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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.


  • A Be Cool pause. And a goodbye to all that. For now.

    It was one year ago that Be Cool was supposed to be released. There were some glitches, and it didn't come out until February, but I've still been hustling for a year, and that seems like enough.

    For now.

    While we never know what might become of our books down the road, hence the pause, nothing more may happen at all, because that can happen too, and so if that's the case, than this is goodbye to all that.

    Still, to say goodbye and not take a moment to recognize all of the goodness and good people I connected with, and who supported Be Cool, along the way would be most unfortunate indeed.

    There was a kick ass kick-off reading with the Rob Hollywood and Zoe Zolbrod at the Book Cellar; followed by a kick-off road trip with Be Cool's publisher Dockstreet Press and Dane Bahr last August, which took us to Phinney Books in Seattle, and time shared with the inestimable Sean Beaudoin and Josh Mohr, great writers both; reading in Portland as part the Get Nervous reading series with the quite awesome Cari Luna and John Barrios; and then on to Boise for the truly cool Campfire Stories hosted by the truly cool Christian Winn at the truly cool Modern Hotel.

    Along the way I also got to read at Kill Your Darlings; Volumes Bookcafe for a second, and now official launch with the Jason Fisk and Eric Spitznagel, easy on the eyes both; Boswell Book Company and Quimby's, with Lee L. Krecklow, Robert Vaughan, Caitlin Scarano, Tasha Fouts, and Seth Berg, great readers and great friends, new and old, all.

    Even if the book itself didn't quite be what I wanted it to be, and who knows what that truly is, there were terrific interviews with The Rumpus, Five Questions, Steph Post, and Rick Kogan; wonderful reviews at Spectrum Culture, Atticus Review, and The Coil, among others; and the endlessly cool opportunity to appear on a panel at Printers Row Lit Fest talking memoir with Jason Diamond and Michael Phillips.

    Ultimately, I want to thank everyone who did anything to support Be Cool, especially my blurbers Sean and Robert, see above, as well as the Wendy C. Ortiz and Megan Stielstra, who now and forever, will serve as great inspirations and literary guides of mine.

    I would also like to recognize some of the many journals who ran pieces from be Cool in different forms at some point, including, but not limited to The Rumpus, Nailed, TNBBC, Thought Catalog, decomP, The Weeklings, Manifest-Station, Collected Poop Stories (for real), Midnight Mind, RAGAD, Entropy, In Case We Die, Revolution John, CCLaP, and Rated Rookie.

    Thanks as well to those who read Be Cool and posted comments and ratings on Goodreads and Amazon, you know who you are and I love you for that, and those I never met, but took the time to read the book.

    I will always welcome more reviews and more ratings, sorry for that, but it all helps, though I am otherwise going to work on letting Be Cool go, which is always hard, and move onto the next thing.

    I'm sure I missed some of you who supported me and I apologize for that, but know you are appreciated and loved as well.

    A lot.

    Anyway, thank you all, and goodbye to all that.

  • "Much like Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird or Stephen King’s On Writing." A quite lovely Be Cool review from an author I quite love.

    Quite lovely Be Cool review it is. And it is much appreciated as well. Excerpt? Word.

    "Tanzer writes a section in this memoir about his origin story as a writer; I would argue that this entire memoir could be read as an origin story of a writer – much like Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird or Stephen King’s On Writing. This was a pleasure to read: amusing, sometimes heart breaking, and always engaging."