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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.


  • In light of Chicagoist's abrupt closure, I want to take a moment to recognize that my first proper interview, any interview really, was conducted by Chicagoist back in 2007, and I remain as appreciative now as I was then.

    I would add, that said interview was conducted by then new, and now long-time, friend Keidra Chaney. Excerpt? Always. And long-live the Chicagoist (and DNAinfo), regardless of any and all current realities.

    C: I don’t know if that ‘hustle’ part of it is always intuitive for all writers, though, in the way that it is for, say, musicians or other types of artists, I think writers some times fall into that. “Oh I just wrote a book and people will just find it.”

    BT: I dunno, part of it might be influenced by growing up with an artist, but I think part of it is my association with writers, artists, etc. I’m obviously pretty drawn to the DIY/Indie artist scene, and those folks are always hustling. Now I’ve got a full-time job, a family, a mortgage, and all that, so I’m not fully into that scene, but the writing part of my career has pretty much been “hustle or die” and I have been really inspired by that.

  • How about a brief pause to celebrate motivational exercises and Keidra Chaney dropping the hard professional development science in Loop 202?