In last week’s Artist’s Way Reflections post, in the Shadow Artists section, I wrote about how looking at what I obsess and fangirl over is like looking at a compass showing me what secret yearnings lurk in my artist heart. In doing that looking, I wrote mostly about music and TV/film.
After writing the post, I thought, hmm maybe I need to add podcasting to that list because that’s probably the thing, pop culture wise, that I consume the most, although there are times when I trade out for audiobooks instead. I constantly listen to podcasts. While getting ready for the day or ready for bed, while doing any type of chore around the house whether it’s just washing one dish I need to use or doing a full-on cleaning, while working out, while in the shower or bath, while practicing guitar or keyboard, while cooking, while eating meals, while commuting when that was a thing, while falling asleep back in the day when I fell asleep with my phone. Podcasts in the morning, podcasts in the afternoon, podcasts in the evening. Podcasts all day long. I’m obsessed with so many of them, so shouldn’t that be a Shadow Artist art form too?
I dismissed the thought–the post was already long enough–and went about my day, and I’m sure, listened to more podcasts, which as you can see in my end-of-month Pop Culture Digest post, mostly meant listening to old Bachelor-related podcasts.
Then that night, I dreamt about starting a podcast. I don’t remember much. I hardly ever remember dreams anymore, and this snippet is maybe the only one I’ve remembered at all in the last month. I was going through a drawer of random electronics and cords and shit, and an unidentified friend or mentor (didn’t seem to be anyone I knew in real life), a dude, was telling me not to use a certain mic, and pointing out that I already had a better one, and to use that instead.
It’s not the first time I’ve dreamt of podcasting.
A couple years ago, in the heyday of the Gilmore Guys podcast, I had a dream that I started a podcast called Grey’s Girls. I thought about it after waking up from the dream–I could talk Grey’s Anatomy all day, and have the semi-medical background aspect of it–but dismissed the idea because holy mother of god that show has so many episodes (sixteen seasons!) that it would take so many years to get through, and it’s still going.
Then, a couple months ago, I had a dream that I was hanging out in a basement type place with a ratty pool table and rattier couches. I was hanging out on the couch and got this idea that I was going to start a podcast about Infinite Jest, or David Foster Wallace more generally, and call it Women Recommend David Foster Wallace (as a play on the famous article “Men Recommend David Foster Wallace to Me” and because all of my intros to his work have come from women), and have it all be from female perspectives. Apparently in my dreams I have strong gender preferences for podcast cohosts, because so far I’ve dreamt not only of podcasting with girls, but that girlness is baked into the podcast show concept itself.
In the dream, I was thinking or talking about guests I’d want to have and about how it would be different from Jest Friends, a podcast I listened to last winter and loved. This one, I decided not to do when I woke up from the dream because I didn’t want to deal with all the inevitable controversy. I have a lot of written and half-written blog posts on IJ and DFW that I’ve never finished or published for the same reason.
So this one I had late last week was the third dream about podcasting. And later that morning, my friend Silpa and I were texting about something else entirely and she mentioned the Rare with Flair podcast and its hosts, Casey and Cassandra. “Man, I want to make a podcast,” I said, and my friend wrote back, “DO IT!” I said I wasn’t sure I could, I have no skills, and she continued to say do it, and that she thought I could figure it out as I went along, and that the dreams were a sign.
I started to think about it. Both of my dream podcast ideas seemed too daunting, and what was I going to podcast about anyway? Anything I thought about–TV recaps, writing, songs or specific artists–was already so saturated and I don’t have any particular expertise, just opinions.
Ten minutes later, I had it. Tarot. That’s something that I have expertise in, over fifteen years of experience. There are some tarot podcasts out there but not in a saturated way. And I come at it from a unique perspective, being a science person, a lover of chemistry, a medical student, a skeptic.
The whole idea felt like it materialized as soon as I started thinking about it. I had not only the idea, but an outline of the format and a tentative title.
Even more fell into place. I posted about this on my personal FB profile and now have a list of 24 (and growing) people who want to be guests. And they’ll get to get readings, so it’s a win-win. Hopefully, a win-win-win if people listening get something out of it. And yes, that is an Office reference, always.
And then my friend Tracy invited me over to her house (outside, of course) for this evening so we can look over podcasting equipment and work on creating theme music. Tracy and her husband are both musicians, and I guess I’m entering that realm too, so I want to play keyboard on whatever we create. So we’re going to hang out (first time seeing her since the pandemic hit, omg), play with equipment, listen to a bunch of theme music for existing podcasts, and work on creating our own.
Silpa also connected me with Casey and Cassandra from Rare with Flair, who’ve been so helpful in answering questions about launching their podcast. We talked about time investment before launch, equipment, editing, hosting and more.
And by the way, I listened to all of it the other day and it’s so good. The sound quality is excellent, the cover art is great, and the way they talk about rare diseases (including albinism, which I have as well) and legal blindness and how it impacts their lives is so spot on. Girls with disabilities living their best lives. So a huge thumbs up and plug for their podcast! CHECK IT OUT!
I also asked for advice in a Facebook discussion group for one of my favorite podcasts, one I’ve been listening to since early 2015, the first podcast I ever supported on Patreon (and I still only support 3, I’m broke and unemployed after all), Crime Writers On. I was a little worried if the post would be appropriate for the FB group, since I was more asking for general podcasting advice for my own gain, but I was met with thorough, thoughtful responses, links, equipment suggestions and advice. Two of the CWO hosts even replied, Toby Ball and Lara Bricker!
I also had an offer from my friend Rachel to do a test run episode that will never be meant to air. I think she wants to be part of it but doesn’t want to be on air (and if that’s wrong, Rachel, feel free to correct me) and I thought, wow, that’s a great idea that I’m not sure I would’ve thought of. It’ll give me a no-pressure way to have a full episode, test out equipment, practice editing, estimate length, and so on once I’m closer to launch. I’m so appreciative of the idea and the offer.
So, I have a lot of work ahead of me, but thanks to the help and support that’s come my way over the last couple of days, I at least have a good roadmap of the work ahead, and the learning curve. I always say I’m not that techie, and I’m not, so audio editing and figuring a lot of this out is intimidating but also invigorating.
Trying to be real realistic with expectations, which is something I work hard at doing, I’m hoping for a November launch, with the ultimate goal, if things take longer than expected or I struggle more than I think I will, to at least launch by the end of the year.
So, things are cooking. And this may not be the only thing cooking.
Oh yeah, and if anyone wants to cohost Grey’s Girls or Women Recommend DFW podcasts with me, let’s talk because I could probably get over the reservations with an enthusiastic podcast partner on board.