Oh boy, I have been gone for some time, haven't I? In November, our family moved to the Denver area, and in January we moved into our new, absolutely darling new home in Arvada, Colorado. I plan on staying here for a very long time. Moving sucks.
One of the most wonderful things about returning to Colorful Colorado is that I've been able to spend time with many old friends from college and earlier. One of these lovely classmates, Royce Roeswood, cohosts (with comedian and all-around neat person JD Lopez) a monthly live edition of the podcast Left Hand Right Brain. The year-old podcast is a light-hearted discussion with local creative types, and Royce asked if I would be the guest for February's live recording. I said yes! Now you can listen to me talk to other humans about art and other things.
I think that JD might regret telling me "don't feel like you are talking too much. That's what we are here for, to promote you" before recording--I just talked and talked and talked.
I've dreamt of the kind of stories I would tell on a podcast, possibly set to a particularly inviting track from Ghosts, sitting across from a smooth radio voice gently nudging me further into my fable. I would chuckle fondly at my own memories, sharing some personal trial or devastation. My resulting catharsis would flow like ribbons of inspiration into the ears of listeners, weaving my voice into their lives forever. Some people practice Oscar award speeches; I practiced the right phrasing of "oh, Ira," followed first by a knowing sigh of laugher, then by the revelation of my own coming-of-age life snippet.
The experience of recording the podcast was an odd and exhilarating one. I tend to think of myself as rather socially awkward and overanalyzing, often regretting whatever weirdness just left my mouth while in conversation with upstanding adult humans. When I reflect on periods of extrovertedness, like after performing a wedding or giving a docent tour at the Dali museum, my memory turns the act into a somewhat out-of-body visual. It's as if I don't have faith that I could have successfully done these things. They seem so far away from me.
Left Hand Right Brain has, in the past, highlighted local comedians for the shows. JD and Royce decided to change things up and expand to bring artists of all types to talk more generally about creativity, process, collaboration, and all that excellent brain food. Being their first non-comedian guest was a bit of a daunting task--an audience of listeners expecting to laugh would instead hear my voice. Talking about art. As the show format was new to me (and introduced a new visual element for the seasoned podcast hosts), I was nervous as to how it would all go down.
We recorded with an audience at The Molecule Effect downtown; there was laughter to reassure me that I wasn't losing everyone in my train of thought. Instantly after the podcast recording was completed, I felt intoxicatingly good about it. A high energy spiraled through my ego, pulsing me into a thrillingly inflated sense of self. I am incredible! I am Beyonce! I am an artist! Let's eat vegan food!
After the vegan food, the rest of the night was spent sleeplessly obsessing over everything I had said--will my parents find this offensive? was that story too intimate to share? Did I come off as weird/pretentious/silly/heady?--and dreading the release of the podcast several days later. But, guys, it came out great. I probably did come off as weird/pretentious/silly/heady, but in a good way.
Listening to the podcast today, and experiencing the whole ordeal in general, has me thinking about authenticity. During the recording, I kept rethinking the last thing I just said, questioning if it had been too intimate. I've had a lot of iconic life discussions during college with Royce and his wife Makena, and it is deliciously simple to fall to conversational depths with these old friends. But are those sort of authentic, cozy talks appropriate for the larger, anonymous audience of this podcast Don't I soak into those kinds of stories from other people, so grateful for their genuine self, so hungry for the candid, private stories of others? I am a famished consumer of these goods of human authenticity, yet I am limited by such fear to produce them myself. It is not the opinion of the masses that puts up this iron wall--I am most willing to document each tidbit of life for strangers, not that they would be interested--but it is my debilitating care for the opinions and feelings of the ones closest to me that keep this big cellar door locked shut.
It's an idea I've been struggling with for years and years, but after hearing myself authentically sharing (and feeling free to do so) on the podcast, I think I've answered my question. I look forward to being more candidly genuine with my intimate communities and the anonymous audience in the future.
Images Discussed in the Podcast: