Everything has a beginning. But there are precious few re-beginnings.
So I’ve wrestled with the best way to relaunch the Seanachai. Because I’m in a very different place with this than I was the first time around. The first time around it was an act of desperation. I was terribly, terribly frustrated. I felt like I had a lot of talent and exactly zero outlets. So I said, screw it. I’m going to do one of these audio pieces a week. And I didn’t care if anybody listens. And then I realized there was a name for it — podcasting.
And, surprisingly (to me at least), people tuned in. Way in. But that really wasn’t my purpose. The Seanachai was a contract between me and my muse. I was going to show up week in, week out. Discipline. Devotion. And if you listen very carefully, you can hear it.
“It’s January 1 and your listening to the Vampire in My Attic.”
When I hear that, just that bit, I tear up. Some might hear pride. And it’s in there. But I hear power, the ability to take action. I hear a complete lack of fear. Right from the start. And it might just make sense to me — because I know exactly how low I was when I recorded it. How afraid and how powerless. I wasn’t living on the streets. But, I was dissipated, wasted, fairly broke, and desperately blocked. And, for a number of self-sabotaging reasons, nothing I was doing was working. I hated, hated the way I made a living. Hated advertising with a passion. And after finding a thousand ways of not doing the real work of writing, I finally found a gap in the fence. That gap was the Seanachai. And I went through it at a dead sprint, with all the will of a recently captured zoo animal.
And what’s more — I was good at it. My instincts were right. For a guy who doesn’t really fit all that well in the world, this was the most remarkable thing of all. I found a game that I had the moves for. And it’s not exaggeration to say that doing the Seanachai has made me better at everything else in my life. I’m at least twice the writer I was when I started.
And I lost that chip on my shoulder about creative work. It’s that chip that that majority of advertising creatives have. At least the ones who aren’t hacks. I stopped identifying with the work. I just did the best I could and went home at the end of the day. Because I could recognize that my ad work wasn’t who I was. Some call this being a hack. I think being a hack is very different. But, whatever. I had more fun. Everyone I worked with had more fun. And my work got better.
This is because I was finally doing what I was meant to do. What I was meant to do, yet had run from my entire life. It’s a strange paradox, no less true for it’s oddity. Steven Pressfield wrote an entire book about it called the War of Art. It’s pretty brilliant. he writes that for every work of art, for every innate talent, there’s forces trying to stop it. Pressfield writes, “There’s a secret that I know that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and that secret is this: It’s not the writing part that is hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.What keeps us from sitting down is resistance.”
Another way to say it might be
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
It’s new-agey. It’s cheesy, but, unfortunately for my inner tough guy, it’s true. This quote is sometimes attributed to Nelson Mandela. It was, in fact, written in 1992 by Marianne Williams. Nelson Mandela quoted the last line in his inaugural address. Probably because it bears repeating.
“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Mandela
But it’s not all that new of a thought really. Sometime in the 11th century St. Francis of Assisi wrote,
“There are beautiful, wild forces within us. Let them turn the mills inside and fill sacks that feed even heaven.”
Look, whatever this talent is — wherever these stories and insights come from, it’s what I got. It’s what I have to give. I am better at writing than anything else I will ever do in my life. And doing anything else is just playing it small. This realization scares me more than I can explain.
I need your help. You see most of the time, people ( and I am included in that people ) look outward. If only I could get them to … If only they would… Publish my book. If they would buy my screenplay. If only they. But as I whisper in your ear through this miracle of technology, I tell you — there is no they. They’re long gone. All that remains are standing suits of armor filled with skeletons. From a distance they look threatening, but I tell you, as one who has scouted the ground, the ramparts are unguarded. The moat is dry. The Portcullis has fallen to dust.
There is no they. There’s just us. Just you and me. And if what I do has power for you, as it has power for me — If in any small way I am able to help you expand your experience of being alive — then their is no limit to how far we can take this.
And that’s what relaunching the Seanachai is all about. Yeah, there’s a Succeed in Evil novel coming. (And yes, there will be more Succeed in Evil episodes very soon) But evil’s not all I got. Not topically. Not stylistically. I have a filing cabinet drawer five feet long and it’s packed. Packed to the point of not being able to fit another piece of paper in it — and it’s filled with unfinished ideas. And I’ll grant you that a full four feet of that drawer sucks. But in that last 12 inches is filled with diamonds.
So I’m turning pro. And that’s going to change a number of things. But it also means, in some form or fashion, my activity has to generate cash. Not much, but some. I can live on crumbs. But I can’t live on dust.
When I look at this with my financial hat on — it’s a dollar a month from everyone who listens. A dollar an episode would be nuts. Grow the audience a bit. That would do it. And when I say it out loud, it sounds easy. And the only reason I am concerned about this, is that, for all our technology and our smarts, we don’t really have the cultural infrastructure to make it happen. But it’s not impossible. Because we already have the essential thing — the hard part is done — a creator and an audience.
You see if I was doing this on a street corner — if I had a tip jar in the corner coffee shop — this problem would have already solved itself. It’s not much change — but my coffee shop is limitless.
So I’m going to try to crack this problem. And, as I do, I’m as asking advice from just about everybody. I’ve put an audio file up on theSeanachai.com of a conversation that I had with a good friend of mine named Brandon. He’s a sharp guy. Who just walked away from a company that’s probably going to do the website for every major arena in the US within the next 5 years. Because, churning through templates isn’t what he wanted to do. He had more to give. He just launched his site, aptly enough, called webbusinessfreedom.com. And, as a savvy guy in the new media space, I though he’d make an ideal co conspirator. But I need more. I want your feedback and insight on this whole process. Because, I’ve come to realize, the creme de la creme, of podcasting and new media listen to this podcast. You guys comprise one hell of an advisory board.
It didn’t seem right to put my 45 minute meandering conversation out on the feed, but here’s one of the more important bits.
(Don’t be a dick Clip)
I’m going to try a lot stuff. And if I mis-step, you let me know. Because everyone who’s getting this episode. Everyone who’s listening right now. You are the faithful. If I do wrong by you guys, it’s nothing but a mistake and I’ll fix as quickly as possible
So first thing, I’d like everybody to register on theseanachai.com. Names and emails. Very shortly, I’m going to start selling stuff. Not like t-shirts. The comic is coming back. A CD’s and DVD’s with episodes plus commentary. Premium content. And if you are registered, I can give you discounts. I can make free stuff available to you. How about the original movie script that Death of a Dishwasher came from? Your welcome to it. But I’m not letting a stranger into my files.
Second, this is now a shareware podcast. If you listen. It’s a dollar a month. If you listen and laugh, it’s two dollars a month. If the idea of a shareware podcast is conceptually awkward, just think of it as National Podcast Radio. Donate up. Don’t worry, just like NPR, I won’t let you forget about that part.
So this the beginning. Or, if you like to do violence to the English language and common sense, a re-beginning.
and as Goethe said,
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!’
And it starts now.