"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.
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!
April 15, 2019
(Vive la France!)