Mishka Shubaly On Forgiveness, Authenticity & Life As a Sober Artist

“The only way to succeed is to fail… over & over & over again. Just get right in your head with failing; that’s how you succeed.”

Mishka Shubaly

If you’re a long-time listener of the podcast, then you’ve treated yourself to several of my conversations with today’s guest. You know this guy well as my gravelly voiced, eminently talented, always charming yet generally disheveled, periodically homeless co-host — now back for a record 6th appearance on the RRP.

Mishka Shubaly doesn’t care much for formalities. But if you need a resumé, his goes something like this:

A self-professed povertarian, Mishka writes true stories about drink, drugs, disasters, desire, deception, and their aftermath. He began drinking at 13 and college at 15. At 22, he received the Dean’s Fellowship from the Master’s Writing Program at Columbia University. Upon receiving his expensive MFA, he promptly moved into a Toyota minivan to tour the country nonstop as a singer-songwriter, sharing the stage with artists like The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Decemberists.

At 32, Mishka got sober and shortly thereafter began publishing a string of bestselling Kindle Singles – short non-fiction novellas — through Amazon. His writing has been praised for its grit, humor, fearlessness, and heart. The Long Run*, his mini-memoir detailing his transformation from alcoholic drug abuser to sober ultra-runner is one of the best-selling Kindle Singles in Amazon history.

Mishka’s third solo album, Coward’s Path — the finest set of miserable and sad songs you might ever hear— will be released on October 2, 2015. His new book, I Swear I’ll Make It Up To You: A Life on the Low Road* hits bookstores March 8, 2016.

If you’re new to this podcast, dig the Mishka vibe and want to hear more, check out RRP episodes 27, 31, 65, 95 & 104. That’s about 9 hours of Mishka to keep you busy.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoy this peek into the complicated, curious, fascinating and always entertaining mind of one of my best friends. I say this everytime I post a podcast with Mishka, because it’s always true: I’m fairly certain this is our best conversation to date. A conversation that explores many themes, including:

  • the toil of writing a book
  • unconscious forgiveness
  • acceptance of one’s alcoholism 
  • bifurcation of the Self
  • the artistic impact of New York
  • virtual empathy & praise
  • investing time with family
  • anxiety stressors
  • pushing boundaries to inspire
  • the power of the spoken word

The show concludes with Mishka’s new single New Jersey Valentine’s Day Orphan Blues from his forthcoming new album Cowards Path.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.

Peace + Plants,


Listen & Subscribe on iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher

Special thanks to Leslie Hassler (photo credit: Mishka with graffiti) and Karrah Flores (photo credit: Mishka with guitar) for graciously allowing me use of their photography in today’s podcast. Click their respective names to check out their beautiful work.


Connect with Mishka: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Background, Context & Reference:

If you like very good writing and quick easy reads, check out Mishka’s array of Kindle Singles and consider taking his writing course at Yale University.

Notable People Discussed in today’s podcast:

Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:

Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson.

*Disclosure:Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

The Plantpower Way  is now available at these fine retailers!

Amazon*  |  Barnes & Noble  |  IndieBound  |  Penguin

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