I’ve named my blog and eventual podcast Northern Soundings for a couple of reasons. “Soundings” because it will largely consist of recorded conversations, very much a project for the ear. Also, I’m casting my conversations out to take readings of my community. Luckily, I’m associated with a great research university https://www.uaf.edu/ and Fairbanks’ artistically vibrant community. I won’t lack for material.
I don’t have any penetrating insights into the state of things, only a consuming fascination and curiosity with the world and those that make it home. I’m also amazingly lazy. But I’ve made that flaw work to my advantage as a public broadcasting reporter and producer by interviewing those more industrious, creative, and intellectually insightful than I. Selfishly, I seek out writers, artists, scientists and philosophers who ponder about the world and can express themselves. So, if these conversations offer you anything, it will be my guests who do the heavy lifting.
Over the years, my conversations have given me real joy. “Contact high” best describes what I feel at the end of these discussions. The world actually seems brighter, wider and more vivid as I emerge from the studio. Though to be fair, that’s probably because most studios are pretty confining and dark. While I still dabble as an on-call reporter at my public broadcasting home away from home, KUAC-FM,http://fm.kuac.org/news I wanted a venue where I could continue to explore ideas at length and on my own terms as I ease into retirement.
So, I’m launching my own blog and podcast. I hope it allows me to follow my nose, like the barrel-chested Lab I saw on the University trails last week. I’ll put the moist black pad of my current interest to the wood chips, soil and scattered spruce cones, following the varied scents, tail wagging happily and yanking the leash of some poor interviewee.
For more than a year I’ve had it in my head to invite writer Frank Soos as my first podcast interviewee. I studied with Frank at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and I have the questionable pleasure of toiling in his wake most Sundays, either Nordic skiing or biking, as part of a group known as the SCUM – Susan’s Class of Unteachable Men. (More on that, I’m sure, when I talk with Frank.) He also currently serves as Alaska’s Writer Laureate.The perfect occasion for a podcast presents itself with the publication of Frank’s new book of essays, Unpleasantries. http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/search/books/SOOUNP.htmlFrank will sit down with me when he returns to Fairbanks later this month.
In the meantime, my equipment is on order and I’ve cleared out the study in my home to act as a studio. I’ve beefed up my account with WordPress to accommodate mp3 files and I’ve consulted with my friend and far more able podcaster, Jeremy Smith. http://gpfault.com/
Finally, I want to give a shout out to locals. I will be participating in several UAF Summer Sessions events this season. http://www.uaf.edu/summer/ Michelle Bartlett directs the program and over the years has invited me to exercise my love for conversation by interviewing esteemed UAF alums. This year’s interviewee is Ann Tremarello, who arguably has had the most durable influence on the school in its nearly one hundred years. The video interview and live follow-up will take place this Monday, June 6 at 7PM at the Murie Building Auditorium. I hope you can join Ann and me for that.