When Objects Tell Human Stories, with Shin Yu Pai

When Objects Tell Human Stories, with Shin Yu Pai
When Objects Tell Human Stories, with Shin Yu Pai

May 18 2023 | 00:38:10

Episode 10 May 18, 2023 00:38:10

Hosted By

Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

Stuart talks with Shin Yu Pai about her podcast Ten Thousand Things from KUOW Public Radio. They discuss how commonplace objects can tell much broader stories. While she might be new to podcasting, Shin Yu’s background in poetry, art, and writing adds depth to her content as well as craft a new experience for listeners.

Shin Yu is the writer, host, and producer of Ten Thousand Things – a podcast on Asian American stories for KUOW Public Radio, Seattle’s NPR affiliate station. Ten Thousand Things first launched in July 2022 as “The Blue Suit” and is currently in production for a second season, which will begin releasing episodes in May 2023.

If you have any questions about this episode or want to get some of the resources we mentioned, head over to Castos.com/podcast. And as always, if you’re enjoying the show please share it with someone who you think would enjoy it as well. It is your continued support that will help us continue to help others. Thank you so much! Never miss another show by subscribing at castos.com/subscribe.

Today you’ll learn about:

  • From Poet to Essayist to Podcaster 
  • Live poetry readings versus podcasting
  • How different backgrounds can redefine what a podcast can be
  • The story behind Blue Suit and Ten Thousand Things
  • How writing radio scripts can affect how you think of voice
  • Everyday objects and nuances and how they can inspire and provide a sense of comfort
  • Creating an episode: aiming for a thought-feeling and welcoming surprises
  • What to expect in the second season of Ten Thousand Things


Shin Yu Pai’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shinyupai/

Ten Thousand Things: https://www.kuow.org/podcasts/bluesuit

Shin Yu Pai’s Website: https://shinyupai.com

Castos Academy: https://academy.castos.com/ 

Castos, private podcast: https://academy.castos.com/privatepodcast/ 

Castos, website: https://castos.com/ 

Castos, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/castos  

Clubhouse video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8729ZpWpmIw 

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:01 It's pretty easy for most of us to understand that objects can hold special meaning beyond their intended use. I keep ticket stubs from every concert I go to, not cause they're actually worth anything, but cause there's always some sort of special memory for me. But generally, that's where the good part of the story ends. It's probably not all that interesting to anyone else that I saw Wilco on my 30th birthday, and that, unbeknownst to me, it would be the last concert I saw for more than two years thanks to Covid. You're probably getting bored already just listening to that, but don't worry. My part of the story ends here and we pick up with a storyteller who can find interesting stories and commonplace objects. Speaker 2 00:00:46 The object or the image is always the starting place for me. Or something I might kind of describe as like a thought feeling. Like what is a story that I wanna craft around a thought feeling. Speaker 0 00:00:58 My name is Stuart and this is Audience, A Casto original series where we go behind the scenes of all kinds of different podcasts to uncover the creative process behind great audio that story's next. Speaker 0 00:01:14 I think one of the best ways to learn how to do something better is to go directly to the people who are really good at that think. So at Casto we do just that. Each episode of audience features some of the most talented and creative podcasters around, and we hope that by listening it will inspire more creativity in your work. As you dive into this journey of audio creation along the way, Casos wants to be part of your creative journey. From our suite of tools feature rich hosting platform, and even our production services, we're here to help connect directly with us by emailing hello casos.com or by click it on the link in the show notes. Speaker 2 00:01:57 Yeah, so talking about my writing, um, I very much started as a poet 20 years ago, and that is still kind of the, the way in which I think of my work and how I describe myself to, to other artists or to people who wanna know what I do. Uh, sometimes I'm making poetry based objects or installations, but there's always this element of like text or written language and Speaker 0 00:02:20 That's shinny pie. And not only is she a poet, and by the way she currently serves as Seattle civic poet. She's worked across all different mediums as a writer in storyteller, curating public programs and contributing to publications like Atlas Obscura Yes. Magazine and Tricycle, just to name a few. One thing that wasn't on that list until recently was a podcast, but then, Speaker 2 00:02:46 Um, a couple of summers back, I guess it was summer of 2021, uh, my local public radio station, k u w put out this public call to the community asking for podcast pitch ideas. And at the time I was thinking a lot about Asian American stories and how they're represented in the media, and I had had a chance to work with, uh, an editor at K U W named Jim Gates on, um, like a storytelling project for another podcast that he works on called The Wild. And it had been a really positive experience working with him and his team. And I wrote to him and I was like, I have this half baked idea that I would, you know, like to maybe consider building out and submitting to you. And, you know, this is kind of like the broad strokes of it. What do you think? And he was so warm and encouraging. So I thought, okay, I'm just gonna go ahead and pitch. And um, that led to it being selected for, uh, having a pilot built for it. And then from there, uh, it was green lighted for our first season, and now we're in our second season. Speaker 0 00:03:48 At first it was called The Blue Suit. It was inspired by an iconic photo of Congressman Andy Kim cleaning up after the wreckage of January 6th. Kim actually appeared in the final episode of season one, where the simple innocuous act of buying a blue suit on clearance accidentally told a much broader story about being Asian American in a time when anti-Asian hate crime is on the rise. Speaker 2 00:04:13 I, I I, I hear often from my editor and my producer this idea of like dramatic tension right in the story. And I think when I'm thinking about stories or kind of just paying attention to the things that kind of like hook me, I'm thinking about things that are like very zen in a way. Like I'm looking for like what are the dichotomies in the story or the dualities and where are the things where there's like unity or like oneness. And I, I, I honestly, I don't look for the sensational, I look for the poetic, the place where there is a sense of interrelatedness or mirroring or a lesson or a teaching coming through or something that's poetic and evocative, which is probably a really weird way to like scan the landscape for stories. But it is very kind of like intuitive and feeling based for me. Speaker 0 00:05:02 And it's that quality that allows shinny to tell uncommon stories about commonplace objects. In the first season of her show, a shadur tells the story of a performance artist and her identity. A record player serves as a time machine and a dictionary helps a composer mourn the death of his father. Now, in its second season, the show has a new name, 10,000 things. And about a week before the new season launched, shinny and I caught up to talk some shop. Speaker 2 00:05:34 I think there was a point in the writing of poetry where I felt very much like there were some other kinds of stories or narratives that I wanted to be able to tell that required a longer form that was maybe, uh, less opaque and more direct. And so I began writing personal essays probably about 10 years ago or so. And I think it's that form in particular that has aided me in kind of making the leap from writing personal essays to essays that are, you know, crafted and formatted more for the radio and audio format. Speaker 0 00:06:07 Yeah. Cause I, I find a lot of times, you know, when, when people kind of sift from, from one medium to the next, usually it's cause their, uh, subject matter does translate very well. It's just a lot of times finding little ways to tweak it to make it more appropriate for, for a particular medium. Speaker 2 00:06:23 Yeah. That that's true. And the other thing that I think about in, in the sort of through lineer thread is that poetry is very much a written medium that's intended for the voice and to be spoken and to be heard. And so I think that interest in, um, the spoken voice, uh, the, the voice in general has always been something that's really important to how I do my work. And so having the chance now to explore voice through I think a, a form that allows for more vulnerability is, is something that's new to me. Because as a poet, it's very easy to bury the narrative or to hide behind abstract language. And with, I think audio work, it has to be a very different approach, which I think is actually helping me when I go back now and write poems Speaker 0 00:07:09 A as as a poet, I mean, I know sometimes people do poetry readings and kind of these like live performances almost. Had you ever done any of that before? Speaker 2 00:07:18 I do a lot of poetry readings I have for the last 20 years, but it's, it's been pretty standardized or, or just kind of, uh, predictable, you know, stand in a podium in a bookstore and you read some poems and, uh, the, the kind of format of poetry reading isn't necessarily always so dynamic. And I think over time I've sort of shifted that. Um, sometimes I do performances that involve like reciting poems or talking about poems and reading them with like visuals or film playing. So there are different ways, I think, in which I've been thinking about how to subvert the poetry reading kind of format. Speaker 0 00:07:56 Yeah. But I mean, you talk about vulnerability, I would think standing in front of a group of people, uh, reading, reading something that's very personal to me, that would feel, that would feel ver vulnerable <laugh> Speaker 2 00:08:07 It can, but there are a lot of things that, that I think the, the nature of the kind of poetry and poetic language that I sometimes write, uh, can be less direct, you know? And, and you know, one can always pretend that it's the speaker in the poem that these poems are about versus, you know, the author. There's like some sort of distance, um, between the poets and poem, sometimes, not always mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. I think less and less that exists for me. And that wall is kind of collapsing, to be honest. Speaker 0 00:08:36 So prior to, to making, well, initially it was the blue suit. Now, now 10,000 things. Yeah. Did you spend a lot of time listening to like podcast or radio or anything like that? Speaker 2 00:08:47 I feel like this is a little bit where I, where I out myself is, is more of a literary person than like a podcast person. So I, you know, have always loved and listened to this American life. And Ira Glass and Sean Cole are some of, um, my favorite radio people. Yeah. And I did a little bit of listening to the Wild, which is a show for K U W, which relates to science and conservation. Um, but I am really, uh, a reader and a poet, a writer at heart. And so I feel like, uh, a lot of my inspiration comes from memoir and personal essay as well as poetry. And I feel like it's a little bit strange or sacrilegious to say, but, but then, you know, there's the reality that like, for me as a poet, like I actually spend more time reading non-fiction or looking at visual art and museum than reading poetry. So I think there's this kind of this similar approach for me in, in kind of the way in which I've, uh, thought about making my own podcast and what I want it to sound like. It's just, in some ways I don't have a lot of reference points for what that format or that style necessarily has to be. And so in that way it, it, it's a lot of things. Speaker 0 00:09:53 Well, I think that's, it's one of those things that I think can really work for a person sometimes, like the kind of come from the outside. I, I think podcasting needs that, first of all. Like, I think if, I think like having someone who's not really a part of, I don't wanna say not a part of our world that sounds really pretentious. Sure. And, and not welcoming, but, but you're not, you know, like those of us who have kind of come up working mm-hmm. <affirmative> in the audio medium, and it's like the only, like, for me, it's the only thing I know how to do. And, and so like, I have a kind of like, almost like single track mind thinking about it sometimes. And I, I think maybe that's just like human nature. Like we just kind of get mm-hmm. <affirmative> stuck in our ways or, you know, we, we we're only capable of understanding so many things. Yes. And so I think it's great when, when someone just kind of comes in and like knocks down some walls and, you know, really breaks some barriers and just kind of redefines for us what a, what a podcast can be. Uh, that's always really exciting. So what's that experience be been like, kind of coming into this world of, of public radio? Speaker 2 00:10:55 It's been really incredible for me, I feel like, uh, creatively and professionally. So I, I feel like it's a, a very, like my path has been kind of like an unusual pipeline into public radio and I'm so grateful for it. I have an incredible team of, um, my editor and my producer who really helped to, I, I think draw the lines of like, what this thing is supposed to look like or sound like, which gives me a lot of guidance in terms of being able to understand what is the thing that we're making and who is it for and how within that can I position myself to be authentic and be the person that I am. And so, you know, like coming from the background of being a poet, you know, if you as a poet, you know, maybe you put out a book and it's like 500 copies or a thousand copies and then, you know, it takes like 10 years to sell out and it circulates very, very kind of on a minimal level in the world, I would say. Speaker 2 00:11:52 And I think having the platform of sharing these stories about community on public radio has been like a really incredible experience. Just to know that those stories are, are reaching different kinds of listeners or audiences and amplifying the work of people in my community that I really care about how those things have been really important. And then on this whole other level, I think personally the work in writing radio scripts has really affected how I think of voice, like literally and metaphorically in terms of how I show up or come forward in the pieces that I write. And so it's made me a better writer, quite frankly. And having an incredible editor has really shaped that experience for me. Speaker 0 00:12:35 Yeah. I think that's, writing for the voice is such a, or for the ear, I should say. Maybe that's a better way of saying it. Writing for people's ears is much different than writing for their eyes. You know, I've worked, I've worked with a lot of scripts that would be beautifully written if it were, you know, gonna be a book. But, you know, when you, when you try to read it, it, it just doesn't quite land. And I don't, I don't know, I I've been at it for a long time and have never quite felt a hundred percent I've, let's put it this way, I've never once just like written something gone in to record it and been like, yep, that's it, <laugh> it's always, it's always some like re rewriting and Sure. Iteration and all that. So yes, I'm not really the guy to be giving out, uh, tips or pointers when it comes to that. Speaker 0 00:13:18 <laugh> a lot of media now more than ever, it's probably been this way for a long time, but a lot of it thrives on like, sensationalism and like kind of these mm-hmm. <affirmative> big stories. And that's, that's actually not always bad. I mean, I think big stories need to be told too, and there are like weird things that happen in the world, like, and things that shock us and those stories need to be told. But I'm trying to think of a way to, to, well I guess it's just more of an observation than a question, right? That there's kind of two sides to that coin, like big expansive stories. Then there's these stories about, I don't wanna say minutia cuz that's, I don't want that to sound insulting, but you know, a story about a telephone or, you know Right. A suit that somebody wore. So have you always been kind of drawn to everyday nuances and objects? Speaker 2 00:14:07 Yeah, for sure. It, it's funny, it's like, in some ways I feel like Andy Kim's blue suit, which is the namesake of the, the sh the original namesake for the show. Like it was like the most sensational of the objects in the season. But on the other hand it was like incredibly mundane, right? And I think that for myself as a poet, I have this sensibility of gravitating towards the mundane. At the same time I'm really in interested in stories about like survival and leadership and creativity, activism and resilience. Speaker 0 00:14:36 Yeah. Cuz I think a lot of people work almost the opposite way. You start with kind of like a really big subject and then you start, as you kind of get into it, you start narrowing in maybe on a character or an aspect of it. And the big event becomes almost like this just kinda like frame story. But the sense I got listening to the blue suit or, or 10,000 things is that you, you start with a very commonplace object and then you start telling this bigger story. Andy Kim, who's, uh, a representative from New Jersey, you know, he said he wore that blue suit cause it was just on clearance and he needed a suit and he just wore it to work that day. And that tells the story of January 6th and it tells the story of being an Asian American and a time that's, that we're very racially polarized. I, I, I think that's just a really fascinating way to look at the world. Speaker 2 00:15:30 Yeah. The, the commonness or commonplace aspect of the object. Um, I, I think of like an the object or the image is always the starting place for me or something I might kind of describe as like a thought feeling. Like, what is a story that I wanna craft around a thought feeling? Speaker 0 00:15:48 I mean, we all had I think, feelings and emotions on January 6th. What, what did you feel? And then especially, you know, again, seeing an Asian American, like just kind of cleaning up the destruction that a mostly white crowd created. Speaker 2 00:16:02 I remember that day and the news footage that was, you know, coming through was, was just horrific. It was like the, the burning down of democracy and a sense of like deep, deep chaos in, in our country. And I think when I saw that image of Andy Kim that went viral, it was so deeply moving to me, um, in terms of this public servant who looked like me, who was just kind of cleaning up the aftermath of something that other people had created. And, um, for me it spoke so much to values around kind of like personal leadership and carrying on in difficult times and doing the most humblest of activities in the face of like unspeakable horror. And for me, that became kind of this touchstone for the way that maybe I wanted to proceed through my life as a person who is physically marked as different, you know, Asian American and needing to find the still worries and the models that could keep me going during a particularly lead to our time with the rise in anti-Asian hate crime during pandemic. Speaker 3 00:17:16 But the jewel of the Smithsonian's newest collection is a deep ocean blue J crew men's suit, the blue suit worn by representative Andy Kim as he picked up trash in the capitol building in the aftermath of the riots. An object may seem unremarkable, but then a person activates it in a way that transforms its meaning and gives it a life beyond its intended purpose. Often these things are kept in our storage units, garages, were even tucked away in the back of a closet, but sometimes these objects, which tell a story end up in the Smithsonian, the story about your blue suit is actually the inspiration for my series. And so I'm just so, um, honored to speak to you today. Speaker 4 00:17:58 Yeah. Well thank you. I I've been looking forward to this, so I appreciate that you reached on out. Speaker 0 00:18:08 I, I think you've been pretty open about talking about how being, being the child of immigrants, like a lot of times you like, you kind of feel almost like outta place. Yeah. Like, it, it, it seems like obviously a lot of the people you talk to mm-hmm. <affirmative> in your episodes have a similar experience mm-hmm. <affirmative> and these, these objects, these commonplace objects mm-hmm. <affirmative> like a telephone, like a cooking show or, or a garment Yeah. That someone wears the, these objects that would seem innocuous to, to anyone else, like are, are really a source of comfort. Do you have those in your own life too? Like the, these objects that like, may maybe make you feel more comforted or, or less, less outta place? Speaker 2 00:18:49 Uh, I, I do have strange collections of objects for sure, and then some kind of personal things that I've gathered over the years. One that I talk about sometimes is, uh, I, I used to work in museums and <laugh> as a museum educator. And, uh, there was this German sculptor and installation artist that came through Dallas, Texas when I was working for the Dallas Museum of Art. His name is Wolfgang Live. And Wolfgang Live was like trained as a doctor but didn't decide to practice. Instead, he went into being an incredible visual artist and he makes these beautiful beeswax ziarat mountains and, um, these exquisite sculptures out of like flower pollen and, uh, other, other natural materials. And so he was in the galleries installing this giant beeswax mountain and, uh, myself and my educators were allowed to come in and have a conversation with him to learn about what he was doing and how he was making it. And there was a lot of extra beeswax left on the wooden floor of the gallery, like the extra that dripped off and that he didn't need it. And, uh, I rolled up a little ball of bees wax and I kept it for myself. I keep it in my Buddhist shrine and it is kind of like this totemic object that for me has represented this kind of conversions of like the sacred and the creative from an artist that, uh, I really just respect and adore their work. Speaker 0 00:20:19 Yeah. It's, it's, it's funny how we all have those like little objects that it's like, why? You know, I know. Why, why would you keep a ball of wax? I, but I have a vial of dirt that somebody gave me once that means a lot to me, <laugh>. And I'm never, I'm never getting rid of it. It's, I love that with Speaker 2 00:20:35 Me because I have like a little Ziploc baggy of dirt from Taiwan, actually. Yeah. Which is my parents' native land. And I'm curious, is it like, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative> from the place of your ancestors or what's significant about it? Speaker 0 00:20:47 No, it's, it's not from, well, I, I, I, my roots are in North Carolina mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so I guess maybe ostensibly it is, it's dirt from the last game that was played at a minor league baseball stadium here in North Carolina. The place that I, oh, I saw my, uh, first game, you know, again, I think it's an example of like how, you know, stories or how it tells like yes. How objects tell like bigger stories and, but it's also, that's like a very human story. I could go on and on about, you know, my memories mm-hmm. <affirmative> of watching baseball and what it means to me. And it, it makes me wonder with 10,000 things, is this a story about objects or is it a story about people Speaker 2 00:21:27 <laugh> it? It's both. It's both. Yeah. <laugh>, I think when, you know, I, I first came up with, with the name, you know, I, I knew that the series was gonna be about objects and in some way that was this way to like deflect or to create some kind of safety around myself. A again, you know, this was this time like before Michelle Yo won the Oscar or before Turning Red came out. Like, it, it was a time when there was just a lot of things going on in the media affecting Asian American elders and women. It was after the Atlanta shooting. And I think there was part of me that felt very concerned and anxious about putting people stories about Asian American people so forward and so bold. But, you know, I could certainly use the strategy of an object that could be a little bit more universal or neutralized. Speaker 2 00:22:17 Um, you know, like there's no such thing as like a Chinese object or a Japanese object. Like objects are just objects, right? And they may come from specific cultures, but an object in itself has a certain kind of neutrality. And then there's the identity that's like constructed around it. And so I think that, you know, early on probably that decision was one based or driven by anxiety and fear. And I think that as the, the project, um, came out into the world and, you know, it was received positively by a lot of my community members. And now, you know, the, the world is evolving in terms of how Asian Americans are represented in the media. I think that it feels more comfortable for me putting out or saying that this is absolutely about Asian American people, Asian American artifacts, this is Asian American. But it took me some time I think as a, as a human being and a person to be able to, to step into that. I think with a little bit more confidence. Speaker 0 00:23:16 I heard an interview with you where you, I, I don't remember who you were referencing, but you, you referenced someone who was told they were two Asian <laugh> <laugh>, which I don't, I didn't know there were degrees of it. <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:23:29 That was the story of, uh, Michelle Lee who's this television anchor, and it was like New Year's Day and she was talking about the tradition of like dumpling eating dumplings in her family. And then a mm-hmm. <affirmative> caller from the community called in and left a message that said she was too Asian and they should get that off the air. And yeah, that was maybe like a year and a half or two years ago. It's fairly recent <laugh>, Speaker 0 00:23:52 I mean, the audacity to eat something you like <laugh> and, and tell people about it. <laugh>, I've never, never, never in my life have <laugh> kind of going back to that subject of oral histories versus Yeah. Something that's like very crafted, like the way I make things. I compare the way I work to shooting a bunch of arrows against like a barn and wall. And then like later on I'll go and I'll paint my full size around it and then I'll say like, <laugh>, look, look at that. A lot. A lot of it's cuz I, I, I don't know, maybe it's a d d maybe it's, I don't know what, I don't know what it is, but a lot of times I don't really know what a story's gonna be until it's already started. Have you experienced any of that? Making this where you're, where you kind of, you have a, you know, a subject, their object. Does the story ever go places you never expected it would? Or do you have a pretty good sense of, I I have a story arc here and I I know I just need to connect the dots. Speaker 2 00:24:51 Yeah, I, I think I, I shoot to be as precise as possible, which means a lot of thinking about the topic before I even decide what, what the story is. I think like, it, it has a shape in my mind. And then absolutely when I go and do the interview, there are things that may come up that are a surprise that I don't expect that maybe become a part of the story, but I'm aiming for, you know, that, that sort of thought feeling. I guess it's, it's like, I feel like the way in which I organize the stories are often by a kind of emotional tone in my mind. And then they kind of like form a collection of feelings, I suppose, which is, again, I, I think a kind of weird way to do things. But even if I don't know what the object is gonna be or the object shifts, um, through the interview, like when I started the telephone piece, I actually really wanted the story to be about the idea of song and whether a song can be an object. And then that was like a little bit too squishy. So then my team and I talked about the idea of it being maybe a record or a record collection. And then eventually we landed on the telephone as the thing that activates the records. But I think for myself, the story was always, you know, about this kind of idea of something that's intangible that we carry almost like an identity or an inheritance and wanting to kind of look at the feeling that one might have around that sense of connection to a thing. Speaker 0 00:26:20 I think your way of working is better than mine. I think people need, I think you need some, some structure. So I've got to kind of, I'm gonna have to go back to the drawing board a little bit, I think and, and take after shinny a little bit cuz I, I love your podcast. You know, I binged it over the course of, I don't know, six days and I'm glad you mentioned the telephone episode cuz that that one really stuck with me. Mm. A lot. Um, what about it? To me, it was a very kind of like layered and meta episode mm-hmm. <affirmative> because it's, it's, you know, it's a, it's a podcast, but then, you know, within that it's, it's about how sound connects us to the past Yeah. And how you're hearing these voices from the past and a little bit of that shame. Like, we're a country that reclaims to be the land of the free and we, we treated, yeah. We, we treated our, you know, our, our citizens that way. So yeah. I, I just, I liked, I like the whole series, but yeah. The idea of a record player being a time machine to me is, is just such a vivid image. Yeah. And it evoked a lot of feelings listening to it. So I've Speaker 1 00:27:22 Never Speaker 2 00:27:22 Done this. I don't know what I'm doing. Speaker 1 00:27:24 Awesome. Speaker 3 00:27:25 I handle the record by its edges. Like I often saw my father handle his own record collection to avoid smudging the 78 with my fingerprints Speaker 2 00:27:36 Spinning. Okay. Lift this, Speaker 5 00:27:38 See it comes to your Speaker 3 00:27:39 Left. If I were even more careful, I'd probably blow away any dust before placing the platter on the turntable. I lift the needle of the telephone to place it on the spinning disc. Speaker 5 00:27:59 So I, I believe that this particular telephone came from Craig's, uh, Craigslist's sale. I renez VOD with a seller at a gas station, and I probably paid around $40 for it. Speaker 2 00:28:16 That's haunting. I have a, uh, time capsule in this next season. Actually. Speaker 0 00:28:23 I was gonna ask you, what, what can we expect from season two? Speaker 2 00:28:26 Um, so season two, uh, I have some interviews with some great storytellers, Sean Wong, who's like the godfather of Asian American literature. And, uh, I also spend time engaging with Alice Long, who is a disability activist and advocate who actually, uh, lost her voice last summer. She had a catastrophic medical crisis that resulted in a collapsed lung. And as a result of it, how she communicates now is through a text to voice application where it basically generates, uh, a a cyboard voice for her. And so, um, this subject, uh, which will be the last episode, uh, of the season is about the idea of voice one's relationship to voice and what happens when you lose your voice. Speaker 0 00:29:11 Wow. Speaker 2 00:29:12 So it's also very meta Yeah. Speaker 0 00:29:15 Terrifying prospect Speaker 2 00:29:18 <laugh> for, for we who use our voices in our profession. Yes. Speaker 0 00:29:22 <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. I, I'd be up the creek without mine. The, the decision to change the name from the blue suit to 10,000 things. Sure. Uh, what happened there? Speaker 2 00:29:33 Yeah. Uh, you know, so like that first season I came up with this idea that was, you know, part of my original pitch and I wanted to call it the Blue suit, inspired by Andy Kim because he really was the namesake for the whole idea in the show. And I, I think when we all agreed to that, uh, with like no other tagline about this being Asian American stories, that, that they, that I think the station was very much sort of honoring, um, where I was and what I wanted. I didn't, again, wanna put forward, you know, Asian American stories and I I wanted to kind of use the objects as kind of like this red herring or this hook. And so I think what we ended up with in a lot of ways was a podcast name that was maybe confusing or undiscoverable, like, what is this about? Speaker 2 00:30:18 Nobody maybe knew. And so when they decided to do a second season, we had conversations about the kind of re-imagination of what a name or an identity for the show could be. Someone was asked to think about what some possible alternatives could be, and we spit bought a lot of things. And I put out there the idea of 10,000 things. So, um, 10,000 is kind of a nod in some ways to my own cultural background and heritage. Uh, 10,000 is a very popular number in Chinese culture that is often used to connote something that is like vast or inf infinite or unfathomable. And, uh, it often is a number that appears in poetry and like, you know, uh, traditional sayings. And so it felt like using that number could somehow give a nod to the audience that is really the one that I want to connect with. And then things kind of referencing back to artifacts, objects. And so those things together felt like it could be this larger container or umbrella for a series that is ongoing going to be about objects. Speaker 0 00:31:23 I think names are so important. Someone might look at, you know, something and say like, if, if the name like, you know, Asian American is in the tagline somewhere or in the title, they might just say, well, I don't identify with that. It's, it's, yes, it's not for me. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but it could have been, it, it could, it could have been. Uh, and it can be a window into, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative> a world and it's a perspective I think like you, you wouldn't have gotten otherwise. So I think it's an interesting strategy. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:31:49 Yeah. We'll, we'll see how it does. I, I mean, I think with the addition of the tagline, you know, I think it's artifacts of Asian American life, like, then it seems like the audience will definitely self-select, right? Because they'll know what they're getting into versus something that's a little bit more open and abstract and Yeah. I'm, I'm curious to see what happens. Speaker 0 00:32:08 So Shene, you know, this is kind of the standard way I think most people in conversations, but was, was there anything you were hoping to share that I haven't given you a chance to yet? I'd like for you to be able to do that. Speaker 2 00:32:19 I, I don't think so. I'm really excited that you invited me on this show and I'm, I'm so new to this world, so it's, it's just nice to have conversations with others about, about this space and podcasting. Speaker 0 00:32:30 Well, welcome aboard. We're glad you're here. And I think it's a good example of, you know, you don't have to be, quote unquote a podcaster to do well in, in this arena. So everyone come on in the water's warm. <laugh>. We're, we're going, you know, we talked about season two, we're gonna hear that trailer, but everyone stick around to hear that. And then afterwards, uh, Shin's gonna give us a podcasting tip. Speaker 3 00:32:52 Hi, I'm Shin Ye, I'm Seattle civic poet and host of this podcast, and I'm out noodling around. I'm visiting my parents in the Inland Empire of Southern California and getting my fill of sunshine and vitamin D while trying not to turn into a giant freckle. But I wanted to drop in and tell you about this podcast I'm making with K U O W. It's called 10,000 Things, and it's an honest, sensitive, and poetic look at what it's like to be Asian in America, because diverse stories make us all a little more human. So here's a little preview. Since we were last together, we've experienced some dark moments of loss and reminders of how vulnerable our communities can be to Speaker 6 00:33:32 Have this community now be part of this legacy of mass shootings in this country. I think people are still in shock Speaker 3 00:33:39 As well as lighter and more triumphantly, joyful times Speaker 7 00:33:43 For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight. <laugh>, this is the beacon of hope and possibilities. Speaker 3 00:33:53 We are here to help work through all of it because stories about the Asian American experience are necessary here and now more than ever. The blue suit was what we called the first series of this show. If you haven't listened, I hope you'll turn back to our first season to hear some stories about remarkable objects and extraordinary people. Objects tell stories, but now we're evolving because in the Buddhist sense of change, nothing stays the same. So now with season two, we're keeping our focus on objects, but we're expanding out to the idea of an infinite collection, an infinite story, something vast dynamic ever growing and changing in many Chinese sayings and in classical poetry, the number 10,000 is ye in a lyrical sense to convey something infinite, vast, and unfathomable. I think the story of Asians in America is just that. So join me as I unearth everyday objects imbued with meaning. This season I'm looking at a bicycle, a time capsule, a voice trout, and more. When we have some new music by Seattle songwriter Tomo Naka Yama, we'll be back with our new season on May 1st in your podcast app as 10,000 things, the podcast about artifacts of Asian American life. Speaker 0 00:35:38 Every once in a while I start to feel a bit confident, like I've got this audio storytelling thing down pat, but then I meet someone like she who's new to the medium, and I realize there's always new horizons, new ways to tell stories and better ways to fully leverage this medium. I feel like I learned a lot from talking to Shinny, and I hope you did too. Now it's time for our podcasting tip where our guests share some wisdom with us. Speaker 2 00:36:09 My name is Shinny Kai and I'm the hosting creator of 10,000 things. And my podcasting tip is that I think it can be really useful to think outside the traditional form and format of what podcasting narratives can be for myself, coming from the orientation of being a poet, uh, a lot of my style of telling a story can be very non-linear and sensitive and image-based and really based around feelings, um, and emotional tones. And in that way it may not adhere very strictly to kind of like a traditional three act arc of storytelling, but I think can create a different environment and experience for the listener that can be very powerful through just evocation and suggestiveness of what, uh, a mood is. Speaker 0 00:37:02 Audience is a cast's original series. Our founder and executive producer is Craig Hewitt. Production assistance is provided by Jocelyn Devore, ISL Bri and Marni Hills. Our website and logo design is courtesy of Fran Schwab Grill. Our head of product here at Casto. All of our music comes from the Story Blocks Library. This episode was written, edited, narrated, and produced by me. I'm Stuart Barefoot. All previous episodes can be streamed anywhere you listen to podcast and [email protected]. Next time on audience, I speak with Jenny Turner Hall about our Groundbreaking Kids podcast, the Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel. Speaker 8 00:37:49 So we were thinking at both as parents and for other parents, could we create something that parents could enjoy with their kids? So number one, it would be written well enough and be interesting enough that parents could consume it with their kids and not wanna like, you know, gouge their ears out or eyes out.

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