This all makes me uncomfortable. But you’re supposed to take risks, right? Get out of your comfort zone. Whatever. I’m talking about this new podcast I’m doing called Storytime with Paul Dore. I put my name in the title to intentionally make myself uncomfortable.
Let me explain.
So, Pj Kwong and I have been producing the Open Kwong Dore Podcast for a number of years. I think it’s safe to speak for both of us and say that we loved doing it. We had the ability to connect with just about anyone that we found interesting, sit down with them for an hour or so and just ask them about what they do and why they do it. That’s a pretty good gig.
Talk about getting out of your comfort zone. I was terrible at first. The vote is still out if I ever did get better than terrible. I would say at least slightly better. Everyone is doing a podcast now and I think many people believe that you just show up and interview someone. Interviewing someone is a skill and you need to work on it. I would fill my brain up with as much information about the person as I could and formulate a rough narrative of possibilities as to where the interview might go. What I learned very early on was that you’re dealing with a person and each interview had a life of its own. So, once I hit record, I just tried to let things happen. This was difficult for a control freak, but also exciting and surprising.
After some personal difficulties last year, I lost my mojo for interviewing. I tried different approaches, but I have a profound respect for people who gave us their time and opened up to share their stories. I needed to be present for the person I was talking to and I felt that ability waning. It had nothing to do with them, it was all me. We decided to put the show on hiatus until we could figure out what to do with it.
A benefit of getting older is that you figure out certain things about yourself. I need to let things process and filter through my weird brain. Every once in a while, I’d just sit and think about what to do with this podcast. I wanted to keep it going, but these shows are a lot of work and I need to be in it 100%. I kept coming up with nothing. I was processing. My internal computer is slowing down with each year, I guess.
At the same time, after these personal difficulties, I returned to performing at the Stories We Don’t Tell live event. A couple of months ago, a friend and I conceived a story where we would be private detectives. I don’t know what it was about this story, but for me, I felt that I locked in to something in the way it was presented. It felt good, it felt like I finally told a story exactly how I wanted it to sound and in my own unique way. Whatever this was, I tried it again and again it worked. This helped speed up the processing.
I had it in my head that I was looking for a way to continue the podcast without having to involve many people beyond myself and my co-producer Pj Kwong. The control freak in me was crying to once again gain control. I looked back over the eight years of this blog and thought about how good it felt to share those stories at Stories We Don’t Tell. The processing was done. These three elements make up the podcast as it exists now: that voice from Stories We Don’t Tell, this blog and being able to record with minimal people. It all happened very fast and just kind of felt right.
Each episode is a short story, either new ones from the event or old ones from the blog archives. If you don’t like my voice, I’m sorry. This show is not designed for binge-listening. Listen to one, if you like it, maybe listen to two. And then wait. Just for fun, I threw in a short segment about something I’m reading, listening to or watching. I generally hate when people post on social media saying things like: You must see this! But by formalizing it, making it just one man’s humble opinion, I figured what the hell? We kept this on the Open Kwong Dore Podcast feed - we wanted those listeners who were familiar with us to be the first to hear the new show and why start from scratch? It’s more of an evolution.
What makes me uncomfortable? By putting my name in the title and every episode a story from me and just me recording, that’s a lot of me. Listen, I have to live with me, so I get it. But, fuck it. I regard my blog as my little corner of the internet and if you don’t like it, there are plenty of options. Plus, I think this is good work, both the blog and the stories I do at Stories We Don’t Tell. I’m proud of all this stuff and I’m a little tired of being my own worst enemy and playing down this shit. If this makes me a little uncomfortable, then I really need to examine why, but more importantly, get over it already.
Listen to these first two episodes of Storytime with Paul Dore and subscribe at this LINK.
Adventures in Grocery Shopping: where I share a story about one of the last urban battlegrounds - the grocery store.
My Place in the World: a live recording from Stories We Don’t Tell. Three short segments about experiences that made me question the world and my place in it.