is a podcast of stories and “answer songs,” featuring performances by Roxane Gay, David Gilmour, Susan Orlean, Joyce Carol Oates and Michael Ian Black. You can hear an exclusive preview of next week’s episode featuring Sarah Hepola and Matt the Electrician only at Paste.
Bestselling author Sarah Hepola knew she had a problem when she came out of a blackout having sex with someone she did not know. She was on a trip to France, and the last thing she knew she had gone out for a drink.
“It’s this outrageous scenario that if I saw it in a movie I’d be, like, ‘That would never happen,’” Sarah says. “But it happened to me, so I can tell you that it happened.”
The Texan writer explores her history with alcohol, and reads from her memoir Blackout in the newest episode of SongWriter, and musician Matt the Electrician writes not just one, but two songs in response.
Matt, whose new album We Imagined an Ending will be out Nov. 5, talks honestly about his own difficulties with alcohol. Like Sarah, Matt recalls a time when he came to in surprising circumstances.
“I was holding a shovel, and I was trying to attack my best friend,” Matt says. “I don’t think I had an issue with the friend I was trying to kill with a shovel. I think I was given some false information by the chemicals in my brain.”
But as in Sarah’s experience, it took many more difficult moments like that before Matt realized he needed to make a change.
“My rock bottom was getting very wasted and coming very late and yelling at my pregnant wife,” Matt says with frank clarity. “It wasn’t violent, but it was enough … I just remember waking up and thinking, ‘That’s not a man. If that’s my life, then I’m just a child.’”
Ben Arthur is the creator and host of SongWriter. You can follow him @MyHeart and hear his newest song, “After the War.”