the Trans-Dimensional Café -or- Echoes of the past

Cross-posted from JSamuelDiehl.com.

I became a fan of podcasts back in 2006, when my wife bought me an iPod Nano for my time working in the corporate world. I filled that thing with what I thought was enough music to keep me sane in the cubes, and The Flaming Lips, Journey, and Pink Floyd filled my ears during those 10-key days. But eight months of the same music started to burn me out. I craved more; something to keep my mind active while still letting me stay productive at the day gig. Enter podcasts. NPR at first, but then onto Escape Pod and Pseduopod. The latter lead me to Mur Lafferty and from there to the world of Farpoint Media and the dozens of shows I latched onto from there. In 2007, things got kind of muddy as the expanding 2007-2010 web of podcasts lead me to audio fiction, new favorite authors, great interviews, and more. Through all of that, I kept hearing the same echo “podcasting has a low bar of entry, you should do it.” Heck, many of the shows on the network shows I listened to had blossomed from fans of other shows, so why not?

In late 2010, my friends Andrew Henderson and Dakota Lewis worked together to form the first podcast I would take part of: The Trans-Dimensional Café. Over the next half dozen years, this show would start and stop four times as it took us through various stages in our creative journeys. It was always something to try to keep us on task though, to check in and see if we’re keeping up with our writing, our other podcasts, our game design, or production on other larger scale items. It was fitting as TDC basically started as a bet between me and Andrew about who could finish a book first. But last year, one of those journeys came to an end. Andrew left us in the midst of another set of goals being set. We had talked in the weeks before his passing about the idea of resurrecting the show. Of using TDC as our white board for a fifth time.

I was left with a desire, but at the time I felt like I had no one to share it with.

Dakota was the one to get me prompted, indirectly, towards continuing to relaunch TDC. We talked about new Role-Playing designs in early 2017, and it gave me the nostalgia of our talks on the podcast. It made me want to continue to poke the kindling until the fire of creativity sparked again. A chance conversation with Brian Hessee made me realize that if we were going to bring it back, it needed to be a trio. Duos work for one offs but TDC was always best when it was three, and so I invited Brian to be our third wheel. We are now a writer, a musician, and a game theorist, with each of us bringing a portion of these three seeds into our works.

Now we’re back. We finished posting our fifth public episode, our ninth recording together, to the world last week. Five episodes away from submitting to iTunes. Five away from starting a Patreon. Five away from feeling like this might be here to stay. I’m excited for the work, and where the podcast is going. There’s an itch to bring more people in too, to try and start back the interview portion of the show we once had. We each want to share more of our works, from short fiction to music and podcasting, and I think the podcast is actually helping that happen.

I don’t know if 2017 is the year TDC becomes a permeant fixture in my productivity. I’d like it to be. For now it’s serving the purpose it was meant to back in 2010: to keep me honest, to keep me on track, to keep me moving forward. Maybe there will be a time I’ll be past the need of tools like this, but until that time I’ll keep stepping into the café.

TDC will live on.