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Interesting Humans

Author: Christian Ward

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There are 330 million Americans. Social scientists tell us we know on average 600 people. All around us are interesting humans. People who in their everyday lives create, solve, move, teach, and love. The Interesting Humans podcast is a deep dive into the mindset, the philosophy and the achievements of the people around us who have fascinating narratives to share. Join me as I explore the challenges they've faced and overcome, how creativity drives them and how ordinary people are not so ordinary. 

36 Episodes
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April Sawicki is a 19 year old woman from New York who lived during high school in a broken down motor home in a vacant lot at the edge of town her father won in a poker game. Her mother left her father when she was young, then her father left April at 16 to fend for herself when he went to live with his girlfriend and the woman’s son. April, a budding singer-songwriter, ran away by stealing a neighbor’s car, and went on adventures up and down the east coast playing in bars and coffee sh...
I met singer-songwriter Reese Mayfield here in Raleigh last fall. Friends had invited me to what has become known as the Five Points Music Festival. It's a gathering of local musicians performing on an impromptu stage set up in the driveway of someone's garage. it's a fundraiser for a local school.Reese was one of the musicians performing that day. As the various musicians worked through their sets of covers and original music, I became intrigued by Reese, the youngest of the musicians.She's ...
What I know about trauma is that nearly all of us carry something in our psyches. Almost everyone you know has some part of their past that overwhelmed their emotional capacity to understand and process it and became trauma. Not all trauma is the horrific kind of rape or shooting or a tragic accident. These are the kinds of events plastered across the news that garner the most public attention. Sometimes the experiences are more subtle but no less hurtful. I've known today's guest,...
Trailer for Gordon Darr, a victim of Dr. Robert Anderson, the doctor at the University of Michigan who allegedly sexually molested hundreds of students and student-athletes as head of the UM's University Health Services. Anderson was never prosecuted but the University has proposed a $490 million settlement to more than 1,000 alleged victims of Anderson, who died in 2008. Gordon tells his complete story and weaves the thread of how his experience of being sexually molested affected his e...
Andrew Lafferty is a 20-year-old stand-up comedian learning the craft. He wants to become a comedy writer. After graduating from high school during the pandemic, he now the University of Pittsburgh, where he studies political science. Now three years into his journey as a comedian, Andrew has made people laugh everywhere from basements in the dorms at Pitt to tents, to clubs from Ann Arbor to Maine to LA. He has appeared at the Gotham Comedy Club in Manhattan and at improvs and Jazz...
When Kassondra and Will Lambert’s son Ethan was about two he was diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic disorder referred to as KAND. The couple had noticed early in their son’s life that he wasn’t progressing physically as expected. Ethan was unable to hold a bottle himself and wasn’t starting to verbalize took them more than two years to finally get a diagnosis of this disease so rare only about 300 people worldwide are affected. Uncovering Ethan’s condition set the couple on a nearl...
When I was a kid I would often accompany my parents on Saturdays to a store that was both a grocery and department store, a bit like Costco is today. Sometimes my father would give me some cash and I would hotfoot it to the toy section to grab one of the latest models of these miniature cars called Hot Wheels. I was obsessed with building my collection. I would make my purchase and then was faced with the immediate question that I realize now was a precursor to similar questions I would ask a...
Pablo Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” I was thinking about Picasso’s words during my conversation with today’s guest, Haven Tunin, a young potter I met at a show in Ann Arbor last fall. Haven comes to pottery by way of discovering a gift for art, specifically painting and drawing, during high school. In college, she fell in love with pottery. She recently decided that her passion for pottery is so great she intends it to b...
What, really, are the qualities of a good man today? Toughness? Grit? Courage? The reliability of the one who comes home after a long day at the office, even if that office down the hall or in the basement, and earns the money that pays bills then expects dinner to be on the table? Is it simply the man who takes out the trash? What sorts of exchanges are men and women making in the day to day bargaining of marriages and partnerships and how are they changing? What models do we have...
We’ve all heard about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, often referred to — and even minimized in today’s lexicon -- as PTSD. It is a psychiatric disorder that sometimes occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a horrific event, such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act (think 9/11) war or combat or rape, or who have been threatened with sexual violence or serious harm. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers may have come across PTSD in the form of combat ...
I've known Lisa Hesse for decades. When you live in a community like Ann Arbor for as long as I have and also are part of a smaller, tighter community--the running community--one is bound to bump into the same people from time to time.I knew Lisa coached runners, particularly women. And I knew she was a Girls on the Run coach as well. What I didn't know is the depth to this person and the many challenges she's faced.Lisa is a 59-year-old runner who expresses with absolute certainty that runni...
Abby Rosenbaum is as passionate as any artist about her craft. What I noticed Abby possesses better than some artists is a sense of the practical side of her photography. The opposite of the image of a fantastically talented and engaged artist who is dead broke and starving might emerge for some. Abby had a successful photography practice focused on weddings for more than 15 years. Successful in the sense of being in demand and earning the living that supported her family. It didn't sta...
We are currently in the throes of August here in North America. The days are lazy, hot and long. Light is plentiful. In fact we still bask in more than 14 hours of daylight. And for some that still is not enough. Today's guest, JANE SLADE, isn't saying we need sunlight less. She says we need to appreciate darkness more. The constant barrage of man made light form our devices to how we light our homes, businesses, streets and highways is not only harming man and animal. It's c...
ALETHA VANDERMAAS is friendly, approachable and funny. She laughs easily. but don't let that easygoing style fool you. Aletha is a significant player in the trend in midcentury interior design, both in her home state of Michigan and in social media. I first met Aletha through my wife Elin Walters, curator of Exactly Designs. Aletha and Elin are "design soul sisters" who both have created successful separate interior design businesses in the midcentury design, Like Elin (I/H Episod...
I first met today’s guest, Helen Newman, about 10 years ago. I was traveling to Chicago with my wife Elin who was the buyer for a local fitness studio and she was meeting Helen for the to see the fitness lines she represented. Her showroom was in a warehouse in Chicago’s garment district that had been converted to sales offices. I knew the first time meeting her she was special and a class act. Years later as I was putting together Interesting Humans I knew I wanted Helen to be a guest o...
As New Year’s Eve turned to 2021, for the first time in a while I felt a real energy and excitement for a big period of growth. How about you? Are there things you are looking forward to? And speaking of, how are you doing on those New Year’s resolutions?Been working out at the gym to lose that extra 20 you’re carrying? Started that side hustle? Mended those fraught relationships with the Uncle who sits on the other side of the political fence. Mastered your finances and gotten out of d...
"I love relationships. I like observing them. I like thinking about them. I like back in the olden days going to the coffee shop and sitting there with my coffee and my laptop pretending to write and watching people around me," today's guest, Liz Crowe, tells me. Liz Crowe is a novelist who has published more than 25 books with two more coming soon. Her focus is romance but before you put her in a box of stereotypical romance authors, you'll have to wait. Liz is a serious writer w...
Hey everybody. How‘s it going out there? I truly mean that. It’s not just a rhetorical question. How is your health, particularly your mental health? Let’s be honest. These have been times for which there is no context. To date, there are more than 61 million coronavirus cases and more than 1.4 million deaths. In the US alone we’ve seen more than 13 million cases and just under 270,000 deaths. We are still in the Thanksgiving weekend and more than 3 million people travelled. Scient...
So we had a pretty big event called over this past weekend. The US Presidential election was called on Saturday in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden. I don't know about you but the sense of relief and joy in our home was palpable. It's as if a dark cloud had been lifted on our spirits. Not it's time for the transition to a new administration. With all the weight of politics in the US the past six or seven months, I thought it would be pleasant to take a break. I don't know about you bu...
On the surface, today’s guest, blogger Sandy Riguzzi, seems like a perfectly ordinary mom and grand mother from suburban New York. Yet the depth of her experience, which she mines as the source of her writing on Sunday Morning with Sandy, is anything but ordinary.Sandy is deeply reflective of the challenges she has faced growing up and raising five children. And from what I’ve seen she has faced plenty—abuse, disease, divorce, alcoholism and parenting a child with Down Syndrome. O...
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