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  • A moment to pause and appreciate all the glory that is This Podcast Will Change Your Life soaring passed 100,000 all-time downloads, even as I must admit that I expected it to all go down somewhat differently than this.

    On the cusp of releasing the 200th episode of This Podcast Will Change Your Life, I definitely had a different narrative in mind.

    It appeared that the show would cross 100,000 all-time downloads upon the release of that episode, a neat sort of synchronicity and alchemy that I could not have orchestrated on my own, nor would have even tried to plan.

    But, I do love finding a story, and I'm always trying to craft the proper narrative, and so the idea that these events were clearly about to coincide delighted me to no end.

    Then reality fucked with my plans, in a good way, certainly, this has been a huge month for the show, following many now, but huger still, and it soared passed 100,000 dowloads some time early this morning and ahead of when I anticipated.

    Is that less sexy?

    I think so.

    Is it cool though?

    Yes.

    Do I think this number is especially impressive, maybe not, not when I think about the shows I listen to (OTHERPPL with Brad Listi, WTF with Marc Maron, Heavyweight, The Culture Gabfest), and have listened to (SERIAL, Mystery Show, Sampler, S Town, Missing Richard Simmons), and what their numbers must be, but it's big and round, and the earliest shows from way back in February 2010 only got around 10 downloads or less.

    Yes, that's possible, traffic can total 10 downloads or less.

    The numbers never bothered me, I was talking to authors and writers, ideamakers and changemakers, and I always wanted that, one-on-one or group time with creators, and this was a path to that.

    I always hoped it served their work and that I did them justice.

    And I still do.

    There were mishaps along the way.

    The first 50 plus shows were recorded in a primarily drunken state, not a problem in and of itself, but one time, I did fail to record an entire conversation when the audio files were full and I overlooked that completely, and another time I drank so much with one major author that I had become friends with, that they decided not to record the show with me, a first, and we never got back to it. Another time I was so excited to meet someone after loving their book and then their presence so much that I fanboy'd beyond the norm during the interview and found the conversation fun, but somewhat unsharable. When I asked the author if they would re-record it they said we'd never be able to capture the weird, awesome vibe we had worked ourselves into.

    I never ran that one.

    I also once accidentally dosed myself before a show and was certain that it was a disaster, it wasn't, whatever I sounded like in my head, I kept my shit together for the show itself.

    I've always tried to talk to authors big and small, and I'm thrilled to have caught some authors I know and admire on their way up, Lindsay Hunter, Jac Jemc, Gina Frangello (who was pretty up already, but now, yo, come on), Scott McClanahan (for the first ever walk and talk episode) among others, as well as many who remain obscure, though loved by me, or even stopped writing or publishing.

    I love them too. Most of them.

    I've had some multiple guests, and while this is reflectigve of meeting them early on, and their ongoing productivity, it's also a reflection of not just loving them, but falling in love with them along the way. They include Pete Anderson, Keidra Chaney, Wendy C. Ortiz, Amy Guth, Joseph G. Peterson, Giano Cromley, David Masciotra, Patricia Ann McNair, Hosho McCreesh and Jason Fisk, among others. And if I missed you here, big apologies and please let me know so we can fix that.

    I have favored Chicago writers, in part certainly because I live here and they're easier to find, but also because the show has paralleled the ongoing and extended emergence of the Chicago indie lit scene as the center of all things literary.

    I've spoken to at least one hero of mine, Rick Kogan, and made many new friends because of the show itself, people I was dying to meet, or reached out to me, which is always a thrill, and which we most always made work.


    The single biggest episode remains my discussion with the glorious Jen Pastiloff (Episode 116, May 2015), who didn't have a book at the time, I just wanted to somehow capture her amazing energy, but she has one coming out now, and that too will no doubt be as glorious as she is.

    When that show became so big, I decided to formalize things a little more, cleaning-up my iTunes page, and adding both Stitcher and Spotify as platforms.

    I didn't know that it mattered to me before that, but not being all-in after that seemed ridiculous.

    It also led to the one review the show has ever received, which came as part of the piece "The 10 Best Podcasts to Change Your Life," in Elephant Journal.

    Before I close this out, I want to thank the podcast Bad at Sports, and especially Duncan MacKenzie (Episode 125, January 2016), for both existing, and for introducing me to the idea of podcasts at all, when I interviewed them for the now defunct Third Coast Press (thank you Keidra Chaney for that) and thought maybe I could try this.

    All of which is to say, that I remain in the love with the medium, and all, most of, the guests, I also remain lo-fi, and a little scuzzy, my tech skills are still not all that, and I will continue, next with the 200th episode, and then beyond, wherever that takes me.

    Well that, and thank you, first to all of my wonderful guests, but then also, unquestionably, to all of my listeners, whoever you are, and wherever you are, for all of the support along the way.


  • These Things I Loved in 2018 Will Change Your Life. As terribly belated and much re-branded as they are.

    I always think I will have some new kind of introduction to this post and in a way, how can I, the year is the year it is, and was, and so in an otherwise really not terribly great year in so many ways, as opposed to a merely not terribly great year in so many ways, such as last year, and for so many people at that, there was still good, because there is always good, and there were books, and television, music, podcasts, art and movies. Though not enough, never enough, of any of it. But we do what we can, I and I did what I could do, and here we are, ignoring so much of the year, if only for a moment, to look back, and share what there is, and what there was, with you, now, totally, and yes belatedly, work, travel, family, I'm happy to blame all of it for that.

    Well that, and my decision to move this post from this This Blog Will Change Your Life to this site, it means something, I'm working through it, change, whatever, inevitable, and necessary, and all that. Anyway, more soon, and on to it, now thank you.

    Cultural criticism and memoirs that read like personal essays and personal essay collections that read like memoir and cultural criticism. That sing. And explore sickness, art, nostalgia, pop culture, social issues, the present, past and future, and everything in between.

    They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us/Hanif Abdurraqib, A Woman Is a Woman Until She Is a Mother/Anna Prushinskaya, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life/William Finnegan, The First Collection Of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic/Jessica Hopper, Defying The Verdict/Charita Cole Brown.

    Kick-ass short story collections by kick ass writers who, you know, kick ass.

    Perfect Conditions/Vanessa Blakeslee, Scoundrels Among Us/Darrin Doyle, An Off-White Christmas/Donald G. Evans

    And the kick-ass short story collection that I could not wait to get my hands on most because it was by Pete Anderson, and well, you know, it's the Pete Anderson.

    Where The Marshland Came to Flower

    Not to mention absolutely kick-ass books that I was honored to promote and strategize around, which most definitely changed my life, many of which, but not all of which were releases by the quite wonderful, awesome to partner with, and future forward Green Writers Press

    Aesop Lake/Sarah Ward, The Full Vermonty/Bill Mares & Jeff Danziger, Chinese Gucci/Hosho McCreesh, Coming of Age/Madeleine Kunin, Darling Girl/Terry Hiner, Finding God/Christine Eberle, A Bouquet of Daisies/Megan Alice, Dirty Rubles/Greg Olear, Crosshairs/Matt Fitzpatrick

    Novels too. Substantive. And wonderful. By substantive and wonderful writers.

    The Place You're Supposed To Laugh/Jenn Stroud Rossmann

    Well, okay, that was one substantive and wonderful novel by a substantive and wonderful writer, because the other one I read deserves its own thing, because you know, Leesa Cross-Smith.

    Whiskey & Ribbons

    And poetry. Never enough, really not, and so much more next year, promise, but still really fucking good this year.

    the slaughterhouse poems/dave newman and May I Have This Dance?/Mathieu Cailler

    The movies I was happy I got to see during a year where I did even better than last year, though still didn't see enough to satisfy my movie Jones.

    Private Life, The Wife, Widows, Green Book, You Were Never Really Here, Vice, Crazy Rich Asians

    Movies I was happy I got to see because my children said it must be so, but also because Netflix definitely wanted us to.

    The Set-Up and To All The Boys I've Loved Before

    Movies I am happy I got to see because my older child wanted me to and since he's now older and has much better taste. And because we both now love Zoe Deutch.

    Flower

    Movies I am quite happy I got to see because my older child wanted me to, but I watched without him. And cried at the end.

    A Star is Born

    Superhero movies decent.

    Ant Man & Wasp and Avengers: Infinity War

    Superhero movies awesome. And unprecedented really.

    Black Panther

    Sequels and reboots that were fine enough, but not quite fine enough. Okay, maybe there was only one, and maybe I'm suddenly really old? Fuck.

    Mission: Impossible - 6

    Coen Brothers movies that felt like misfires (no pun intended, they would hate that).

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs


    The only documentaries I watched, and which jammed, but which is far from enough, and so lame I am.

    Won't You Be My Neighbor? and Minding the Gap

    Documentaries that I am sure jammed and must see post-haste.

    RGB and Free Solo

    The best crafted movies of the year that weren't quite my favorite movie of the year.

    Leave No Trace, Eighth Grade, Roma, The Tale, Sorry to Bother You 

    And a well-crafted movie that just might be my favorite movie of the year.

    Shoplifters



    Movies I still hope to see.

    The Favourite, If Beale Street Could Talk, Beautiful Boy, First Reformed, First Man, BlacKKKlansman, The Rider

    New music which I yet again listened to not much of this year, but I still listened to these.

    Okay, not true, I'm really not sure what to do in this post-CD universe, or how to listen, or even how to talk about what I liked this year, but maybe I'll figure it out in 2019. Maybe.

    Music I got to listen to live, which was not enough, and I always somehow fall way short on year after year.

    Jeff Tweedy, Courtney Barnett, Ike Reilly

    (But no The Hold Steady, which was at least partially due to a street fair becoming so overwhelmed with guests they closed the gates, which cost me the chance to see a show of theirs, plus The Drive-By Truckers, all true, sad and yes, first world problems)



    Television shows I kept on watching, or finshed watching, that were actually, mostly, usually good, and got in the way of reading, thinking, getting work done and sometimes sleeping, but ultimately made us very happy.

    Orange is the New Black, Orphan Black, The Affair, Stranger Things, Jessica Jones, Silicon Valley, Mr. Robot, GLOW, The Handmaid's Tale, Westworld, American Vandal, Crashing, Santa Clarita Diet, Bojack Horseman, Search Party, Luke Cage, Baskets, Broadchurch, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Atlanta, Ozark, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

    Television shows I continue to lovingly re-consume, again, and again, summer after summer, because my children say it must be so, and annually at that.

    Freaks and Geeks

    (Though do note, that Netflix has dropped Freaks and Geeks from its line-up and we are scared and confused heading into 2019, again, first world problems, I know)

    Television shows I lovingly consumed, or continued to consume, because my younger son said it must be so.

    Black-ish, American Housewife, The Goldbergs

    One new show the younger and older son added to the family mix.

    Single Parents

    And a show made possible by Netflix and children, that was not so bad and really kind of addictive.

    All Night

    Also, shows I tried to catch-up on and mostly did and really liked.

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, She's Gotta Have It, Dear White People, Bigmouth, F is for Family, The Crown



    Theater, too little, and way too far between.

    The Buddy Holly Story, Beautiful, We're Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time, Blue Man Group (redux)

    Art exhibits, also definitely way too little, though more than last year, and in more cities. Also, what I did see, did indeed leave me joyous.

    Charles White: A Retrospective & Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts/MoMA NYC, René Magritte: The Fifth Season/SFMoMA, Hairy Who?/Art Institute Chicago, Keith Haring: The Chicago Mural/The Chicago Cultural Center



    Television shows I continued to that no one else seems to watch.

    You're The Worst, Casual, Love

    The television show that is all of the above, and will be terribly missed.

    The Americans

    Some absolutely new shows I dug.

    Succession, Barry, The End of The Fucking World

    (There seems like their must be even more, but I don't recall them)

    And the show and podcast I didn't think I wanted to watch, or listen to, but enjoyed, both, a lot.

    Homecoming

    Podcasts I still listen to again and again, if sometimes inconsistently at that.

    WTF with Marc Maron, Other People, The Slate Culture Gabfest, Heavyweight

    And one-off podcasts, for now, apparently, that just mostly killed.

    Steve McNair: Fall of a Titan and Making Obama



    Books I just didn't quite read, or finish, by year's end. But I will. Soon. Promise.

    Walk in the Fire/Steph Post, Funhouse/Robert Vaughan, Coyote Songs/Gabino Iglesias, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel/Alexander Chee, White Girls/Hilton Als, For Other Ghosts/Donald Quist, Slow Days, Fast Company - The World, The Flesh, And L.A./Eve Babitz



    Most finally, there are many people to thank for making this a good year or just rule in general) in spite of all that has been going on and feels like still will be. And I am most definitely overlooking some, a lot maybe, and I apologize for that, but there you go.

    Matt Rowan, Jacob S. Knabb, Dave Housley, Jason Behrends, Anna March, Victor David Giron, Jason Pettus, Moeses Soulright, Ryan W. Bradley, Steve Lafler, Lavinia Ludlow, Rob Funderburk, Greg Olear, John Barrios, Joseph G. Peterson, Michael Seidlinger, Gabino Iglesias, Adam Lawrence, Dave McNamara, Mike Smolarek, Beth Gilstrap, Duncan MacKenzie, Andrew Keating, Matty Byloos, Brad Listi, Michael Czyzniejewski, Ken Wohlrob, Myles and Noah Tanzer, Leza Cantoral, David Masciotra, Clayton Smith, Bryanna Tartt, Mel Bosworth, Paul Cohen, Todd Summar, Eric Vaubel, Megan Stielstra, Hosho McCreesh, W. Todd Kaneko, Jim Warner, Mathieu Cailler, David S. Atkinson, Debbie Pritzker, BL Pawelek, James Yates, Kristin Fouquet, Citizen Lit, Clayton Smith, Seth Berg, Maggie Manoyan, Amber Sparks, Mike McClelland, Lori Jakiela, Robert Vaughan, Michael Gillan Maxwell, Meg Tuite, Robert Duffer, Brian Alan Ellis, Jen Epstein, Keir Graff, Emma Irving, Joanna Topor MacKenzie, Jeff Linkenback, Anthony Michael Morena, Brad Wolff, Bob Hartley, Joanna Shroeder, Johnny Misfit, Jennifer Parker, The Book Cellar, Gretchen Kalwinski, Michael Paige Glover, Jennifer Banash, City Lit Books, Marilyn Atlas, Matt Fitzpatrick, Art Edwards, Judith Tanzer, Kimberly Ann Southwick, Erika T. Wurth, Leesa Cross-Smith, Brian Gresko, Garret Schuelke, Shaindel Beers, Chris L. Terry, Kara Vernor, Adam Tanzer, Patricia Ann McNair, Sean Beaudoin, Sean H. Doyle, John Reed, Jerry Brennan, Serena Makofsky, Callie Nelson, Lauren Becker, Marisa Siegel, Robert James Russell, Brian Gresko, Lori Hettler, Christian Winn, Charita Cole Brown, Spencer Dew, Glen Binger, Carlos "Dzine" Rolon, Steve Karas, Aubrey Cox, Sarina Prabasi, Barry Graham, Bud Smith, Jennifer Steele, Wendy C. Ortiz, Dave Newman, Steve Eisner, Donald Quist, Christine Rice, D. Foy, Ben Drevlow, JH Palmer, Cari Luna, Elaine Soloway, Dede Cummings, Steve Luna, Rachel Slotnick, Behn Reza, The Mooney's, Cyn Vargas, Allison Joseph, Keith Lesmeister, Sara Lippmann, Mikaela Shea Fowler, Bud Smith, Ariel Rudolph, Giano Cromley, Zoe Zolbrod, Kali VanBaale, Tom Williams, Jennifer Pastiloff, Joshua Mohr, Amy Danzer, Patrick Wensink, Sarah Ward, Nicholas Barron, Alice Kaltman, Paul Cohen, Susan Messing, James Hornor, Rick Kogan, Amy Guth, Jeff Pfaller, Shaindel Beers, Christine Eberle, Volumes Bookcafe, Leland Cheuk, Rebecca George, Robert James Russell, Donald G. Evans, Davis Schneiderman, Ray Charbonneau, Sam Slaughter, Gina Frangello, Steph Post, Rachel Hyman, Nick Ostdick, John Tribble, Len Kuntz, Pete Anderson, Terry Hiner, Pam Hoadley, the Tomaloff's, Paula Bomer, Brandon Will, Melissa Faliveno, J. Bradley, Jason Fisk, Gint Aras, Yogi Roth, Eric Spitznagle, Beth Gilstrap, Ryan Ridge, Lisa Fay Coutley, Jeffrey Pfaller, Dane Bahr, Lee L. Krecklow, Keidra Chaney, Rob Funderburk, Christopher Bowen, Liz Mason, Chris Tarry, Leah Angstman, David Olimpio, Jessica Kashiwabara, Micah Philbrook


  • The most excellent Chinese Gucci by Hosho McCreesh is release, Part I, the "Why Doing It Your Damn Self Might Just Make You Happier" Burning River post.

    It's not just that Chinese Gucci is release, there is also most excellent "Why Doing It Your Damn Self Might Just Make You Happier" post at Burning River. So, please do that too. And as needed, enjoy some excerpt.

    "To understand the how and the why of Chinese Gucci, I first have to start with compromise. To a certain extent, it exists in almost all facets of life. As children we pitch almighty fits when things don’t go our way. Hopefully less so as adults, though maybe not. Handling the vagaries with grace, accepting the limitations of the world and ourselves, working within the confines probably makes life more tolerable in the long run…but goddamn if some of the spice ain’t gone too. Yes, compromise exists…but it shouldn’t exist in our art. Or my art…which is admittedly small potatoes…but it’s what I’ve got and I love doing it.

    "Publishing is a thing I have been part of for almost two decades, and still a thing I know very little about. New Mexico is pretty far from where most things are published, so as an outsider looking in, all I can do is guess about how it all works. And from where I sit, publishing is a large and collaborative industry…which can be another way of saying one filled with compromise. Big presses are owned by giant conglomerates and they have relationships with all the mechanisms of supply and demand, wielding extraordinary power to either promote or ignore products. Spreadsheets and market research quantify what is worth the resources, and what isn’t. Chasing the hungry ghost of mass-appeal means avoiding risk in favor of the more obvious, commercial, and genre-heavy “comps.” I get it…it’s a business.

    "Except it’s not."

  • This Podcast Will Change Your Life is the Terry Hiner (and Terry H. Watkins) and the Hosho McCreesh.

    I am happy to let you know that there are new episodes of This Podcast Will Change Your Life and they star the Terry Hiner and the Hosho McCreesh*.

    (*and please do note, that among other things, Hosho is discussing his forthcoming debut novel Chinese Gucci, one may still Pre-Order Chinese Gucci through 11/5 here and one may very well want to do so post-haste)


  • Something GUCCI This Way Comes... The Chinese Gucci Pre-Sale begins 9/30/2018.

    So, please do hit that, share it and embrace the Chinese Gucci awesomeness.

    Also,  please let me know if you would like a review copy of the Chinese Gucci  or would otherwise like to support the Chinese Gucci promotional  extravaganza rolling-out now.

    Thank you! 

  • Thrilled to be part of the Hosho McCreesh Chinese Gucci project I am. Today T-shirts (you can reserve one now). Tomorrow sticker hype (do let us know if you would like to be sticker). After that, the world (clearly).

    There will be so much more Chinese Gucci love to come. But today we are T-shirts and if you want in on that, or are even merely curious, you can let Hosho know as much here. It's possible that you have a sticker thing too and that you might even want to helps us promote the Chinese Gucci in your home town via some sticker street art action. And for those of you who are interested in joining us for that, we can most definitely swing a free T-shirt as a thank you. So, please let me know if you are interested in joining the hype team. Or have any questions about any of this. I'd be thrilled to hear from you.