3-Minute Interview: Beth Lisick

The Bay Area author and poet, a fixture in San Francisco literary circles for more than a decade, just released her latest book, an immersion-based account of the self-help industry, titled, “Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone.” Lisick, who convenes monthly storytelling meetings at Café Du Nord, will be reading from her new book Thursday at Diesel, A Bookstore, in Oakland.

What prompted your yearlong study into the world of self-help gurus? I like to put myself into situations where I feel uncomfortable. I always ignored the entire self-help genre because I thought the advice was so basic, but I also thought it was a little adolescent of me to dismiss an industry that is so popular. Because it was so unlike anything I’d ever done, I found it very intriguing.

Any unifying themes you picked up on? Some of the stuff was pretty much common-sense advice, but there were some real enlightening things I discovered. I was worried that this could be an affront to my individuality, but there are some universal aspects to self-help that I think everyone can appreciate.

How has growing up in the Bay Area been reflective in your writing? It gives me a real sense of my self and where I come from. I definitely think I write as a NorCal native. Being from the Bay Area, where we’re so exposed to so many different elements of culture, kind of makes the mainstream exotic.

Your Bay Area book tour finishes Feb. 11. Do you have any big plans after that? I’m going to keep doing my storytelling series at Café Du Nord, and I’m working with my friend Tara [Jepsen] on a new stage show, and I’m helping to edit a book for another friend. I’m not sure what my next book is about, but I’m confident something interesting will come up. If you stay curious, I find there are endless sources of inspiration.

Bay Area NewsLocalTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

Toni Isabella, a counselor at Ohlhoff Recovery Programs, finds helpful assistance from service dog Barker Posey.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Toni Isabella: Helping people indoors and out recover from addiction’s dark side

Counselor supports holistic, progressive approach to healing

A health care worker receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020. (Courtesy SFgov)
SF to open three large sites for COVID-19 vaccinations

Breed: ‘We need more doses. We are asking for more doses’

San Jose Sharks (pictured Feb. 15, 2020 vs. Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center) open the season on Monday against the St. Louis Blues in St. Louis. (Tribune News Service archive)
This week in Bay Area sports

A look at the upcoming major Bay Area sports events (schedules subject… Continue reading

Tongo Eisen-Martin, a Bernal Heights resident, named San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tongo Eisen-Martin becomes San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate

Bernal Heights resident Tongo Eisen-Martin has become San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate.… Continue reading

Most Read