Podcast of the week: Start With This

This is real, dense, gripping conversation about the making of things and for anyone who is beginning to make things

Cranor and Fink are just chatting away to one another quite sincerely, however, there is a serious attention to detail.

Cranor and Fink are just chatting away to one another quite sincerely, however, there is a serious attention to detail.

 

There haven’t been many podcasts in my experience that are handled like a private lecture. Joseph Cranor and Jeffrey Fink are authors and creators of iconic podcast Welcome To Night Vale, and in Start With This, they spend a little over half an hour delivering a thoughtful, concise, often philosophical class on creativity and art-making. This is an important and useful thing: so rarely do creators speak candidly and in a way that authentically demystifies the process of making the art they need to make.

 This is a very generous listen: the conversation feels very free-flowing, as though Cranor and Fink are just chatting away to one another quite sincerely, however, there is a serious attention to detail. They are not just riffing on “how to have an idea” or “how to write a book” – they are talking point to point about their own experiences, quite practically, about how to make a thing. Fink tells a particularly sweet anecdote about pretending to write songs in his head when he was younger – then realising that he was, in fact, actually writing songs. Addressing the reality that art making is habitual, and can be mundane, is a really powerful thing – and empowering, for those who are just starting out.

 They discuss the process of the “study” – small examinations of one tiny feature of a larger work, and how they can be a perfect spot to start. Saying that executing an idea doesn’t have to be perfect at first is tremendously freeing: one can just begin, without feeling perfect, or final. They also discuss self-sabotage, and how sometimes it seems easier to keep the perfect novel you haven’t written inside your head, because then you never have to write it and risk mediocrity.

 Cranor and Fink end the podcast on some homework, too, which lends a lovely structure to the listening experience: the feeling of having attended a class and being handed a takeaway when the session is over. This approach is really involving: an invitation to continue working, to being something in the aftermath of having listened. This is real, dense, gripping conversation about the making of things and for anyone who is beginning to make things, or even any art practitioner who is looking to re-examine process, it is a vital listening experience.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.