“Every failure is actually a step forward. That’s how you learn to be who you are.”
Devoted listeners are well-acquainted with my gravelly voiced, chronically self-deprecating, often tortured, but always charming brother-from-another-mother Mishka Shubaly — back on the podcast for a record-breaking 8th appearance.
A writer oozing talent from his overactive sebaceous glands, Mishka pens 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 receipt of his expensive MFA, he promptly moved into a Toyota minivan to tour the country nonstop as a singer-songwriter, often sharing the stage with comedians like Doug Stanhope and musical acts like The Strokes and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
But mostly he drank.
It sounds glamorous. It wasn’t. At 32, Mishka hit bottom, got sober and laced up a pair of running shoes. In between ultra marathons, he began publishing a string of #1 bestselling Kindle Singles – short non-fiction novellas — through Amazon. The Long Run*, his mini-memoir detailing his transformation from alcoholic drug abuser to sober ultrarunner, to this day remains one of the best-selling Kindle Singles in Amazon history.
He is also the author of I Swear I’ll Make It Up To You*. Brutally honest, fiercely emotional and muscular in its prose, it’s the booze-fueled, opiated account of a precocious young underachiever trying to be good (and failing and failing) until one day he succeeds. It’s about serial abandonment, school shootings, alcoholism, loneliness, artistic frustration, faith, guilt, sobriety, running, relationships, resentment, revenge, music, art, and creativity. It’s about one man’s attempt to reckon with the wreckage of his past and his journey to reconcile his relationship with his family, and most importantly, to forgive the father that jettisoned him.
It’s been over a year since Mishka dropped in on the pod to share his latest misadventures as a touring musician and tortured artist. We’re overdue for a check-in. And this conversation doesn’t disappoint. Even if you have listened to all 7 of our previous conversations, this one is sure to surprise and delight.
We discuss alcoholism, nihilism and depression. We talk about how he maintains sobriety as a touring musician. We get into the romance of one’s drinking past and identity attachments that don’t serve us. And we cover the trading of one addiction for another.
Most impactful is our discussion about Mishka’s recent diagnosis as pre-diabetic, and his decision to finally go plant-based. That is a sentence I never thought I would write.
In response to my urging that Mishka get back to what he does best — writing — Mishka decided to crowd-source his oft-challenged motivation by launching a social media campaign designed to motivate all of us (but probably mostly him) to commit to spending a pre-ordained amount of time every single day in November to write. Join the brigade on twitter by posting your progress with the hashtag #writenovember.
Finally, stick around to the end for a live musical performance by Mishka to take us out.
I love Mishka like a brother. I love this conversation. I hope you do too.
For those visually inclined, the video version of the podcast is also available on YouTube.
Peace + Plants,
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Let’s get clean water to those in need
WE DID IT! From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who contributed to my charity: water birthday fundraising campaign. Together we have far exceeded my goal of raising $51,000. As of the date of this post, we have raised over $61,000 to bring clean water projects to those in need. To put this in proper perspective, that means that about 2,000 people will soon have access to clean water for the very first time, not counting future generations. In other words, you have literally breathed hope and life into communities, transforming their lives forever, which is about the coolest thing I can imagine. I couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you, so again I thank you, Scott Harrison thanks you, charity: water thanks you and everyone who will soon benefit from your generosity thanks you. The campaign will remain open through the end of this quarter, so if you would still like to contribute, you can. And there is good reason to — because right now 663 million people still live without clean water. To learn more and donate, visit: my.charitywater.org/richroll
Thanks to this week’s sponsors
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- Connect with Mishka: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
- Blog: A Few Words On Depression by Mishka Shubaly
- Blog: Las Vegas And Gun Control by Mishka Shubaly
- The Guardian: Writer. Addict. Ultra marathon runner? Meet Mishka Shubaly by John Doran
- Huffington Post: Sympathy for the Devil: In Defense of Amazon by Mishka Shubaly
- Primal Roots: Mishka Shubaly Gets Primal
- Brooklyn Magazine: How To Get $200,000 Worth Of Revenge, Or How Mishka Shubaly Stopped Dodging Success by Drew Millard
- iTunes: Coward’s Path by Mishka Shubaly
- No Depression: Mishka Shubaly: Coward’s Path
- Top40: Alcoholic Turned Ultra Runner Mishka Shubaly To Release ‘Coward’s Path’
- NYTimes: Questions Outweigh Answers In Shooting Spree at College by Anthony DePalma
- The Moth: Mishka Shubaly: Shipwrecked
- CNN: A Marathon for Boston
- The Fix: Let Me Do Sobriety My Way
- Diffuser: [VIDEO] ‘I Can’t Remember When You Were Mine’
Mishka’s Book / Kindle Singles:
- I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You: A Life on the Low Road*
- Of Mice and Me *
- The Long Run *
- Beat The Devil *
- Shipwrecked *
- Bachelor Number One *
- Are You Lonesome Tonight? *
Notable People Discussed
- Jeff Bezos: entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, founder, chairman, and CEO of Amazon.com
- John Joseph: punk rock signer for Bloodclot / the Cro-Mags and multi-episode podcast guest
- David Clark: former obese addict turned sober, accomplished athlete, author of Out There* and (2x) podcast guest
- Gretchen Rubin: host of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, NYT bestselling author and podcast guest
- Mark Duplass: film director, actor, (“Togetherness“), musician, and screenwriter
- Carl Adams: runner, founder of Primal Roots outdoor fitness bootcamps
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #214: Mishka Shubaly On Writing: Faith, Guilt, Stubbornness, Abandonment, Revenge, Forgiveness & Why He Swears He’ll Make It Up To You
- RRP 27: Mishka Shubaly
- RRP 31: Mishka Shubaly interviews Rich
- RRP 65: Mishka Shubaly on Chasing His Dreams and New Book “Beat The Devil”
- RRP 95: John Joseph & Mishka Shubaly
- RRP 104: Mishka Shubaly, Modern Day Ganesh
- RRP 171: Mishka Shubaly on Forgiveness, Authenticity & Life As A Sober Artist
- RRP 173:Ask Me Anything, Shame Can’t Survive The Light
- RRP #290: David Clark: When An Audacious Goal Becomes An Obsessive Addiction
*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.
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