The Untold Stories of Paul McCartney

“It is not so difficult to get Paul McCartney to talk about the past, and this can be a problem. Anyone who has read more than a few interviews with him knows that he has a series of anecdotes, mostly Beatles-related, primed and ready to roll out in situations like these. Pretty good stories, some of them, too. But my goal is to guide McCartney to some less manicured memories—in part because I hope they'll be fascinating in themselves, but also because I hope that if I can lure him off the most well-beaten tracks, that might prod him to genuinely think about, and reflect upon, his life.

And so that is how—and why—we spend most of the next hour talking about killing frogs, taking acid, and the pros and cons of drilling holes in one's skull.”

Jeanne Marie Laskas writes for GQ and the New York Times Magazine. Her latest book is To Obama: With Love, Joy, Anger, and Hope.

“I hate saying this out loud, but it’s true: I’m really shy. Fundamentally, I'm 100% scared most of the time. I’m scared and wondering how I can not be noticed because I don’t know what to say and I’m shy. If you say I’m a good listener, that's why … I become more invisible so I’m more comfortable.”

Thanks to MailChimp, Techmeme Ride Home Podcast, and Pitt Writers for sponsoring this week's episode.

Ursula K. Le Guin: The Art of Fiction No. 221

“The ‘hard’–science fiction writers dismiss everything except, well, physics, astronomy, and maybe chemistry. Biology, sociology, anthropology—that’s not science to them, that’s soft stuff. They’re not that interested in what human beings do, really. But I am. I draw on the social sciences a great deal. I get a lot of ideas from them, particularly from anthropology. When I create another planet, another world, with a society on it, I try to hint at the complexity of the society I’m creating, instead of just referring to an empire or something like that.”