Episode 15: Two Gen Xers walk into a podcast

Last Updated on October 10, 2020 by Kristen

Jen Sullivan Brych

I know every week I say I’m super excited about the podcast, and I promise you it’s always true. But this week is extra special because I finally convinced one of my best friends, Jen Sullivan Brych, to join me on the show.

I’ve been wanting to have Jen on partly because she’s smart and funny as hell. She’s is an award-winning author whose work has appeared in Fourteen HillsThe Los Angeles Times, Wired, The Rumpus, and sparkle+blink. She was a finalist for Third Coast magazine’s fiction contest, and her plays have been performed in various Bay Area theaters. She teaches creative writing at City College of San Francisco, where she helped revive Forum, the college’s literary magazine founded in 1937.

I also wanted to have her on because we’re both confirmed Gen Xers, and we met while we were both working at Wired in the late ’90s. 

And with all the talk about Gen Xers supposedly being great at sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic, I thought it would be fun to chat about how our experiences growing up have influenced our ability to weather the coronavirus pandemic.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m not surprised. Gen X’s moment in the spotlight was actually quite short-lived in late March and I might be the only one still paying attention to. But I’m OK with that because no one ever accused Gen Xers of getting too much attention. Long story short, those of us born between 1965 and 1980  are supposedly born for sheltering in place because we were latchkey kids, often forgotten, accustomed to lowering our expectations, and generally OK with being alone.

Add on to all that my only child status and I should have quite an advantage—which I guess is true but honestly it’s getting old even for me at this point.

These are all stereotypes, of course. And as Jen points out in the podcast, they’re assumptions that mostly consider privileged white people, not usually minorities or other disenfranchised populations and it’s important to acknowledge that.

Still, my ears always perk up when Gen X is in the spotlight because it happens so rarely—most of the time everyone literally forgets we exist (check below for evidence). I just really wanted to take the opportunity to extend this rare conversation as much as possible.

This episode is also a little different because it’s more like a conversation with Jen than an interview—I hope that cool with you all. It was very cool for me not only to finally get Jen on the podcast, but also to have a solid chunk of time to talk with her—which never happens because of our children. You will notice that the conversation is not completely uninterrupted but it was still satisfying. I hope you all enjoy listening!

Audio editing by Sofija Jovanov

Relevant Links

Jen Sullivan Brych

Of course a pandemic quarantine is Gen X’s time to shine (click for a collectoin of articles written on this topic)

Meet the Perennials

I refuse to start a coronavirus home school 




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