The First Episode
I planned to wake up this morning excited about two things: 1) posting the first podcast episode of the Composer Quest World Tour, and 2) basking in the warm and comforting glow of Hillary as president. But unfortunately it’s been a dark night for me personally, and probably for many of you. I apologize for getting political in my otherwise politically-neutral work, so feel free to skip to the bottom if you want. There are some things on my mind I'd like to say before I launch into the podcast stuff.
I’m not even sure where to start in addressing the vile human being who is our new president. His utter lack of responsibility towards the youth, towards other cultures, towards our own diversity of citizens…it’ll likely give me an ulcer over these four years. And I know this fear of mine as a white, cis male doesn’t even come close to what others must be feeling. So my heart goes out to you if you’re feeling fearful of the future, too.
My glimmer of hope is this: the deranged picture of America that Donald Trump has painted for his supporters is NOT the America I saw on tour. Not even close. From the “hellish” streets of Chicago to the “murdering, drug-addled” Mexican border, every single person I interacted with was somewhere on a scale from neutral to incredibly friendly. I truly believe change comes from simple interactions with people of other cultures, to help increase empathy on both sides. In theory, that’s what America should be doing best, right?
Part of me feels hopeless, like it’s too late to connect with this majority of Americans who seem to be in an alternate reality from my own life and values. But as tempting as Canada may seem, there’s another part of me that knows there are plenty of good people in this country who’ve just been hoodwinked or scared into voting for this charlatan. My hope is that all of us, regardless of which party we fall into, will stay vigilant, informed, and ready to stand up for freedom and equality.
If I can bestow any small bit of life wisdom gained from doing Composer Quest, it’s that your destiny really can be in your own hands. It’s always nerve-wracking taking a new direction with your life, like if you decide to transition from a stable job to a creative endeavor. Or maybe you’re thinking about organizing a protest or running for political office (nudge, nudge). Since uncertainty is always going to be there, you might as well learn to love it by testing your own personal limits.
I remember when I was applying to colleges, thinking “I just want to stay in Minnesota, and I definitely don’t want to study abroad.” Somewhere along the line, I completely changed my mind. I became addicted to traveling, in part because of the positive side effects of stretching myself beyond my comfort zone. And thus, a two-month traveling podcast adventure was not out of the question.
So in wrapping up my rant, I just want to say thanks for all the support with this Kickstarter project. Honestly, it’s really helpful in an otherwise discouraging day to remember how all of you have rallied behind me this whole time, and I’m really excited to return the favor with a fun podcast season.
Luckily for you, I couldn’t sleep, so the first tour episode is all edited and ready for your aural enjoyment. I don’t blame you if you wait to listen until the turmoil surrounding this election subsides a bit. On the other hand, maybe this will provide you with a comforting distraction. Either way, I'm looking forward to sharing this whole podcasting adventure with you.
Drum roll please…