree.

Rachel Thompson:  25:12

Hi lovely writers, I’m stepping away from this book club conversation I’m having with Yolande House to tell you about the Lit Mag Love course. Yolande is actually also an alumni of the Lit Mag Love course, and it was pleasure to have her in this course that is all about publishing in journals.


The Lit Mag Love course, will help you get a big “Yes,” for your writing from a literary journal. The five-week course, runs twice per year. The next session starts in January. Registration is currently open all through this month. The course comes with lots of support and feedback from a warm cohort of writers. I’m really just always blown away by the caring and thoughtful interactions that happen in each session of the course. You can learn all about the Lit Mag Love course, find out what writers say about working with me, and then sign up at


Again, we start early in January, if you want to make that plan that commitment to publishing your writing in journals in the new year, this is a great step towards that. So it’s


I really love what you said that it’s not necessarily about not being able to talk about yourself, but just not being able to go into that deeper level because of trauma, because of the pain around it, and having to do that healing. So I think that’s actually reflecting something to me, where I find in my coaching, I’m pulling that out of people sometimes being like, Okay, well, then we need to know more about what the narrator feels. Within awareness, I would say around, these are hard stories in many cases. But I think being able to name it that. Instead of just I’m not willing to, it’s like I’m unable to, until I’ve done some more personal development. So thank you.

Yolande House:  27:03

Yeah, I thought I was done writing my childhood memoir, many times now. The most recent time, about a year and a half ago, I got feedback from an agent and a freelance editor, who both said, more emotion; more scene writing, more reflection, go deeper, slow it down, but primarily more emotion. I just didn’t even understand what that meant. Because I looked on the page, and I just saw so much emotion. Other people would say they could feel the emotion. But I got a grant to work on the entire manuscript with a wonderful mentor.


For a year now, I’ve been rewriting the whole thing, and now, I understand. I’ve employed a lot of craft tools, and healing tools to access those deeper layers of emotion. But I just couldn’t see it early on. Because I would write so deeply in a way that would make me cry. and think, Well, isn’t that good enough? But I guess what I was saying now is that it wasn’t maybe emotion I needed, but maybe more reflection on how I understand it now and a lot of other ways to fill in that emotion, even if I can’t, I think I had a lot of dissociation.


In the trauma research I’m doing now for my memoir, I’m learning a lot of trauma survivors, including myself with dissociation, we don’t even feel the feelings at the time, how are we supposed to remember it, to put it on the page. The research way, I’m still grappling with that. But in terms of writing my memoir, I’ve just found other ways around that, that I’m now told, the emotion is there. I’m using metaphor, I’m using beautiful language, I’m using reflection. But I don’t want to have to cut myself to the point of crying anymore, and to always get that emotion. I don’t want that to always be necessary. So I think I found a lot of sideways ways to access that.

Rachel Thompson:  29:14

Yeah, that sounds like even getting to that point where you’re writing in a way that can be a bit harmful for you, and I recognize that and see that myself, but even that wasn’t communicating what you wanted to communicate to the reader. Anyway, so as these other things that occurs to me, I mean, I started this with the question from Kae Tempest. What is the difference between self-knowledge and self-obsession, and you’re inserting something here, which I think is really important. It’s like, when it comes to craft and memoir and the idea of navel gazing that memoirists like us get charged with sometimes, it’s like maybe there’s something actually kind of in the middle of that too. It’s like, there’s self-knowledge. But then there’s also, like you said, trauma and layers of things between us and that ability to know, know ourselves and our stories enough to be able to communicate it to our readers.

Yolande House:  30:10


Rachel Thompson:  30:11

Thanks, Yolande. That was really key, I think, and a great takeaway. I love that this book brought us to that conversation about your own work.


Is there a section of the book that resonated most or more with you? I hate making people pick favorites. But do you have a favorite?

Yolande House:  30:28

Yeah, I think my favorite chapter is called Going Out There. It’s really, because Tempest does include their personal narrative, and things they’ve struggled with, what they’ve learned. I also love the chapter immediately before that called Preparation, even though there was less of a personal narrative there. They refer to psychology and all of these wider ideas in such an eloquent way, and just made so many points I found so compelling. So both of the chapters going out there is about false faces, finding your true self. I resonated with how Tempest was forced to sit with themselves after illness forced them to stop talking in order to heal, and I relate to that in some physical illness ways like with my RSI’s in my arms, repetitive strain injuries that stopped me writing a couple of years ago, and I realized, I can numb with writing. I used to. Now I can’t, because I’m limited by my arms. But I really have to be mindful now about how much computer time, phone time, how much arm energy, am I using every day and be really intentional. But before that, I would do National Novel Writing Month into other write ins and things that I think were great, but harmful, certainly physically, in a lot of ways. It’s all about balance.


The chapter Preparation included my favorite quote, which she brought up on self-knowledge versus self-obsession. There were great reflective questions as well, that we can ask ourselves and some great advice for writers too.

Rachel Thompson:  32:10

When you mentioned that about numbing yourself with writing, which is interesting. I mean, I certainly resonated with this concept of numbing that Tempest brings up as well in the book. I feel like there’s a thing on the tip of my brain, and maybe you can help me fill it in, because I felt like they said something really interesting about how numbing isn’t the problem. There wasn’t like a binary between being numb and being connected.

Yolande House:  32:36

I don’t think I wrote the quote down, but something like,

“Sometimes you need to numb.”


Maybe life is too intense right now. I think maybe Tempest was talking about trauma without talking about trauma. Then the research that I’ve been doing on trauma, like dissociation in the moment is actually really important. It’s really good that we have a tool when necessary. So sometimes people need to numb and distract, and no judgment, Tempest is saying. So it’s definitely not a binary like numbing is okay, when needed and in balance.

Rachel Thompson:  33:15

That we could still be connected in some way. Like it’s almost connecting with ourselves by allowing ourselves to rest in a way, like the numbing is rest.

Yolande House:  33:24

Exactly. I won’t talk about specifics. But there are some scenarios in my life right now, where I realize numbing is just important, something is quite unbearable, and maybe in less unhealthy ways I can numb myself, and that’s okay, that’s necessary. I need to do that to get through this time. I need to make sure that that is not harming myself or others. But it’s often necessary to some degree and I 100% endorsed that.

Rachel Thompson:  33:59

I heartily agree with that.


I’m wondering how this book may have affected your writing life? If there was a positive takeaway for you, from this book on just even, I guess, the practice that how you practice writing?

Yolande House:  34:13

Some things I didn’t mention are; it’s a good reminder to slow down and connect to the present moment. There’s so much wisdom and clarity in this book, and articulating ideas I’ve wrestled with, and it feels like relief to see them expressed so well, on the page, as I’ve said before.

Rachel Thompson:  34:31

I think at that moment, when Kae Tempest towards the end, urges us to kind of stop, look up at the windows around us, and think about the people in the lives behind them that were something even just now I’m tearing up a bit. It really touched me.


Also, maybe on the flip side of that, I talked to different writers all the time and I think sometimes I will hear, and actually Kae Tempest talks about this too, as a writer who’s not that interested in other people unnecessarily, are not that interested in kind of what’s out there and maybe not interested is not a fair way to say that. But it just like seems like there’s sort of a lack of connection, let say, and inevitably, that’s going to be reflected in the writing where I don’t feel as connected to that writing, because you don’t feel the writer having that kind of bigger interest in others, in the world. But you must read my memoir about this one event of my life. The other thing you’re talking about, yeah, I’m not that interested in that. But please read my story. So if anything, I don’t know if there’s a way to reach out to someone who’s very closed off in that way. But it’s like, here’s another example of why it’s really important to cultivate that interest in the world and to try to be grounded in the place that you’re in and think outside of yourself, even as you’re writing. It’s such an interior process, as we’ve talked about, and requires all this self-knowledge, but it doesn’t happen, and now I’m thinking of Meli Walker, our community, facilitator, who’s always reminding me about community and connection and how none of this happens, we don’t do anything alone, we’re always working together, even when we’re in that room of our own. There’s a community around us.

Yolande House:  36:17

As you were talking, I was thinking about, first of all, I agree, it did make me think of people who aren’t necessarily closed off to others. But it makes me think of writers. I read a number of disability narratives, for example, that talk about the author’s own personal story. While that’s really interesting, sometimes there’s little or no effort to connect it, their narrative to the disability community in general, in terms of researching disability justice, disability studies, promoting or just being aware of other disabled authors. That really does limit the scope of the book. I find now even, before when I couldn’t articulate this, I just responded less. They didn’t resonate with me, those narratives as much. I can articulate why now. That’s why when even someone’s personal narrative is responding to narratives in our popular culture right now, responding to other memoirs, even that isn’t explicitly named in that research isn’t on the page, it’s still evident in the way that they speak and characterize themselves. I can tell if they’re familiar with theories of disability justice or not, for example. Even though none of that is included, I think it’s so important to have that exists somewhere. I saw a quote on Twitter a while ago that said something like,

“A disabled person might not identify as disabled, or a disabled person may identify as disabled but have no interest in connecting with other disabled people, and the disabled person might be interested in connecting with other disabled people and have no interest in the disabled community as a whole, no interest in solidarity, no interest in intersectional ways to work for not just awareness about my particular disability, but disabled people in general.”


I find all those three elements critical, and that, for me is part of connection.

Rachel Thompson:  38:36

That’s so important. Thank you so much for reading this book alongside me and alongside our community. Speaking of reaching out and being part of something and connecting with people, I think it’s something was very special, like you said, about reading On Connection in this community. For both of us, he said this, and I would agree that I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book, if it were not for the fact that we were reading it together. I’m really glad that I did. Especially, it feels particularly resonant in this particular time of living in multiple genocides, and witnessing things and feeling powerless and disconnected in some ways. So it’s really good to see that connection and take strength from it, I think, for activism to be able to actually create some change in the world. So thank you.


Then I want to ask you a bit about your disability reading list, because we’ve been doing kind of a Bring Your Own book to the club thing in the writing community lately. It’s actually will be a while before we have an official book club book that we’re reading instead, we’re bringing lists from our members, and some of those I’m posting on my Instagram, by the way, @rachelthompsonauthor, but this list will be forthcoming on there as well.


But tell us a bit about the reading that you’ve been doing and what you’ve been finding and even sort of the “why” behind embarking on this reading list?

Yolande House:  40:02

I mentioned my childhood memoir, and second project I’m also working on is a memoir and pieces on Being Hard at Hearing. So I’m doing disability research to contextualize my story. This project, the memoir, in essays or memoir and pieces used to also involve chronic illness, CPTSD, chronic injury, mental illness, but I realized now that’s another project related to the long-term effects of childhood trauma. So this disability research is really for both of those books.


A couple of books that I recommend for kind of a primer on disability and disability justice and disability studies, the top ones I would say are;

Demystifying Disability: What to know, What to say, and How to be an ally by Emily Landau, is a beautiful coffee table book. That is a great primer on all kinds of disabilities, the history of the disability movement.


Also, Amanda LeDuc Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space is a braided memoir and narrative nonfiction book focusing on disability myths and fairy tales. It’s fascinating to read about LeDuc’s personal experiences with cerebral palsy, and her zoomed out cultural criticism on how troops in western fairytales have harmed and limited disabled people.


Another Disability Justice personal narrative is Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by I hope I’m saying this correctly. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, and she has many books, but this one’s a classic. This book really shifted my perspective, in terms of, for example, how disabled people with longer term chronic illness or injury are treated versus able bodied people who have short term acute illness or injury. It explains a lot about my own experiences.


Another big part of my research for the first collection on being hard of hearing is to read hard of hearing and deaf narratives. So my favorite book so far is a novel, its Own Voices by Sara Nović called True Biz. In addition to a story that weaves many different deaf experiences, there are many narrative nonfiction sections that talk about the basics of ASL, American Sign Language, the history of the deaf community, and other cultural content that helps you enhance the narrative, the fiction story for readers new to the deaf community. I absolutely adore that book. It’s another very accessible, great introduction.


I’ve also started reading a history book by an academic called Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History by Jaipreet Virdi, and the historian weaves her own experiences as a deaf person in both her research on how hearing people have labeled hearing loss as a problem to be solved through medical and other interventions. So I’ve just started it, and it’s really fascinating so far.


The last book I’ll mention is by Elsa Hunessin, Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism, which is half memoir and half cultural criticism on how deaf and blind people are portrayed in pop culture. The author talks about how society’s ideas of deafness and blindness are myths, since most deaf and blind people do have some partial sight and residual hearing, as she does She wears two hearing aids and the way she describes her hearing loss, it sounds similar to but more severe than my own. So I also love how she uses her academic background to talk directly about the institution of ableism, and how we can break it down. A warning though, the narrative is quite heavy. So I’m finding myself reading a few chapters at a time and then taking breaks to read other books in between. I would say those are the highlights of my disability reading list so far.

Rachel Thompson:  44:19

Thank you so much for sharing that, Yolande. I’ve read one and I know of, and have on my TBR list another one. So you have definitely opened me up to several new books, I’m excited about.

Yolande House:  44:31

Great. I’m happy to hear that.

Rachel Thompson:  44:33

I would love to end with the Quick Lit round, where you fill in the blanks as I begin a sentence and I’ll ask you to finish it for me.

Yolande House:  44:40


Rachel Thompson:  44:41

The first is,

Being a writer is…

Yolande House:  44:45

Wonderful. Interesting, invigorating, and interesting too. Yeah.

Rachel Thompson:  44:52

Literary Magazines are…

Yolande House:  44:54

An exciting place to find new ideas and new work.

Rachel Thompson:  44:59

Editing requires…

Yolande House:  45:00

A lot of patience because it’s the biggest part of the writing process, in my opinion.

Rachel Thompson:  45:06

I would agree with that opinion. I’m teaching the Revision Love course right now, and some of the writers are waking up to that idea, Oh, no, it’s the big part. It’s such a big part of the work was editing yourself.

Yolande House:  45:19

I love that course. I’ve taken it three times. I highly, highly recommend Revision Love.

Rachel Thompson:  45:24

Aww, thank you.

Yolande House:  45:25

I learned so much.

Rachel Thompson:  45:27

Rejection for a writer means…

Yolande House:  45:30

Try again.

Rachel Thompson:  45:31

Then finally writing community is…

Yolande House:  45:34

Important. Very important.

Rachel Thompson:  45:36

You’re here.

Yolande House:  45:37

Yeah. Kae Tempest talks about rejection in On Connection. That’s one of those sections I really loved about how rejection is part of being a creative, and just really normalizing that idea.

Rachel Thompson:  45:52

Yeah, thank you for bringing it back to that. Because I think again, that’s another reason why it is a great book for writers to read.

Yolande House:  45:59

Definitely. Very reassuring. Yes.

Rachel Thompson:  46:02

Thank you so much for sharing all your love of craft, your love of reading and reading with me, and also just thanks for being connected. I feel very connected with you, and we’ve been feels like working together for years, really. I think it has been several years that you’ve been in the community and started with Lit Mag Love course and I appreciate that. I am watching your journey through, like you said, it’s been a long time, but it’s been a beautiful journey through writing your memoirs.

Yolande House:  46:31

Thank you so much. Yeah, I think I took my first course with you in 2017 or 2018. It’s been wonderful growing with you as well. So thank you so much for having me, and just for having this wonderful community.

Rachel Thompson:  46:46

Thanks, Yolande.

Yolande House:  46:47

You’re welcome.

Rachel Thompson:  46:50

So, that was Yolande House and I talking about On Connection by Kae Tempest. There is something very special about reading together and focusing on our craft as we read, and this book gave us some great things to think about and talk about as writers.


You also got a peek at Yolande’s reading list of books on disability and you’ll be able to find more of this up on Instagram—I’m @rachelthompsonauthor there.


This is my final new episode of 2023. I can’t believe it, but stay subscribed for some highlights episodes coming up this month and mid-January, when I’ll be back with new episodes. I’m planning to bring in more lit mag editors in the new year and more conversation about writing with limitations, so expect that disability thread here today, to be picked up again.


Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. It really means so much to connect with each of you through this medium. I feel like we’re together talking about writing and craft and ideas and it’s truly the most pleasurable thing in my week to record these for you, dear writers.


If you want to stay connected and you know I do, I’d love to have you as a subscriber to my Writerly Love Letters. These are completely free, there’s no charge for them. I send them out each week to writers with some breaks based on my health (Speaking of limitations) and during some seasons. So coming up I will be taking a winter break from the letters and they’ll also return probably more like early January. When you subscribe, you’ll immediately get some gifts from me to help support your writing practice.


You can sign up at


The Write, Publish, and Shine podcast is brought to you by me, Rachel Thompson. Sound Editing by Adam Linder. Transcripts by Diya Jaffery.


You can learn more about the work I do to help writers, write, publish, and shine at You can learn about my lit mag love course that’s now open for registration at We start in January and I’d love to have you join us if you’re excited about getting published in literary makes in the New Year.


If this episode encouraged you to connect, then reach out! You can always email me at


And connect with other luminous writers by telling them about the podcast. You can do this by sending them to the podcast at or searching for Write, Publish, and Shine wherever they get their podcasts.


Thank you for listening—I encourage you to do as Kae Tempest says and examine your presentation and publishing with the question why? Why am I doing this? Good question.


Yolande House spoke to me from Tkaronto in territory 13, the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the New Credit and the Huron-Wendat.


And I am a guest in the South Sinai, Egypt, on lands historically and presently occupied by the el Muzzina Bedouin and close to the stolen lands of the Palestinian people, where civilians are currently being bombed in violation of international humanitarian law.


The Lit Mag Love course is starting on January 10th. You can learn more and sign up at

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