Tomorrow I launch my podcast, and celebrate.
I’ll be celebrating with most of my favorite things about sleepovers: pillows, cuddling, milk and cookies, salty stories, and massages… I’m hosting a Podcast Launch Pajama Party at Hacienda Studio. It’s my pilot event for a series I’m planning to call Horizontal Storytelling. A show crossed with a sleepover crossed with a live recording session, in it I ask friends to tell me a story— just as I do at the end of every horizontal with lila episode.
I’m underslept, have a headache and a sore throat, and am deeply anticipatory and excited. There are many flaws in the way I have recorded and edited these episodes — especially the first one — flaws that were part of my learning process and the bootstrapping crash course I got in recording, flaws that could not be fixed by mixing and mastering, even by an audiophile as wonderfully nerdy and analog as my friend Owen Muir.
I might have done exactly what I’ve done with my feature screenplay, short screenplay, full-length play, quarter of a book, couple scenes of an immersive play, and a host of other projects — put them away when I disappointed myself by being unable to make them better. Moved on to a newer, shinier project. Proceeded to do the same thing to that project, too.
I’ve recently realized that a large majority of the choices I make come from trying to avoid shame. Even with all the talents that I have been fortunate enough to cultivate, I haven’t been producing work and putting it out into the world simply because I’ve been trying to avoid shame. I think I started doing this after I graduated from high school. Before when, maybe I acted braver out of the feeling, instilled in me as a child, that I was gifted, lubricated with a generous splash of delusion.
When I was visiting my mother last week, I went through my “memory boxes” from high school. In one of them I found, among letters and awards and photographs of a Lila who was just beginning to believe that she might not be ugly — the submission guidelines for St. Martin’s Press. From midnight until 2am most school nights, I was writing a little book of “inspiration,” inspired by SARK and Sabrina Ward Harrison. And I thought it was good enough to get published. It wasn’t. I didn’t even finish it. But still. I submitted to things. Lots of things. I didn’t just put something down because it wasn’t “Wild” or “Dead Poets Society.” I didn’t hide my work, bury it in my computer or closet, alter it in order not to offend anybody ever. The book “The Courage to Write” calls that “privishing” or “trunk writing.”
I’m not going to do that this time. Tomorrow, I’m going to share something imperfect with anyone who will listen, with you, because I believe what it has to offer is more important than my desire to avoid shame, the shame of not having a radio budget or really a budget at all, the shame of poor microphone technique, the shame of not having a “following” and yet still putting my name in the title, the shame of insisting on doing a long podcast when Everybody says I must make it short.
Here’s what’s really important to me: my podcast intends to make private conversations public, because, actually, what I believe in my core is that talking about private things dispels shame. I want to allow people to listen in on the kind of conversations we have in my house — revealing, inspirational, hard-hitting, compassionate, revelatory, educational, and titillating alike, in the hopes that my listeners will engage in their own vulnerable conversations more readily.
Or, at the very least, will feel a little bit less alone.