Every once in a blue moon, I get an email from someone who has just run across an episode of one of the two podcasts that I ran. There’s a lot of praise for what I was trying to do, but there’s also the final question of why I stopped podcasting. There were a lot of reasons behind that choice. But the biggest one was trying to come up with topics to talk about or finding connections with folks to interview (depending on which ‘cast you are talking about). I was “ok” as a podcaster. Nothing spectacular, but I tried to convey how much fun I was having stumbling through audio edits and just talking at a microphone. I truly enjoyed doing those podcasts. However, I had to give it all up at a certain point. The real constraint was time.
I was unemployed for two years during my time podcasting. Doing the podcast episodes was fairly simple during all of that. I just picked a time when I was alone in the house, and recorded the episode. However, once I started teaching (the job I managed to get at the college after being unemployed), I just never had the free time that I did before. Those time constraints made getting episodes out really tough for me. In the end, I felt I was letting everyone down with the quality of what I was putting out. That, for me, was the final nail in that coffin.
Now, don’t get excited thinking that I am about to raise one of the two ‘casts from the dead. Nope. Not going to happen. Not until I get someone willing to get on the microphone with me. And to be completely honest, I am not looking actively for anyone to fulfill that role. However, the email I received asking about future shows really brought me back to some of the fun times I had putting the ‘casts together.
On “From the Edge of the Circle”, I had more fun putting my warped sense of humor on display. I created a pair of fake commercials (and they were so obviously fake) poking fun at parts of Paganism. I would run this as “brought to you by” moments, which was my way of poking fun at the lack of funding that I had for the show. Even when I was unemployed I paid for the show out of my own pocket. In fact, during the entire time I ran either podcast, I only received one donation towards keeping the show going. It was a touching moment, but as I said – I had no funding from others and very rarely even mentioned the concept of money. So my fake commercials were my way of poking fun at this. I also created a spot in the last episode, which let Mojo and Sparrow of The Wigglian Way take over the podcast for a moment. It was a fun way for them to inject themselves into the episode. Especially, after I mentioned that Sparrow could read the phone book to me with her sultry voice (which she did on one of their episodes).
The days that I was podcasting were fun. All of us that were Pagan podcasters didn’t see the others as competition. We were equals who all provided unique voices to the wider Pagan community. If you didn’t enjoy me, there were other podcasters that might meet your tastes. I always found it to be a great thing when listeners would find their way to the other ‘casts. We poked fun at each other, we even took up other shows’ topics and provided our own spin on what had been said. None of it; however, was said in a mean-spirited way. We truly enjoyed one another.
When I left the podcasting world, I left a lot of that camaraderie behind as well. I still love my fellow ‘casters, but here in the blogging world, it doesn’t have that same feeling. Too often, I have seen disagreements over topical information turn into down-right bloody feuds. There seems to be a need to drive statistics with topics designed to draw distinct differences between others. The “I’m right and your not” perspective reigned supreme in a few of those moments a few years back. I do; however, have some of that “we’re in this together” with Cat Treadwell, Nimue Brown, and a few others. We may not always agree about how we each approach a topic, but we’ve always found ways to communicate those differences in a manner that emphasizes support, not disagreement.
Now, I get the perspective in the blogging world. Clicks matter. When I first started podcasting, I was a fanatic about my download statistics. Until I started to realize that the downloads didn’t matter. What mattered was whether the person downloading the podcast found something that they enjoyed, something that provided them with the information that they were looking for, and/or provided them with a perspective that they wanted to connect with. Now, I do pay attention to the click stats here with the blog, but I generally try not to look at them too much. Why? Because, sometimes, y’all scare the shit out of me. When I see the stats, there are usually around ten to twenty clicks a day. When I see somewhere above fifty clicks per day for a particular post…well, my heart starts to race. See, I have difficulty dealing with success like that. It just scares me to think so many people are reading stuff for whatever reasons. But I am digressing here…..
I do enjoy sharing parts of my life here through the blog. For me, this is similar to talking to a microphone. Except that I get to do so by typing on a keyboard. I get the chance to gather my thoughts a little more clearly – though, my writing skills do need to improve. That’s why I sometimes reach out to other people for edits. So my simple mistakes get caught before you see them. However, one thing I have enjoyed in writing this blog is the creation of fellowship that has come about with other bloggers. Much like those days with the podcasters, I have found a group of folks that have really become special parts of my life. As I said, I know there’s supposed to be competition between bloggers – trying to attract more clicks than others. However, none of that really matters that much to me. Everyone provides a different viewpoint because we are all unique individuals. We all have our own Path to walk. And sometimes, we can walk it together. Or go skipping down the Path, locked arm-in-arm, singing bawdy tunes to the skies, and laughing our asses off. Because part of living…part of finding your own Spirituality…finding those like-minded folks…requires laughter and fun.