This is a very special episode of the Dana Gould hour podcast, not the least of which because it came out on schedule.
I’m happy to welcome back to the show actor and author Stephen Tobolowsky. Stephen is a man after my own heart. He’s an actor, an author, a musician. He is the epitome of those people who’s name rings a bell and then you see them and say, “Oh THAT guy!”
He played Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day, he was the other amnesiac in Memento, he was Commissioner Jarry on Deadwood, the list goes on and on and on and on. He has a much beloved show on public radio, which is also a podcast, called the Tobolowsky Files and now he has new book entitled My Adventures With God.
It’s not so much a religious book, thank God, but it is the story of his ups and down in life, catastrophes, successes, and his struggle to obtain some sort of connection with a power greater than himself. As he writes so eloquently, “It’s hard to believe in nothing. Even cats believe in suppertime. As much as we love certainty, we are often shaped by the invisible, the unexplainable–something we call faith. We are inclined to acknowledge the holy. Even if it is only a paper heart we find in an old suitcase.”
Stephen is the best storyteller I know, and that’s saying a lot and I’m honored he’s here.
Joining Stephen is author Maggie Rowe. Maggie has been a good friend of mine for a long, long time. If you had asked me “Of all your friends, who would you say was the most, you now, ‘normal’? Maggie would have been high on the list. And then, one day, while a-shootin’ at some food, she casually mentioned that she had spent time in a psychiatric hospital and I went, “Oh realllllllly?” Her story is utterly fascinating and is the subject of her new book Sin Bravely.
Maggie grew up in a moderately religious household but at a very young age, became obsessed with the fear that she was going to Hell. She struggled with this throughout her adolescence. Have you ever had a beautiful young girl walk up to you in a shopping mall and tell you you were going to Hell? If so, it might have been Maggie.
Eventually, realizing she was heading down a road where she might end up, shall we say, something-something for Cocoa Puffs, Maggie checked herself into a Christian psychiatric hospital. I know, to many of you that might sound like a contradiction in terns, but you have to hear the story. It includes a former biker and meth-head struggling with anger management issues, a set of identical twins tormented by erotic fantasies. I’m honored to have both Maggie and Stephen on this episode.