An open question

One of the best things about starting up the Seanachai again is that I get to really

figure out what I want it to be like. That is to say, I get to make a plan. Which is pretty nice. Because in 2005 I just let myself get run over by this project ALL THE TIME.
It’s not that it wasn’t great, but if you have a little time to think about a subject, say, volleyball, you realize that there are better ways to play than with your face. But in on the day, in the moment, there’s no time for that kind of thought. You just do what you have to.
(I may have lost control of that analogy in mid-sentence.)
Anyway, I’m opening the question up. What would you like the Seanachai to be like? More is the obvious answer. But what else? And don’t be afraid to think wildly. Changes to the site are fine. But what would take the Seanachai to the next level?

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” — Goethe

Comment away. Be bold.

16 replies on “An open question”

  1. I want the Seanachai to be funny. I loved the REF, the St. Patrick’s Day with the seagulls and the island … The particles versus the waves in the light discussion … How to Succeed in Evil …


    Thanks for all of it,

  2. How To Succeed In Evil was wonderful – I loved that it was character driven and consistent to the genre and world it created.

    Besides that, I loved the short stories and 1-podcast “essays” you did. Personally, I think your writing lends itself to novella series, and I believe there is an opportunity there to try out different ideas in short formats to see if they stick (1-8 podcasts or so). The short format stories also prevents me from having a meltdown during a commute when confronted with too many cliffhangers in a row.

    How about a few podcasts on writing? You are clearly not a hack.

    Cheers – Dan

    Above all, being entertained keeps me coming back for more.

  3. I agree with several of the points that Dan made.

    I wholeheartedly encourage you to take us down your rat-holes of thought and let us gawk at the strange furry creatures we find there, maybe setting up a riding camp and letting people ride some of them for a while if there’s enough interest. In summary, write more about random ideas and flesh something out if you can find it in you enough.

    The certain zen act of writing about writing should be done with care. Tips and workarounds to problems you have are always welcome and commentary on the task of structuring thought into a cohesive story is of particular value.

  4. Probably not what you want to hear, but did you ever consider just keeping up the work that you were doing already? Short stories, describing nothing important in general but a lot of importance of the moment. Your stories relax me, make my normal brainspins go in a positive direction instead of the negative direction they sometimes seem to take (I wish I could put roadsigns in my brain to keep ’em on the right track!).

    But listening to your podcasts relax me and make me see everything in another perspective. I’m not saying they’re a spiritual experience, probably exactly the opposite. Very down to earth. I love that about your podcasts.

    And the backgrounds are wicked!

  5. I have to say I agree with Tim: I’d love to hear more of the same line of excellently produced work you’ve done previously.

  6. My favorite episodes in absolutely no particular whatsoever order:
    A Wolf in the Park
    Driver’s Re-Education
    Queen of Spades
    The Han Solo Theory
    The Instant of Eternity
    3rd Place
    A very slow getaway (except for the background music that played for half the episode)

    That’s what I like.
    And, Mr. McLean, try listening to this episode from “This American Life”, another one of my favorite podcasts.

    Skip to Act III.
    It’s one of the best stories I’ve ever heard from TAL.
    I think you’ll like it.

  7. My very favorite of your stories on the Seanachai was the first one, “Vampire in the Attic”. I play that one over and over and over again–it’s just too funny!

    All of the stories are great. I think you were really doing it right the first time! I like that I never know quite what the story is going to be about, but it’s usually very funny without smaking verbal cream pies in my face.

    Keep up the good work.


  8. Oh yeah, and Act I (one) too. That was the best Radio Lab clip ever.

    Essentially, should you decide, “Hey, maybe I’ll check that out”, then skip over Act II.


  9. Above all, and this is very very very important, please do not have a podcast where out of, say, an hour’s worth of downloaded file, only maybe 30 minutes is the actual podcast with the remaining dead weight being adverts and promos for other podcasts, messages “to the fans” about how well the feedback and responses are going (the fans can read the site, they’ll know how it is going), and assorted audio ephemera.

    I swear, if you ever act on the urge to have a “we’ll be right back after these messages”, I’ll hunt you down and steal your microphone.

  10. I always appreciated your stuff the most when you either completely let your imagination get away with you, or when you were being reflective. Blame Abraham, Better Odds than a Bullet, Inventing the Chicken, The Han Solo Theory, Martin Luther King, A Change of Orbit, Truth (zombies made you late for your podcast) and Vampire in my Attic. These are the ones I’ve kept because I like to listen to them over and over.

    As for bold thoughts? How about you let your listeners send you ideas and you pick one to do a short piece on? Not at random, mind you, and not necessarily (actually preferably not…see above) how they expected it to be done, mind you. Like…how about something involving the fact that in Arizona, USA, it is illegal to hunt camels. I bet you could do 5 minutes on that.

    I’m very appreciative that you are bringing The Seanachai back! Thank you!

  11. The “How to succeed in Evil” stuff is “Ok”. I listen but I don’t find it compelling.

    To be the fly on the wall during your conversation with your friend is nice. One of the things you missed in all of what you said was “composition”, not the actual content, good as it is, your production quality is phenominal!

    The “Vampire in my Attic” story is a good example, it’s brilliant content married with a brilliant production process and the result is a great piece! I can’t hear “Brandy” without cracking up now. 🙂

    The “Randomness” of the topics is also a gem. The story of the Irish, contrasted with your vampire, contrasted with the *piss myself laughing* cautionary tale of hard drive crashes, these always leave me wondering what’s next.

    Oh yea, hearing some of those outtakes like when they were working on your street add to the flavor and makes me feel like this Seanachai guy is one of “Us”.

  12. Well, “How to Succeed in Evil” is awesome, so naturally I’ll be requesting more of that. I love your short stories and essays so you should give us those, too. But I agree with another poster in that you should also take us down your rat-holes of thought. Throw some of your ideas at us. Even the ones you don’t think are very good, because as an aspiring writer (albeit a bit of a lazy one), I’ve found that I’m far harder on myself than I always absolutely need to be, and those ‘bad’ ideas I have turn out to be kinda good sometimes.

    Anyway, we stuck around for ages while you were gone, so you know we love you. So, use us as guinea pigs, because this is of course what people who write do to the people who love them. 😉

  13. Ok first I need to wipe away my tears of joy that The Seanachai is back.

    Of course I would be happy to hear you reading the phone book, but being more constructive I just want more of the same.
    I was hooked with ‘Vampire in My Attic’ and stayed subscribed through the silence because of such stories.
    ‘Succeed in Evil’ is brilliant (I used to be British) and I would love more of it but not to the exclusion of other gems.

  14. Patrick –
    Been a fan for a long time, but only now came to peruse the website. I just sent you a Paypal contribution, humble, but, I hope, helpful.
    What do I want The Seanachai to be like? The funny stuff is truly funny, but that cannot be rushed or forced. The serious stuff I love, too — Blame Abraham is one of my favorites. More frequent is too obvious.
    I really don’t know how to answer that. Perhaps more narrative, less self-consciousness? I always enjoy the stories most. I love the “process” discussions, but not instead of the stories.
    Will write more later. Ciao!

  15. Another thing.

    I rarely have time to listen to podcasts, except in bed before falling asleep. And this is where I have heard virtually all of your podcasts. In the dark, fighting insomnia again, my wife asleep next to me, ipod by my pillow. I sometimes fall asleep and listen again the next night because I don’t want to miss anything.

    So… I have a strangely intimate relationship with The Seanachai.

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