A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment

Basketball? Check. Poetry? Check. Humor? Check. The inside scoop from two successful authors? Check.

It seems like every day a new podcast pops up, but none covers the broad topics as Sherman Alexie’s and Jess Walter’s A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment.

Sherman Alexie is a Spokane/Coeur D’Alene Indian from Washington State whose writing is reflective of not only his life experience, but also the collective experience of being human. Alexie’s gift as a storyteller is obvious in his writing,—some of his novels include Flight, War Dances, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian—and it’s one of the things that drew Walter to Alexie in the first place and that he admires most in his friend.

Jess Walter has written six novels, including The Financial Lives of the Poets and Beautiful Ruins, our Book of the Month. He also writes about everyday people whose stories exemplify modern life. Walter and Alexie grew up up together in Spokane, WA, where Walter still lives.

Listening to A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment is wildly entertaining, not only because of the topics Walter and Alexie choose to cover, but also because their on-air chemistry is so energetic.

Though each of them are brilliant wordsmiths, they both agree that making a podcast is challenging because of its improvisational nature. Despite this challenge, Walter and Alexie are just as well-spoken on the fly, moving deftly from unexpected topics like Walter’s stint as an unassuming 7th grade trumpet-carrying drug mule to advice on how to perform your own writing, but even if what you’re really looking for is talk about basketball, you’re in luck because they do that too!

What strikes me most about their friendship is how remarkably in-tune they are. It’s almost as if each podcast is a performance of sorts, though of course, it’s just the two of them having a casual conversation. Each listen is like experiencing Alexie and Walter weave together a tapestry of intimate pictures and stories that, as an outsider, are a privilege to witness.

Do you have a favorite episode of A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment? Let us know in the comments!

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