"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

curiouser & curiouser Podcast: Stressed In The U.S. With Dr. Meg Van Deusen

 Listen to the episode here!

I loved getting to speak with licensed clinical psychologist and author Dr. Meg Van Deusen for this podcast episode. I read Meg’s book — Stressed in the U.S.: Twelve Tools to Tackle Anxiety, Loneliness, Tech-Addiction and More — recently, and boy was it timely given the current state of our nation and our world! I was so glad to get to chat with Meg to dig a bit more into some of the themes of her book and share them with you here in this conversational format.  

Obviously, stress and anxiety are nothing new to our culture, but during her years treating patients Meg realized there were some themes she was seeing again and again. She wanted to dig more into those themes and issues, and the result is this book.

She gives some helpful context as to WHY we as a nation might be experiencing so many of these issues, and also shares some things we can do to reduce them in our own lives. That’s one of the most important things about the book: you’ll be left with practical tips you can incorporate right away to help you feel more grounded. She shared many of those tips during our conversation for this podcast as well, so listen up! (If you want to dig deeper into this topic after listening to this episode, be sure to grab a copy of Meg’s book as well!)

Stressed in the US Book Cover

Stressed in the US: Twelve Tools to Tackle Anxiety, Loneliness, Tech-Addiction and More

Stressed in the US addresses the relevant cultural phenomena that are contributing to stress in the US since the turn of the millennium, such as tech addiction, loneliness and anxiety. Meg Van Deusen talks about what we can do to mitigate this pervasive problem.

“In this compelling book, Meg Van Deusen delivers on her promise of sharing effective navigational tools to help us make our way safely across the troubled waters of our times.”

 Dr. Vincent Atchity, President and CEO, Mental Health Colorado

About the Book

Stressed in the US Book Cover

Seventy-five percent of Americans are moderately stressed. Seventy-five percent of Americans are lonely. More than 33 percent of us sleep less than six hours a night. In addition, 77 percent of us use social media daily and 81 percent of us own a smartphone. Why are these statistics important? Because loneliness, sleep-deprivation, social media use, tech use, and even gut-imbalance—which the Huffington Post refers to as “the modern plague”—are all causes and results of stress. Stress is the reason for at least 75 percent of today’s doctor’s visits, costing the US billions per year in employee absenteeism, accidents, and illnesses. 

9/11, climate change, a historic economic crisis, numerous mass shootings, an inordinate amount of school lockdowns, a foreign attack on our election, a politically divided country, tech-induced anxiety and addiction, and information overload: since 2000, these unique-to-our-time phenomena have created a petri dish of stress in the US, causing a host of emotional and physical ailments.

Here’s the problem: while the well-researched, psychological theory on attachment tells us that secure attachments to each other and to our nation create resilience to stress, our current American culture is creating barriers, not pathways, to human trust and closeness. Stressed in the US: Twelve Tools to Tackle Anxiety, Loneliness, Tech-Addiction and More investigates current, cultural phenomena that are causing a convergence of increased stress with decreased interpersonal connection from an attachment theory perspective.

Dr. Van Deusen explains why and how our relationships are breaking down at a time when we need them the most. The good news? As a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, and mindfulness practitioner, she offers insights and solutions to a complex, pervasive problem.

• Restorative practices protect us
• Nature calms us
• Mindfulness connects us 

'The Meg 2' Finds its Director With 'Rebecca' Filmmaker Ben Wheatley

Warner Bros. is going back in the water for another bite.

Warner Bros. is going back in the water for another bite.

The studio has set filmmaker Ben Wheatley, whose updated version of Gothic tale Rebecca debuted this week, to direct the sequel to its 2018 giant shark thriller hit, The Meg.

Much of key talent from the first movie is expected to return, including Jason Statham, who is said to be creatively involved. Jon and Erich Hoeber wrote the most recent draft working off an initial draft by Dean Georgaris (all three shared credit on the intial outting). Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Belle Avery are back as producers.

Meg starred as Statham as a shark expert who fights tooth and nail against a giant prehistoric shark called a megalodon. Jon Turteltaub, known for the National Treasure movies, directed the movie, which proved to be a worldwide hit, chomping its way to $530.3 million globally. The movie, an adaptation of the novel by Steve Alten, was a Chinese co-production and saw Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson and Ruby Rose round out the cast.

Catherine Ying, Li Ruigang, E. Bennett Walsh, Gerald Molen and Randy Greenberg are exec producing.

Wheatley is a British filmmaker with a penchant for the dark and satirically skewed. He has racked up awards for his horror and crime movies such as Sightseers and Kill List, with each directorial outing working its way up the budgetary and acting ranks. He generated buzz for the 2015 dystopian thriller High Rise, which starred Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons, and followed that up with action comedy Free Fire, which starred Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy and Armie Hammer. Wheatley reteamed with the latter for Rebecca, which also stars Lily James and Kristin Scott Thomas, and is one of Netflix’s big movies of the fall season.

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter


Ken's Weekly Book Recommendation: Silence Her by Doug Fetterly


An idealistic journalist's daring activism puts her life on the line after she publically takes on corruption and the FDA.

In Conversation with Hollywood Film producer, Author, Literary Agent & Screenwriter — Ken Atchity.

The Entertainment Engine weekly podcast is providing helpful tips and information on navigating the entertainment industry across; Music, Film & TV for new bands, artists, actors, songwriters, and creatives.

With more than fifty years’ experience in the publishing world and over thirty years in entertainment, Dr. Ken Atchity (PhD Yale) has been called a “story merchant”—writer, professor, editor, producer, and literary manager. He’s launched hundreds of books and films, including New York Times bestsellers and Emmy-nominated documentaries, making over 200 films and television deals-with every broadcaster and every studio in Hollywood, and many independent film companies as well, including; HBO, Universal, CBS, Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount, NBC, Discovery, Regency, and Fox 2000 Pictures.

Getting Your Story Straight: Point of View


Professional coaching tips to help you figure out point of view, structure, and master all the elements of story.
⁠Follow Ken's series on IGTV @storymerchant

A Great Jason Statham Movie Is Finding Lots Of Love On Netflix

Jason Statham has been a regular fixture on our screens for over two decades now, but in the last few years, he’s enjoyed the most box office success of his career, largely due to his involvement in the Expendables and Fast and Furious franchises. Before that, the 53 year-old reigned for a long time as the king of the B-level action movie, churning out a series of formulaic genre flicks that were never anything less than watchable. But his career has really reached a whole new level as of late.

While a scene-stealing supporting role in Paul Feig’s Spy revealed a superb comic talent hidden underneath the rough exterior, Statham has tended to rely on his unique blend of gruff charisma to sell his personal brand, and it’s worked wonders for him. As a former competitive diver that represented his country at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, the Snatch star is obviously no stranger to the water, either, and that experience came in pretty handy when he headlined 2018 blockbuster The Meg.

National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub’s giant shark movie isn’t designed to engage the brain, but as an enjoyably preposterous piece of big budget entertainment, it definitely does the job. Jaws it most certainly isn’t, but it nonetheless ticks all of the boxes that you’d expect from a PG-13 effort armed with a budget of $150 million and populated almost entirely by recognizable but hardly A-list actors.

Audiences seemed to get a kick out of it, too, as The Meg wound up earning over $530 million at the box office, and a sequel is unsurprisingly said to be in the works. Netflix subscribers are loving it just as much as well it seems, as the enjoyable slice of mindless escapism is currently the ninth most popular title on the streaming service across the entire world today, with tons of people no doubt digging all the thrills it has to offer up.

Read more 

Dr. Meg Van Deusen Author of "Stressed in the U.S. on The Panic Pod

In this episode of the Panic Pod, Ella has a conversation with Dr. Meg Van Deusen, a Seattle-based psychologist and author of the new book Stressed in the U.S.: 12 Tools to Tackle Anxiety, Loneliness, Tech Addiction and More. 

Through the stress of the Coronavirus pandemic, climate crisis related events, and state of racial inequality and the presidential election in the U.S., Dr. Van Deusen provides hope using tools that have come from practical experience as a therapist. Just a few of the many tools in her book are discussed in this interview against the backdrop of our present-day stresses.

Follow Meg Van Deusen on social media or learn more about her at

Produced BY: Mentoring Matters by Kia Kiso


Mentoring Matters - Developing A Career: Learning To Identify The Story You Want And Go After It

By Kia Kiso,

I have more than 90 credits as an AC/Loader, Telecine Colorist and VFX Coordinator, but eight years ago I heeded my lifelong calling to produce. Since then I have shepherded award-winning videos, promos for CBS and launched two feature documentaries on Netflix. In 2013 I joined the PGA because I knew of its many benefits, and I wanted to be part of a community of like-minded creatives. Currently I have focused on building my production company to develop fictional content, with an aim at creating compelling and unique stories in order to make the world a better place. 

When I applied to the 2016 PGA Mentoring Program, I had just walked away from the option on a book into which I had put a lot of time and resources. I was disappointed and wished I could have saved the project. The experience led me to realize that development was an aspect of producing I was less familiar with. I was looking for expert advice on how to assess opportunities, set up a project for success, handle relationships with authors, lawyers and talent, and run a production company.

Thankfully the PGA Mentoring Program paired me with producer Ken Atchity. I was thrilled to be matched with Ken for a lot of reasons, among them his industry experience and teaching background. However I admit, I was especially attracted to his philosophy—“I believe in the power of stories to change the world.”

Our first connection was an in-person, 90-minute meeting, in which he gave me feedback on a particular project of mine. Ken had some great advice about pitching—if a project tackles potentially controversial or delicate issues, Ken advised weaving some well-researched statistics or facts into the pitch to send the message that the material wouldn’t suggest a problem for the network and lead to a premature no. He wrapped up the meeting saying I could contact him about the project at any time, even after the mentorship ends. Very generous. Since that first meeting, we’ve had a pivotal phone conversation during which he suggested I was in a great position to go after an option I was very excited about, helping me to design a strategy on how to move forward quickly—starting with enhancing my relationship with the rights owner. He’s been ready to answer any questions by email. Even as recently as this morning, we were in touch to discuss a lunch I was preparing for with a writer who wanted to work with me.  

Ken has been wonderful. He celebrates my triumphs and brainstorms solutions to my challenges. I am very grateful for his willingness to participate in the Mentoring Program and to the Producers Guild for providing it

Dealing With Your Type-C Creative Mind: Know Thyself


For all storytellers—novelists, screenwriters, journalists, nonfiction writers, and children’s book writers.⁠

Learn more about One-on-one coaching to help understand a Type-C personality and equip you with practical tools to make yourself more productive and less frustrated with storytelling.⁠⁠