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An Interview with Kelly Marie Carlin-McCall (Part One)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/03/01


An interview with Kelly Marie Carlin-McCall, B.A., M.A. She discusses: feeling not quite in place; the “shadow self” and graduate training; Joseph Campbell; perpetuation of limitations for people in society; Brenda Hosbrook’s drastic story with Ken, Brenda meeting Kelly’s father, and the ways family narratives become their own mythology; and heartwarming stories and connecting with her father.

Keywords: Art Hosbrook, Brenda Hosbrook, Joseph Campbell, Kelly Marie Carlin-McCall.

An Interview with Kelly Marie Carlin-McCall, B.A., M.A.: Actress, Internet Radio Host, Monologist, Producer, and Writer (Part One)[1],[2],[3],[4]

*Footnotes in & after the interview, & citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.*

1. Let’s start with a little bit of your background, you mother, Brenda Hosbrook, felt “like a stranger in her own life” (Carlin, 2015, p. 6). She was like her father, Art Hosbrook, who was a jazz musician in the 1930s (Ibid.). Alice Hosbrook sensed the wild nature in Brenda.

So, she kept her on a “tight leash,” except for the childhood boy, Ken. The approved of boy next neighbour. I find that amusing. You can’t necessarily make that stereotype up for a real situation: good boy next door. Did you feel, as with your mother as a stranger in her own life, as not quite in place?

Yes, absolutely, I am guessing most people feel that way, and it takes a lifetime to feel as though you’re living life in an authentic way. I think we are all trying to figure out what the rules are as a kid, in general, and then there’s the family rules, and the parts of ourselves that have to hide from the world because they are deemed “unacceptable,” whether it’s your chaotic self, or your anger, mischief, or sexuality. All of that stuff.

Robert Bly has this great essay called The Long Bag We Drag Behind Us (Bly, n.d.). It is about how, from day 1, we take parts of or aspects of ourselves to hide them in a bag behind us. By the time we get to adulthood, we are dragging this bag behind us, which are now shadow parts because we are not allowed to have them. So, yes, I think so. I did feel like a stranger a lot of the time in my own life.

2. The terminology you used there was the “shadow self.” Does that come from your graduate training?

The shadow is an aspect of the personality that Carl Jung talks about. In the end, it is the part that we don’t like. It is the part we don’t approve of, which means it is the part society does not approve of. We tend to push that behind us. What we put out front is our persona, the good version of our self.

The upstanding citizen version of our self. Our true nature, and a lot of us have the same stuff in our shadow, which is a lot of stuff society rejects and tends to be the same list over, and over, again. It is something that keeps leaking its way out. We like to pretend it’s not there. It is the ‘emperor with no clothes’ thing.

3. Is this a Joseph Campbell thing?

Joseph Campbell was someone who stood on the shoulders of people like Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Carl Jung is the one that talked about archetypes and mythology, where the archetypes are forms of thinking, forms and ways of being, e.g. the father and mother archetype. We are hardwired for them. We know how to be a father, instinctively. We know how to be a mother, instinctively.

We know how to be these things. There’s the child. There’s the Devil. There’s all of these forces inside of us. Campbell studied this, and the various philosophies and put them together. He showed the same archetypes and forms across every civilization and every culture. He began to connect the dots, specifically around those things. He was a great thinker.

4. In the United States, women got the right to vote in 1920. 1918 in the UK. 1919 in Canada, depending on the area. In the early part of the book, Alice, your mother’s mother, said, “Women don’t go to college,” to your mother, Brenda, after she earned a full scholarship to go to Ohio Wesleyan to study piano.

Yes, yes.

I don’t know if that is perpetuation of limitations for people in society. Do you think that statement by Alice to Brenda was reflective of that?

Yes, this was in Dayton, Ohio. In Alice’s family, no one went to college, especially a woman. Maybe, a few men went to college, but it was a working class family. Women could only be teachers, nurses, or wives. You were only a teacher or nurse until you got married, basically, and then you were an old maid.



Those were your only choices, in the Midwest, certainly. When you’re not given a lot of choices, and people around you are not given a lot of choices, you can’t visibly see those choices, even with my mother earning this scholarship. It is limited thinking. My mother was someone hoping to break free from her small, Midwest life – very shackled and imprisoned by that.

5. Ken, the good boy next door, impregnated her. They got married. She had a miscarriage of twins. They divorced. All by the age of 20.  For those growing up in more recent generations, that is a drastic story.

Yes, yes.

Later on, your father asked Art, your grandfather, to marry your mom in the Spencer’s Steak House urinal in Dayton, Ohio. (Carlin, 2015, p. 9)




These are dramatic experiences for families, especially because, in a way, family narratives can become their own mythology, where these are the stories families tell each other.

Absolutely, 100%, 100%. Yes.

Were these percolating in your mind when you were coming up?

The reason I wrote the book was because I knew I had such great stories to tell.[5] Everything we learn about our parents when we’re children we use to try to figure out how the world works. I only knew my mother’s experience of her childhood through her eyes.

I didn’t know it through her mother’s eyes, or her father’s eyes for that matter. Those apocryphal tales that your parents tell you when you’re first meeting them. It shapes your identity as a child, as a family member, and how you see the world, and what are the rules and who breaks them.

We’re trying to figure it all out. I know that my mom’s story about how her mom was so controlling of her did affect me. I didn’t understand the connection between that and my mother’s pain and alcoholism growing up. I was a kid, but I did feel the oppression.

The same oppression from her mother. Not necessarily from my mother, but through my mother because she hadn’t worked through it herself enough. She carried so much bitterness and rage about it all. The oppression acted through me too, and affected how I comported myself in the world as a powerful woman. Or, at first, not a powerful woman.

6. There are numerous little heartwarming stories from when you were young throughout the text. The ‘stink pot or baby doll’ game. (Carlin, 2015, p. 11) Of course, you were never stink pot. I think about the time your parents got Hobo Kelly to send you Colorforms. (Carlin, 2015, p. 22) You cherished watching your father pack, with OCD qualities, before leaving town, for 2-3 weeks. (Carlin, 2015, p. 31)

But at the same time, my feeling that I get from that is a desperate sense of wanting to connect in any way possible. With respect to those moments, where there was genuine family time and connection, and then the other times when there wasn’t, but you made up your own connection through simple observation of your father packing and paying attention to the minute details such as the OCD nature of it, there was – I hate the cliché – a hole needing to be filled. You were, as children are more creative, finding more ways to fill that.

Yes, I think it’s always difficult to connect with fathers. Fathers may be different nowadays, but, certainly back then, fathers were the ones who left the house, didn’t do the parenting, and brought home the pay cheque. There is that natural hole and void that was around for kids to that time, besides my own personal history.

But having my dad on the road for so long, all of the time. He was gone 1/2 to 2/3 of the year. That is a long time without a dad. Add to this the complication of my mother’s alcoholism and mental health issues (anxiety and depression), it created times without true connection. We were in survival mode. Luckily, the first couple years of my life had deep bonding, which is essential for deep connection.

So, the deep connection was there on some deep level, but from age 3 onward, until my mom’s sobriety in some ways, into my adulthood there was a need for deep connection. There was a melancholy around it. From there, my dad’s ambition and creative genius, and creative drive, was focused on the work, not on the family. There was a deep longing for connection, for all three of us.

When those moments of coming together and ordinary family moments, or even the extraordinary ones too, those bonded us. Even with the bonding of the chaos, I think created this sense of this mythology around my life. Here we are bonding over the stories like Summerfest in Milwaukee and dad getting arrested, things like that. They became funny cocktail party stories later, but there’s a deep bonding when you survive with people through harrowing moments. So, we did have deep connection in that way. A profound connection, also.


  1. Bly, R. (n.d.). “The Long Bag We Drag Behind Us” (excerpt) A Little Book on the Shadow. Retrieved from
  2. Carlin, K. (2015). A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Actress; Internet Radio Host; Monologist; Producer; and Writer.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 1, 2017 at; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2017 at

[3] M.A., Jungian Depth Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute; B.A. (Magna Cum Laude), Communication Studies, University of California, Los Angeles.

[4] Photograph courtesy of Kelly Marie Carlin-McCall.

[5] Carlin, K. (2015). A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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