Well, I can’t say I saw this coming when I started.
Of course, there’s a lot of stuff going on these days that nobody saw coming way back in 2019 when I launched the podcast. You know, like a pandemic.
Alas, I didn’t expect that when I reached Episode #50 – an episode that I had personally and privately set as a milestone – the show would bear very little resemblance to my initial vision. That’s the way things go sometimes. When you jump into a thing like a podcast or a book or an art project or an album without a very clear plan, things will sometimes veer into unexpected territory. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s recommended.
Things will turn into what they want to turn into if you give them the space to evolve. That’s the problem for a lot of people – they don’t know exactly what to do or whether they can do it well, so they don’t start at all. They say they’re waiting until they’re more clear, but the thing is clarity tends to come with action. You chip away at the lump of clay that is your show or your play and with diligence it reveals itself.
My podcast revealed that it wants to be mostly a solo thing.
At least right now.
I did not see that coming, but it feels right and if I hadn’t been willing to jump in and flounder around for a while, I never would have known. And that’s the lesson of the first 50 episodes, friends. Sometimes you just have to begin a thing without a clear direction and hang around long enough for the direction to become clear. You can waste a lifetime sitting on the sidelines waiting until you know what to do or how to do it.
Solo shows make sense in retrospect. As I said in the episode, I mostly listen to solo shows (Roth, Burr, Fortin, etc.). I listen to lectures on YouTube. I like TED Talks. I do occasionally listen to interviews and I expect I’ll still do them from time to time, but almost from the beginning of the show I felt a pull to start talking. It began with the introduction to the first Tania Thomas episode and eventually (inevitably?) turned into full solo episodes. That was a scary step, by the way. I still have cognitive dissonance about doing solo episodes and I haven’t really nailed down my idiom, but it’s where the podcast wanted to go, so here we are. I hope you like them. Chances are if you’ve read this far you do.
Anyway, when I started the show, I thought I would try to do 50 episodes. You need to give a project like this some time to establish a track record. You can’t quit after two episodes because nobody is listening. And I spent literal years avoiding doing a podcast, so when I finally broke down and did it I knew I’d have to make a real effort and create a substantial body of work before I decided whether it was worth continuing. I thought we’d get to 50 before now, but then that other unexpected thing happened ….
I’ll confess that it’s been tough at times. Slogging through editing in the back of tour vans was tough at times. Trying to nail down interviews with people was tough at times. Not getting a whole lot of response was tough a lot of the time. That’s part of the game. This sort of thing can feel like working in a vacuum, which challenges you to think about why you’re really doing it. It forces you to see value beyond simple metrics or dopamine rushes on Instagram. If you’re going to long-haul a creative project, the motivation has to come from enjoying the process or at least feeling like the process is worth all of the effort.
So it’s kind of a brave new world as we sit reflecting on Episode #50. All I can say at this point is thank you to everyone who has listened and supported and encouraged so far. We’ll see where the thing wants to go from here. In the meantime, enjoy today’s chat about music and talk radio and inspiration. And if you’re holding back on a project you know you want to try because you don’t know exactly what to do, jump in! Jump in and let it reveal itself to you.
Here’s some of the stuff I referenced in the episode. Enjoy!
MSG (Robin McAuley)