The Laws Have Changed

Dan,

I found myself at work the other day, explaining what podcasts are to my boss. It was at that moment that I realized how much I have to learn about something I help in the weekly production of. Like writing poetry and blogging, podcasting is an ever-modifying way to share and express part of you and like so many things I endeavor to do, I’m learning as I go along.

In the last few months I’ve undertaken the production of a podcast and starting this month I will add more production time to my already impressively booked calendar. But like writing, each project is different and already I love the new things I have to learn from one of my favorite collaborative partners.

I will be sad when our emails and text threads are no longer filled with what we want to explore with the blog. I will miss having the weekly expectation to put a page of words down that show some semblance of coherent thought, but all good things come to an end.

I already see evidence of new and exciting discussions to come by simply glancing at my inbox. I love the writing and rewriting of ideas, the demolition and reconstruction of potential outlines. It shows me that whether we blog, wax poetic or record our meandering conversation; we understand some idea of what one another is trying to accomplish.

All of this revelation reminds me of the early days before we wrote to each other, the days where we just talked at length about whatever came to mind. Of course we’ve learned to be more structured since then, the stability and growth in our own lives helped us become more lucid writers. But I’m ready to transfer those skills into a new medium and I excited that you’ll be on the other end of the line.

There are still things to do; stories to share and deadlines to meet but I am thrilled to have our podcast to look forward to. It makes the ending of this chapter feel less final.

Googling “how do you define a podcast,”

Adair

Yakkity Yak

Adair,

We’re both talkers. We take turns not letting the other get a word in. Our friendship really blossomed over the phone in the years following our geographical separation. We began to supplement this time on the phone by exchanging these correspondences, but we still live as friends over the phone.

This conversational centerpiece is not unique to our friendship. Most of my friendships are now long distance, so time on the phone has become the lifeblood of my social life. But now that practice, this hours long communication is taking a new form. As if I couldn’t be more annoying, I’ve begun to podcast with my friends. And you are my latest victim.

The idea of podcasting is somethings I would have scoffed at just a few years ago. I can’t imagine myself in college producing digital on demand radio. In fact, I don’t think I listened to a podcast until 2015 some time. I may or may not have actively avoided them. Now I see my previous avoidance for the waste of time that it is.

With the launch in February Of Secret Weapon Productions, my podcast network/production company, I discovered a new way of collaborating and creating. I had become a producer, in the advisory and grandson sense of the word. Direct control of a process and the product it produces was an incredible thing to discover. But the being able to immediately distribute it made it the most actionable creative endeavor in my life.

With the growth of our friendship and the podcast network, it was only a matter of time before you and I started a podcast together. And as we continue to create and grow as friends and collaborators, I’m so excited to see what fruit this new project yields.

Recording live,

-Dan

Life Is A Carnival

Dan,

It’s been four short years since I moved to the city I now happily call home, and I find it a struggle to recall how it felt to not live in this place. The years here haven’t always felt smooth but being a resident of Seattle has almost always felt “right” to me, as if I found the magical place where I belong. But no place is perfect, no matter how besotted you are with it.

In the last four years I have had one moment of doubt regarding my choice to pack up my life and drive to Washington. So here’s the story of how on day three of living here I nearly came crawling back to Montana.

I moved to Seattle with no job, no home and very few acquaintances. I left my family and the comfort of a place I had known for twenty-three years in the hopes that this city would become my new home. Three days into this adventure I came outside to find the windows of my car shattered and part of the car’s steering taken apart (not to mention a fair amount of blood on the interior).

At the time that I came across my vehicle I was on my way to meet my friend Megan, we had solidified our friendship less than 24 hours prior but she handled the situation like a champ. As we waited for the police to come file a report she helped me remove the belongings that remained in my vehicle and take them into my friend’s apartment. We then made phone calls to find a mechanic open on a Sunday and when my car was safely towed away she drove me to a job interview I had scheduled for later that day.

After the interview, she dropped me off downtown where I was staying, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I felt like a part of me had been violated, knowing that a stranger had sifted through my photos and books (which was pretty much all I had in the car).

I came into my friend’s apartment and found it empty so I sat on his couch, looked out the window and wondered what the hell I was thinking when I made the decision to leave my home. I called my mother and cried, I told her I missed her and felt so alone and didn’t know if I made the right choice. I wanted some encouraging sign but I felt as if the city itself was rejecting me.

After I got off the phone, my friend walked in and took in the whole scene of me sitting in a dark living room and crying. Uncharacteristically, he hugged me and told me that it was just a bad day and offered to make popcorn and put on a movie for us. As soon as he went into the kitchen, my phone rang with a job offer and moments later Megan texted me with words of encouragement and it felt as if the puzzle pieces were coming into place.

My life didn’t come into immediate focus that night but as I sat on the couch next to an old friend, watching the ferries glide across the dark water, and texting my new friend, I felt like I could handle it. I had a support unit, a job and a roof over my head. And for the first time I really saw that there was potential of something great in this city, something I couldn’t yet verbalize but now recognize as finding your place.

Navigating choppy water,

Adair

 

 

New York’s Not My Home

Adair,

Much of my time in New York has been spent in the service of others. Not in the “feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless” way but more in the “on the rocks or up?” sort of way.  And while I don’t want to bartend forever, I must admit that I do like my job the majority of the time. It’s not a vast majority, certainly not enough to amend the constitution, but over 50% of the time, I like it.

I have an interest in alcohol, I enjoy the social experiment of watching people interact while drinking, but most of all, I love stories. And it’s the stories of my patrons that I will remember long after the stink of beer is washed out of my clothes and my tips have all been spent.

One such story belongs to Grace.

Grace is who I think of when I think of a New Yorker. She’s tough, opinionated, and not afraid of anyone. She has her standards and she knows what she likes. She doesn’t like how the city is changing, but she loves all the new places to eat. Grace is all of us after a few decades in Manhattan.

Grace is a firecracker. And I mean that how a 1930’s newspaper editor would have used it. She has so much spunk and moxie that while in her seventies, I have no doubt that she could match wits with anyone who dared to challenge her. Having written and published two novels that are still in print, she was already a hero of mine, but in one night she become someone who I know I will never forget.

One night back in April, Grace and I were doing our usual routine. She came in from her apartment which is on the same block as the bar, and I greeted her with a rhetorical “would you like a Prosecco?” I poured her drink and, as a writer, Grace extended her routine but earnest inquiry into my creative life. “How’s it going? What are you working on?” Without fail, she would ask about my writing. And this night, I was honest about my struggles.

I said, “Grace, I can’t wait until I can wake up somewhere quiet, make coffee, take the dog on a walk, come back, sit down at a desk of my own, and just write.” Grace looked away and considered my words for a moment. “Well, would you like to come and stay at my house in Maine?”

In that moment, I could have cried. I took it as a joke, but she was serious. She offered to let us stay in the off season, September-April rent free so I could have a writing retreat. “Now you would have to pay for the heat,” she added as a qualifier. But the wood to burn in the stove of the 1860 built Victorian getaway for a whole winter would have cost less than our Metro cards for the month.

The kindness of an established writer who genuinely wanted to help another artist was remarkable. Never in my life had I been so flattered and thankful for a gift. And in my mind, that will always be how I remember New York. Busting my ass at my job and trying to make real relationships, and seeing those relationships blossom into something truly special.

As you know, for a couple different reasons, this offer didn’t work out. However, it was and will remain a real benchmark in human kindness that I have experienced in New York and beyond. And one day, I hope I can do the same for another writer.

Thankful,

-Dan