"Sounds and Words, A Podcast with a Difference" explores the somewhat crowded intersection of the arts and faith, but it aims to take frequent detours across new and largely unexplored neighboring areas of interest. Created by author Karl Erickson who joined the Catholic Church with his wife and children in 2015, the podcast delves into many areas of great interest to today's Catholic community--as well as those still spiritually searching. One week, for instance, it may focus on a visit to Rome or London, while the next show may explore the meaning of sacred space or even take a hard look at the current political environment. Topics will vary across these general themes. Listeners may also share their preferences with the podcaster through e-mail or social media contacts. Expect new podcasts to be shared every several weeks, or so. The length will be an average of twenty minutes until the show gains a following.
If you are looking for fresh and timely content that remains largely timeless in its explorations, then you need look no further than "Sounds and Words."
About five years ago, I began a newsletter entitled Sounds and Words, a name inspired by the 1999 Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists. The newsletter was a lot of fun, and it helped forge some great friendships with writers and artists around the country. A short time later, though, when I decided to return to university studies in order to complete my BA, the time seemed right to let that newsletter go for a while. (I graduated last year with a BA in English Literature and New Media.) Today, I've been given the responsibility of creating and maintaining a complex newsletter for a state agency, so doing a new arts newsletter at this time doesn't exactly catch my interest.
I thought about the things I enjoy doing, and I realized that a podcast might be a great fit in terms of simultaneously exploring my interest in audio work and the arts. I've done radio, television, and served as the voice talent behind part of a state agency's phone tree system, but doing a podcast would be breaking exciting new ground. The next challenge was deciding upon topics or themes. I realized that this bothered me a bit; it seemed like I was putting the cart before the horse.
After all, shouldn't I have content that I am so excited to share that I turn to podcasts as the logical media choice for delivery? Well, that's a good point. But, as a blogger, author, essayist, and photographer, I'm not exactly a stranger to the arts. I have a history. after all, of exploring multiple mediums or genres only to decide later that one particular approach may not a perfect fit for me--e.g. science fiction short stories or auditor humor. Exploring new avenues always seems like a good thing for the creative-minded. As we get comfortable, after all, our art is likely to become more and more stale, less infused with originality and creative spark.
One aspect I particularly like about the podcast format is that I can begin rather small and move on to longer and more complicated shows if and when audience feedback is supportive of this change. Let's face it, there's a lot of great audio content options to choose from out there, and I think if I were to immediately start with an hour-long show that it would seem like I was rushing headlong into some new grand experiment without the prerequisite respect for my listeners. I see it about creating a relationship first. So, there you have it.
As for podcast themes, I see varying subjects for the foreseeable future. I'd like to begin with an adaptation of one of my most popular articles before perhaps discussing my two weeks spent living in the heart of Rome. Exploring issues regarding the politics of power also appeals to me, as do literary and religious dimensions. It also is my goal to feature one interview a month. For the foreseeable future, then, new shows should be arriving every several weeks, or so, and they shouldn't be more than about ten minutes in average length.
Excited to announce a few of those who will be featured in upcoming podcast interviews: Neil Low, John Carroll Collier, Joseph Pearce, and Nancy Ward!
We will have to wait and see what happens...but I hope you can join me on the journey! To get started, please see my new PODCAST PAGE! The show is now also on iTunes!
April 15, 2019
(Vive la France!)
While the first podcast ran into some audio challenges, it was an amazing conversation nonetheless. My conversation with Neil Low included his experiences as a commander and patrol officer with the Seattle Police Department as well as what he has learned as a writer. His recollections (through a half-century of working for SPD) also included John Wayne's visit to Seattle in the early 1970s to film McQ.
Here are some of the interesting people I've interviewed on the show.
Podcast Update (November 1, 2020)
Besides a love of the written word, one of the central reasons I have continued investing in the writing and podcast efforts over the years was to create a significant wealth of communication-related experience with which to leverage a career switch from tax compliance to state or federal government communications. When I graduated in 2018 from Marylhurst University with a BA in English Literature and New Media, I thought things would change for the better. While they have most definitely done so, it wasn't quite in the way I expected. For one thing, I've learned that communications is not a field easily entered by the older worker; fresh out of school is the way to embark on that career path. The departments are generally seeking young people for these positions.
I expected when I graduated from college that I'd be a much better writer. While I may be a stronger writer today, I have also found the desire to write is rarely as strong as it once was. Perhaps it was the act of writing and re-writing my university thesis that burned me out for a while on the act of writing. The whole process seemed less artistic or creative than simply a sort of "writing by the numbers" approach to essay structure. That, combined perhaps with lackluster sales of my books, has led me to where I am today--subtly redirecting my time and energies into more fruitful areas.
Anyway, we all have plenty on our plates these days, and I frankly think my time is better placed in serving God and enjoying my family than investing hours in creating fresh content for the web or books. I have offered my services to one company, and I remain available as needed to a local Catholic publication too. I am still interested in being involved in photography and voice work projects, but I suspect they're going to take more of a backseat to simply living than they have in the past.
When I retire in less than a decade, I hope to hit the writing harder than ever; we will see.
A Word About Voice Work
I'm excited to announce that I am now available for voice work opportunities. For more information, contact me directly or visit my profile page on Voices.com .