Mary Karr: Astonished by the Human Comedy (Krista Tippett)

and then, as I often do, once I’ve worked on a talk, I just — at some point, you have to just let go of the outcome. And you say, “Look, if they boo and they throw things, it’ll last for 20 minutes. And then it’ll be over, and I’ll have an anecdote. It’ll be fine. I’ll go back to my life.”

Ms. Tippett: In Now Go Out There, you said, “The opposite of love is fear,” and you told these graduates that “fear can take that expensively educated brain of yours and reduce it to the state of a dog growling over a bone.” But you did say, “Ask yourself who’s noticing how scared you are,” and that that’s where your soul is. And if you can get curious about it, you get less scared

..  you note the connection between “breakdown” and “breakthrough.”

Ms. Karr:Right. [laughs] Is it a nervous breakdown or a nervous breakthrough? That’s right. That’s a good question.

Ms. Tippett:Because you had both, right?

Ms. Karr:Well, I think every nervous breakdown is a nervous breakthrough, if you let it be. I really do. I really believe that. I believe that it’s the old Hemingway saw of: “All of us are broken, and some of us get stronger in the broken places.”

Ms. Tippett:Yeah, here’s something else you said. You called the place you went the “Mental Marriott.” [laughs]