The Re-Beginning


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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 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 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 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.

22 replies on “The Re-Beginning”

  1. And I can’t listen to it from your website! It just keeps on buffering, and when I try to download it, a page pops up that says, “The requested file does not exist”!

    Fix it, Mr. McLean!

  2. I can only imagine the challenges to be both the content provider and the technical resource.

    Oh no!: “Fix it, Mr. McLean!”

    Mr. McLean: “Do me a favor Topper and use this guy’s b*lls as a punching bag. After all, you’re the right height.”

  3. In no particular order:
    1. I hear you about the “Not fitting into the world” comment.
    2. Signing up on your site sounds neat- Can I have a link on where to do that?
    3. Coming from a FOSS background, the word shareware makes me want to clap my hands to my ears and running away screaming. Making money’s fine, just pick a different word. Same with the word “god” for me, but I’ll cede that I’m a special case there.

    Congrats on restarting the podcast. I’m glad I waited for you. You have my support.

  4. why oh WHY have I been so damn addicted to this podcast? It’s not been running at speed for over a year for pete’s sake. “He’s not doing this anymore. Move on.”

    But, regularly, I’d still check this page to see if you had not, really, deserted us for good.

    Listening to this rebirth episode, I get why I kept coming back.
    Bless you, Mr Seanachai.

  5. You are a great source of forward momentum to me, and I’m sure to many writers in your audience. The second hardest thing is sitting down and writing, but the most difficult is opening oneself up in this way. Writing is the one thing I thought I could do well, but if I actually DID it – put it out there – what if I sucked? Then what would I have? People who can do something well often think that everyone else can, also. That it isn’t worth much because it is so easy. We want to do that other thing, the thing we can’t do so well, or that we think will make people love us. At bottom, this whole writing thing and reading in public (or podcast) is kind of about getting love. And it looks as though you got it. Well done.
    Thank you for the show, for your courage, and for being so honest about the process.
    Sorry for the long comment…now I’m off to register and drop some change in the tip jar.

  6. Well, the opening up is the whole thing, really. Hemingway wrote, “Write hard and clear about what hurts. Don’t avoid it. It has all the energy. Don’t worry, no one ever died of it. You might cry or laugh, but not die.”

    But then, he did blow his own brains out with a shotgun, so, maybe take it with a grain of salt.

  7. OK, I’ve listened to the ‘Re-Beginning’ twice. Wonderful writing as always. But I’m confused/mystified as to the financial details. I’m willing to kick in the $1 a month but … do you just want it thru the tip jar or are you going to set up some more formal subscription mechanism?

  8. Color me stoked my favorite podcast is coming back!

    And you’re right, it’s not the creating part that is hard, it’s the sitting down to do it.

    I think I’ll go create something right now…

  9. > I’m confused/mystified as to the financial details. I’m willing to kick in the $1 a month but … do you just want it thru the tip jar or are you going to set up some more formal subscription mechanism?

    There’s a “Donate via Paypal” link on the home page.

    For now, would I be correct that a $12 donation could be interpreted as $1 a month subscription and hope that Patrick doesn’t blow it all on a bender

    At least one of the Farpoint Media podcasts (Slice of Sci Fi) has both a one-time or monthly Paypal donation link on their home page.

  10. Hi Patrick,

    I made my feelings about “premium” podcasts known in a show I did back in August. In my regular PodcastJunky show I keep things positive and highlight podcasts I think are worth subscribing to. I changed format for this episode because I felt so strong about the subject. You can listen to it or read the transcripts here

    I got a lot of comments on that episode that you might find useful. Since the comments were made by podcast listeners who are not necessarily your fans it might give you a better idea of how the community in general feels about charging for podcasts.

    You seem to breed a special kind of listener, myself included, who will stay subscribed to your show no matter what. You have the talent and unique story telling style that MAY put you in the very small group of podcasters who can get away with “premium”
    podcasting. But it still gives me a queasy feeling in my tummy.

    All that being said and having made my feelings against charging for podcasts public, my $24 payment to your paypal account just went through. $12 for the coming year and $12 for the year you gave us regular weekly stories and I did not properly thank you with a donation.

    Would I have done this if you had gone “premium” instead of shareware? I honestly don’t know. But since you dipped your toe so delicately into the idea and requested instead of demanding, you have my donation.

  11. Hi Patrick,

    Just a thought. Ken Ray, who does the daily Apple news podcast Mac OS Ken, solved this problem with a second paid subscription podcast. So, he has the free weekday podcast,and he has a more in depth interview podcast called Mac OS Ken Day 6. Only a few of his regular subscribers to his free podcast subscribe to his paid podcast, but it seems to be working for him. Ask him.

  12. Payed. Not the $24, but the $12. Consider it a half year payment (I listen and laugh). Keep doing it right. And let us know if this actually works out for you!

  13. I was very pleased to see the blue dot reappear next to The Seanachai in iTunes. I’ve missed it and I look forward to the upcoming shows.

    I guess I’m in for $2 on this one, though, since “Go-thee” sounds more like the QB for a Florida football team, to me, than a German philosopher.

    BTW, there’s some dispute as to whether he actually authored that phrase:

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