Episode 01: The end goal of creativity is not perfection – Homestead on the Corner
CONTENT WARNING: Brief discussions of depression and ADHD
Welcome back to the Homestead on the Corner Writing Podcast! Van Winkle and Virginia return after a 2+ year absence for a new mini-season of interviews with other audio fiction writers and creators, starting with a reintroduction to the core team – their backgrounds, methods, favorite stories, struggles, and victories as writers.
This episode was made possible by our supporters at Patreon.com/homesteadcorner and ko-fi.com/homesteadcorner.
For more information, additional content, and episode transcript, visit homesteadonthecorner.com/podcast
CONTENT WARNING: Brief discussions of depression and ADHD
Van Winkle (00:00):
Good morning everyone. This is Van Winkle,
And this is Virginia,
Van Winkle (00:04):
And you are listening to the Homestead on the Corner Writing Podcast.
Hello and welcome, everyone <laugh>
Van Winkle (00:26):
Welcome back. Uh, it’s been a while since we’ve done, uh, a writing lesson episode, in fact, a little bit since we’ve done anything. So, in case you’re just coming back to us now because we finally put out a new episode on this feed after a couple years, welcome, Homestead on the Corner is still here. Uh, the format has just changed a little bit since mid 2020. If you weren’t aware, Virginia and I have been producing two different shows, uh, that are spin offs of Homestead on the Corner: The Sheridan Tapes, which is now heading into its fourth and final season very, very quickly, uh, as well as Tales of the Echowood, which we’ve produced one season, uh, as well as a special for and more stuff is coming there soon. So Homestead on the Corner is still around, and we are still making a lot of stuff and doing a lot of writing. Virginia is now basically the other half of this creative partnership that is Homestead on the Corner, and we figured 2023 was as good a time as any to bring back the writing podcast, albeit in a slightly different format.
I’m really excited that we’re, uh, excited and terrified that we are reviving all three podcast feeds at once this year, but <laugh>,
Van Winkle (01:34):
Because no one can stop us, literally no one
<laugh>, it’s literally just up to us. So that’s dangerous. Yeah. So what we’ll be doing here is, in the past, Van Winkle did a series of writing lessons, which I still think are great. I actually benefited from them myself before we started working together on The Sheridan Tapes. But as time passes and shows get made, I feel like there’s an experiential kind of side that you get that informs a little bit like, oh, okay, here, here are some sort of basic lessons that I took and can teach to other people. But then here’s the way that that writing process changes as a result of like working with my own methods and my own preferences. Cause turns out writing like a lot of other artistic disciplines is yours to figure out and break the rules on, and <laugh> do different things. And, uh, this is why we’re doing this. We’re gonna sit down and talk with each other about our backgrounds as writers, choices that we make in our writing. It’s a little bit more of like a freeform discussion.
Van Winkle (02:39):
Yeah. We’re going to be talking with, uh, at least, at least for this mini season, we’re gonna be doing, uh, four different audio drama writers, um, who we both very deeply admire, um, and have been able to make contacts with, uh, through our work on our other shows, uh, as well as people we just know kind of through Twitter, through social media and things like that, who we know are extraordinary writers. And we’re going to bring them in and do interviews with all four of them, um, talking through their backgrounds as writers as well, their methodologies, their tastes, and kind of how they approach writing. What I really wanna do with this as opposed to the original writing lessons is to make this a little bit less prescriptive, a little bit less: here are the rules of writing here is, you know, the structure. Just because while the, you know, tenets of story structure and you know, different, you know, paradigms of that are very useful and very helpful for, you know, and sometimes just for, you know, fixing a story when it’s not quite, you know, coming together.
I feel like there’s a lot to be gleaned from just hearing writers talk about their process in a more free form way, in a more mm-hmm. <affirmative> a way that’s more focused on their experience as a writer, um, and what it is like to, to tell stories in part, you know, in particular for a lot of the creators we’ll be talking to, you know, long form serialized stories. Um, so yeah, we’re gonna be talking with a bunch of very cool people over the next few months and we hope you all enjoy. But for now, we just kind of want to, in my case, reintroduce myself, in Virginia’s case, um, introduce herself <laugh>, um, as writers, uh, as creative people, as the team that is Homestead on the Corner now, and who will be talking to these creators just so you can get a little bit of a baseline on who we are and what we, what we make.
All right. I feel like we should get into this, so…
Van Winkle (04:28):
Probably, I think that’s enough preamble .<laugh>
Let’s start off with you as the originator of Homestead on the Corner. Let’s give a little refresh for the folks on what your background as a writer is, like, how did you get started?
Van Winkle (04:40):
I was trying to think this through earlier today, and I think this is the same answer I gave when I talked about this… like in episode zero of this podcast. I feel like I’ve always been writing in one format or another since like I knew how? Um, I was always telling stories as a kid, whether that’s, you know, writing little short stories and books, uh, you know, in school or in my own free time or, you know, there’s a brief period where I thought I really wanted to be a cartoonist and do you know, cartoons or comic books <Oh, fun> for a living <laugh>? Um, and, uh, I, I have, I’m sure those are all tucked away in a drawer somewhere at my grandma’s house probably. Uh, and I dread to think what would happen if any of them were ever, uh, dredged up from the depths <laugh>.
But, um, yeah, I’ve been, you know, telling stories in one format or another, you know, pretty much my entire life. That turned into eventually, you know, making short and eventually not so short films with my friends and family through high school, which then turned into going to film school for four and a half years, uh, which then eventually turned into, you know, writing and self-publishing, my first book, the Grazland Tales. And out of that came, you know, the early, early days of Homestead on the Corner and writing audio drama, um, because I was so inspired by all the amazing work I saw in the medium.
Amazing. Uh, for me, I, I kind of like, I relate to a lot of what you just said there, because I was always finding different ways to, uh, explore that, like storytelling creativity. I do remember being in the first grade and having a particularly scary but intriguing dream one night where I was like climbing up a hill in the Pacific Northwest, and it was sort of like a video game level where there were these like spiky scary obstacles in front of me, like swinging in front of me or trying to stab me, and I had to like rescue someone at the top and then run back down with them. And like stylistically it was, I, I know it was really inspired by one of my favorite movies at the time, which was, uh, A Little Princess, um, the nineties version. Uh, anyway, that’s what my dream looked like. And so I wrote this out on a piece of paper and at my school during like gym time, I just, like, I taped it to the wall and I tried yelling at people to come read it <laugh>. So really that’s what I do now in a sense, is I, I yell at people to come read my nightmares. Um,
Van Winkle (07:03):
The RSS feed is, is just the wall you’ve taped your nightmares to.
Van Winkle (07:07):
And I just loved like making my family laugh and telling stories and writing, like in high, in high school I had some benign writing assignment that I, I didn’t have to do this, no one was asking for this… I turned in like a 90 page Lord of the Rings spoof <laugh> to my English teacher, and she tried so hard not to crush my spirit as she accepted it. <laugh>.
Van Winkle (07:34):
Oh my God.
So there’s like a bunch of points where I’ve just been like, please look at me <laugh> in my writing. Um, and then I went to school <laugh>, look at what I made. I went to school originally for theater performance, and then, um, took a break after four years, eventually finished through English and Creative Writing. And then a couple years after that point is, uh, when I met Van Winkle and here we are now. I’ve done like, I don’t know, little bits of writing in the meantime, but this is the first thing where I’ve really felt like, oh my God, this feels so good to work on.
Van Winkle (08:09):
That is amazing. And I love how things have lined up that way.
<laugh>. Yeah. So what is the story that made you want to be a writer and why did it make you wanna be a writer?
Van Winkle (08:22):
I have a couple of answers on this. I think the first one that comes to mind is the original Star Wars trilogy. That was, at the very least, the series of movies that made me want to be a filmmaker or at least some kind of, you know, person who makes things, uh, creatively for a living, just largely because, um, when I was about 10 or 12 ish, um, my dad purchased the, you know, special edition box set of the, of all three films, which came with the Empire of Dreams documentary, which was this massive, I think slightly longer than feature length, um, documentary on the making of the original trilogy from, you know, initial conception writing through production and post-production. Um, and I was always fascinated by that. I watched that over and over and over again, and it was kind of the first time it really clicked.
I think that, oh, there’s, you know, creative people, you know, writers behind these movies that I watch, these stories that I enjoy, and they’re just kind of, they’re normal people. They can do– I can do this. Oh, okay. Um, I want to do this for the rest of my life. Um, in one form or another. Another big inspiration is, uh, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, the movies initially, um, because I did end up watching the movies before I read the books. Um, but the books afterwards, um, just the idea of a big, fascinating, sprawling, emotionally complex story like that, um mm-hmm. <affirmative> that was just so inspiring to see as like a young writer in, you know, in training, basically, um, just what is possible in a long form story. Um, the levels of complexity and realism and emotional depth and symbols and everything just, um, really made a big impression on me at a young age. Um, and then, this is the slightly cringe answer, but, um, the, um, the storyline for the Lego Toy series Bionicle,
Oh, I was not expecting that. This is great.
Van Winkle (10:24):
Hear me out. Hear me out <laugh>. Um, it has informed a lot of like my, um, storytelling sensibilities in terms of like multi-layered, long form storytelling with lots of really intricate and rewarding, you know, twists and secrets and things to discover in a, you know, a really interesting kind of genre mashup world that, you know, is just entirely its own thing. And, you know, I, I just <laugh>, I read all of the comics, I read all of the books through like, you know, a large portion of the 10 years that toy line was running. Yeah. I <laugh> that, that has had a huge influence on me, um, and like the way I tell stories and the stories I enjoy. So, um, yeah, I’m just, I was just gonna throw that in there as another reason why, um, I am this way <laugh>
Amazing. I do feel that that really encapsulates you as a person in many ways, <laugh>. Uh, so that makes a lot of sense to me.
Van Winkle (11:23):
<laugh>, um, for me, I, I have to like think back on the moments in my life where I felt this like unquenchable little light bulb that turns on at certain points in my life where I remember feeling like, oh my God, you can, you can just make up a thing like this? Like, it’s like this little little thing of permission that comes alive in me. <Van Winkle> Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I remember feeling that for, um, gosh, I must have been in early middle school. I read, uh, the Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander, which is like where the story The Black Cauldron comes from. <Van Winkle> Oh,
Okay. <Virginia> I don’t, I’ll have to revisit these. I don’t remember if there was anything specifically about like, why it made me feel so excited, but there was something about the world building and the characters and the way that it was told that it just, it made me feel like I was there and it made me wanna write something like that. And then basically right after that was Lord of the Rings also for me. Um, and I think I remember reading the books right away and then seeing the movie, so that was kind of concurrent for me. Well, it took like, until I was almost out of high school for the series to conclude. You get what I mean? <Van Winkle>Yeah, yeah. <Virginia> But I, yeah, that just completely rotted my brain in the best way. Lord of The Rings did. I was so obsessed. I had a giant folder of things that I printed out from theonering.net that I loved, like recipes and like photos of, uh, the characters in Fan art and um, how to speak Elvish. And I watched the extended versions of the movies with a notebook open and subtitles on, and I hand wrote my own copies of these scripts. Uh, I was in it, I was deeply in it. I even went by Sam in high school because me and my friends all picked a nickname from the Fellowship to go by. <Van Winkle> Oh, that is great <Virginia> I’m really revealing a lot right now.
Van Winkle (13:23):
You picked the best character, so
<laugh> and I, it, it meant a lot to me because my friends were like, oh, that one makes sense for you. And I’m like, ohhh, thank you. What I really love about Lord of the Rings is there is so much affection between friends in that series. Uh, and there was even a, uh, I think this was in, in Vulture or something like that <transcriber note: it was Polygon>, an article that, um, this writer Molly Ostertag wrote about queerness and Lord of the Rings and like, yeah, that, that article just put so many things together for me of like, why did I like this story particularly? And those are, those are my main inspirations and, and it just made me wanna write something like that that made other people feel excited to be alive. So,
Van Winkle (14:09):
So our next question here, <laugh>, is getting into it, do you plot out your stories before you start writing or do you just let it happen
Van Winkle (14:18):
<laugh>? It’s a little bit of a mix for me usually. Um, these days I tend to be much more, you know, plot my stories out, beat by beat, really get it figured out before I get started writing. That’s largely because of just how much writing I have to do, um, like every year to make these, you know, make my parts of the Sheridan Tapes, Tales of the Echowood happen without an outline. I’ll just get lost and spiral and the series won’t get made. But at the very start of the Sheridan Tapes, um, which I’ve talked about before, which is, you know, a massive four-season one hundred episode, you know, mystery. I didn’t know where the hell it was going. Um, I just started writing some, you know, I had the framing device of Sam Bailey looking for a disappeared Anna Sheridan, and she left behind a bunch of spooky tapes.
Um, but I was writing it just pure anthology then just throwing ideas at the wall, um, and just, you know, not even outlining the individual episode, just like, hmm, I wanna do an episode about a creepy house full of mirrors. Uh, let’s just do that. And just, you know, straight writing it, pantsing my way through <laugh> um, you know, the first about 10 scripts or so. Um, you know, eventually though I did like, okay, I need to figure out what the solution to this mystery is very quickly. Um, cause I’m about halfway through season one and I don’t really know, um, I need to figure out, you know, how this season is going to wrap up and then how we’re going to go into like some more seasons cuz people seem to like this. And then eventually, you know, largely when Virginia, you know, arrived on the scene, uh, and we were, you know, working on the same series together, we’re like, okay, we need to, you know, specifically plot out, break down the season into what happens in each individual episode.
So we like don’t get lost when it’s two different people, uh, and a few other, you know, co-writers making this series. We need to make sure there’s an outline, steering the ship, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that’s kind of carried over into even the things I write, you know, myself now. Although, you know, I have, I think a lot of the times what I do is I get started on a story on kind of vibes and a vague notion of like, where this should start and then figure out an outline once I have a couple of chapters or a couple of episodes in and then, you know, outline as much as I can while I’m still writing, uh, is usually the way it ends up going for me. So it’s a little bit of a mix of both. Um. Yeah.
Yeah, for me, I, uh, my short stories that I’ve written have mostly been just like, let’s see where this goes. Like, not really a lot of planning, but definitely for something like the Sheridan Tapes, it’s like, yeah, we’re gonna need to plot this out because there’s two writers working on it, because there’s a lot of characters, because there’s specific moments we need to hit at certain times. Honestly, from there, like wherever there is room to sort of just let something happen, I, I really like doing that. Like, uh, in episode 69, I knew I was gonna write a horror story about a clown and an ice cream truck and something sort of inevitable crashing in on this character. I didn’t really know where I was going and I just kind of like, let the, the vibes take me away. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then I try to also channel that energy when I can in like the dialogue scenes mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because I think if you know where you need to end up or vaguely where you need to end up, but you like still letting yourself be free to kind of mm-hmm. <affirmative> see what wants to happen there. And I feel like that’s a nice way to channel that energy when you have to be very meticulous.
Van Winkle (17:43):
Yeah. Yeah. I, I think like for dialogue, like you really, I feel like having like a little little bit more of a free flow approach to it does help it, you know, it feel more natural just knowing though where you like need to build to, um, or, you know, the end of the scene what the energy, you know, kind of is that you need to carry on into the rest of the, the story from there or what you end on mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but yeah, I, I agree that dialogue tends to be, you know, I don’t <laugh> I don’t block out every single line of dialogue, um, when writing.
No, that sounds like hell. And sometimes like the characters end up revealing something that you’re like, oh, that’s actually a better and stronger choice, and, yeah.
Van Winkle (18:21):
Especially when we’ve been writing the same set of characters with a few additions, you know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> for a couple of seasons now. Um,
Yeah. So our next question here is, what’s one mistake that you’ve made with your writing or what’s your biggest struggle as a writer?
Van Winkle (18:37):
Yeah, and this kind of goes back to my approach to plotting versus pantsing. Um, the second act of my stories, they tend to drag quite a lot, um, sometimes… I’ve gotten better at it, I think. Um, but I do sometimes tend to get a little bit lost in the middle of my stories and just kind of go in circles for a while until, oh, we’re at the midpoint now, let’s make this actually interesting. I really feel that was the case with the Grazland Tales. I feel like books two and three of, you know, which are, you know, basically the act two of that story really, really kind of go nowhere, um, for many, many pages. Uh, and then eventually book four comes around like, oh, now we we’re back to actually moving this story forward. You know, I, I feel the same way about, you know, while I love all of the Sheridan Tapes for different reasons, and season two was absolutely necessary
I think for the story as a whole, I feel like it does end up dragging a little bit, um, especially kind of in the early part of the season before we get to the big reveal, which I won’t spoil in case you haven’t listened. Um, but there is a big reveal that kind of kicks the story back into high gear. And I think, yeah, I think that’s my biggest struggle is, you know, because I tend to get, that’s, that’s usually the point I tend to get to before I start really outlining, or it might just be my own sensibilities as a writer. And the fact that I tend to structure around, uh, a big midpoint reveal. Like, I tend to have fairly strong introductions and first acts, um, and then like the first part of season, uh, of, sorry, of Act two tends to be a little bit directionless, I feel. Mm-hmm. Um, that’s what I struggle with a lot.
Mm-hmm. I feel like I struggle the most with, I think like, I don’t know whether it’s initiation or momentum or a combination of both, but basically, basically I struggle with my ADHD the most in my writing. And the only way that I found to get through that is to just keep talking about it and to be honest about it. Uh, and to find whatever little ways I can to just sort of try and shake that energy off. And I’m, I’m being this frank it because I think like, well, I mean, it’s good to be very honest about like, I, I am doing this job and I don’t know everything about this job and I still struggle a lot with it, but I love it so much and I want anyone who is listening to this who like, is scared to do it because they feel like they have the same hangups,
Like, don’t be don’t be afraid if, if I can do it, anybody can do it. I’m very much still learning and hope to get much better at like, you know, giving myself the resources I need to learn and grow. Of course. Um, anyway, yeah, my biggest struggle is just honestly making myself do it. And working with Van Winkle has been amazing for that actually because, um, they move so fast that like, I have to, so like, I feel like they really speed it up. I tend to slow it down where we need to, to like, this is too much or we need more time for this thing or, so I feel like it’s a, it’s a good push and pull.
Van Winkle (21:46):
It’s a balancing act. Yeah.
But like, yeah, like, I, I really, really value the trusting, like, accountability that we have, that it really gives me the space to have the feelings and freak out a little bit, but also get really excited cuz we have really good conversations about stories and things that could happen. I can take that excitement and immediately turn it into writing and that’s really, really valuable. Um, it’s honestly like, I, I have tried so many times to work on writing that is just for me in the meantime and I have a harder time with that because it’s not filled with the same sort of like, excited conversation and planning and all of that. Cuz <laugh> it all has to come from me. So I am still trying to figure out how to do that. That part of it. Uh, I’m working through it. I, I have made so much more writing than I really ever thought I would, and I’m just very, very pleased and I’ve definitely proven to myself that I can do it. So it’s like, yeah, that fear isn’t there so much. Like I know I can do it. So now I’m just figuring out how to get into it more, trust myself more, break through that, uh, writer’s block more often, so.
Van Winkle (22:55):
Yeah. And I’ve been very frank about it as well. Um, talking about the early days of the Sheridan Tapes and starting a series, I had no idea how to structure or pace. Um, I, I have said many times, I had no idea what the hell I was doing, um, when starting the show, and I have a better understanding of it now. But, you know, I, I think it’s very important, like you said, to be, to be honest about shortcomings as a writer and be willing to, to learn and be teachable, which is, you know, a big reason why we’re doing this. And we’re gonna be talking to a bunch of people that we mm-hmm. <affirmative> admire and who probably know a little bit more than we do. Um, yeah. And we would, you know, can’t wait to learn from them along with everyone listening, hopefully.
A hundred percent. So what, what makes you feel that a story is worth telling and how do you know it’s ready to share? I love this question. <laugh>.
Van Winkle (23:44):
<laugh>. Yeah. Um, I think what for me really locks in the, like, the feeling and the impression. Um, and the conviction I think is the big thing that like, we’re getting a story off the ground, um, that it’s ready is when you start thinking about it or, you know, if you’re in a partnership, having conversations with who you’re working with or even just conversations about your story with, you know, friends who are writers as well. And you start really thinking about it and really breaking it down and you start finding kind of those weird kind of alignments of themes and characters and ideas that get you really, really excited. Like, oh God, this, if you pick… and your brain just starts going like that, uh, and you just feel the need to write this now. Um, like when things just start lining up on their own and becoming more than like, the sum of the thoughts you’ve originally put into it, I feel that’s when the story is begging to be told.
Um hmm. That’s the way I feel about it. And then how do you know when it’s ready? Um, a lot of the times, um, especially with the way we put out, you know, stories on a deadline, it’s, it’s as good as I can make it, um, with the time that I have. Um,, there’s a great quote from, um, Neil Gaiman, um, from his Rules on Writer–or Rules on Writing, which, um, I definitely recommend you check it out. It’s been my desktop background for like six years now. Um, I can’t remember the exact quote, but it is something like, “put it down, eventually before it’s finished, it will have to be done.” Um, and you know, it’s a matter of like, am I proud of this? Um, is this something I feel okay with, um, and proud of, you know, putting out to the world, having my friends and the people I know read or listen to it and do I not see any immediate, like, flaws or breaking points in it. Um, I think that’s when I feel like it’s ready to, to be shipped out. Um hmm. Yeah.
Basically, very similar answer to you. Like, I think if a story is exciting to me, like if I’ve spent enough time with it and have like, actually let myself feel my way through it so that whatever I’m writing is like true to me and, and the things that I feel like are inside of me, I think that’s how I know it’s worth telling. Like, uh, yeah, if it’s, if it’s exciting to you, that’s how, you know, because mm-hmm. <affirmative>, nobody else has your perspective, your history, your words. And that is interesting to people. We know that’s interesting to people because there’s so many stories like that where it’s somebody just writing from their exact perspective and it’s like, wow, that is fascinating. You, you are the best judge of if a story is worth telling. How do you know it’s ready to share? Yeah. Deadlines, um, deadlines help honestly, because like, I feel like I would ruminate way too long, otherwise, sort of puts a fire under my ass to finish a thing. I think I am learning to be comfortable with that feeling that something isn’t quite where I want it to be, but I don’t know why or how, because I think that feeling is really useful for being able to take that tension into the next thing that you write and be a little more curious maybe, I don’t know if, if a feeling of full satisfaction is even a realistic outcome when you write a thing.
Van Winkle (27:06):
I don’t think any writer has ever felt that about any piece of writing.
Yeah. Because life is never like that either. So why would writing be like that? Uh… mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there was even a, a script of mine, um, oh yeah, it was, it was episode 69, which is actually, I’ll be reading a bit from that later. Um, ironically when it was done, I, like, I remember on our patron podcast I spent a lot of time being like, “I just feel like there’s something missing from it” And we kept talking about it and I realized that’s because that was the feeling I was supposed to be left with from the way the episode was written. And I was like, oh, wait, maybe I did what I was supposed to do then
Van Winkle (27:44):
<laugh>. Yep. Yep. Uh, there was nothing missing from that episode. Episode 69 is incredible. Um,
Thank you. Um, so that’s, I think that’s kind of my point though, is like, maybe what you’re looking for is a feeling of absolute perfection. And I don’t think that’s necessarily supposed to be in writing. Like that’s… absolute perfection is a feeling that you get from documentation or like mm-hmm. <affirmative> a how-to manual. I don’t know if you really get that from stories. Like, you’ll always be left with a little ache.
Van Winkle (28:12):
Yeah. The end goal of creativity is not perfection, I don’t think. I think it’s mm-hmm. <affirmative> honesty.
Yes. Well, it seems like we’re kind of getting to the last little bit here, which I’m really excited about. It’s to share a favorite quote or excerpt from your own work and then talk about why do you like it so much? Uh, I like this question because it feels a little uncomfortable, I think, to be like, okay, what do you really like of your own writing? But I think it’s important to be able to talk about, cuz why else would you write if you didn’t like what you were writing? So it’s just, it’s an opportunity to flex a little bit and to talk about why you’re proud of yourself, I guess. So we’re gonna do that.
Van Winkle (28:50):
Yeah. Um, the quote I picked is from the very first B-side that we did for the Sheridan Tapes. It was an episode called Heart, and it was Sam Bailey kind of reminiscing on his own past and his history with love and loss and grief and dealing with all of those emotions and, you know, learning to live with them in many ways. And my favorite quote is from the very end of the episode, um, after Sam has just talked about like how he’s lost, you know, his parents and his grandma and his partner and has felt alone his whole life. And this is kind of the, the crux of the episode. So the quote is in referring to the idea that, um, happy endings aren’t possible in a world where death exists…
[Crackly tape effect; clip from B-Side “Heart,” of The Sheridan Tapes]
Sam Bailey (29:37):
But I don’t think it has to. I don’t believe that the ending has to be, or, or even should be, happy ever after. It doesn’t even need to be happy at the end. It just needs to be happy, sometimes. It just has to be happy enough… from time to time, in the little moments, in the times we really remember.
Van Winkle (30:15):
And this quote, really, I’m so proud of it still. Um, I was so proud of it when I wrote it. Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with, uh, a lot of depression and just feeling very alone for many, many years feeling like I couldn’t connect to other people in a meaningful way. Feeling very isolated and sad a lot of the time. And really this was kind of like a, a big kind of, “no, that doesn’t define me.” Um, just because, you know, things can be really, really shitty for long periods of time. That doesn’t mean that, you know, life is without value or that, you know, it doesn’t discount the good moments in life, the friendships and the partnerships and the relationships we have with each other. Those are the things I think that really stick with us. And it just was just kind of like a quote that I feel like I needed to hear when I was younger. Yeah. It was really, really, really powerful for me to write that.
I do love that quote. I feel like it’s, it just speaks to the beauty of like, if you’re sort of in a panicky place feeling like this isn’t going right, this isn’t going like people say it’s supposed to. Just hearing that like clawing your way out of that into little beautiful moments as they come is good and it’s good enough. Like, that’s, that’s amazing. I feel like that’s such a, like if you struggle with, uh, perfectionist tendencies, like I definitely do, that’s also really good to hear. Like there is no universe where everything is good all the time, where everything’s perfect all the time and you just need to throw that out <laugh> and embrace beautiful moments as they come and remember them. And yeah. I just love how you wrote that.
Van Winkle (32:05):
How about you, Virginia <laugh>?
Oh boy. Um, this is from episode 69. Um, it’s a part after this big emotional blow up with Ren, where he issues this ultimatum like, you need to be on board or you need to leave. And it really, it brings a lot out of our characters suddenly. And then there’s this long scene that cuts between, uh, Bill and Rob having a conversation in one room and Kate and Peter having a conversation in the other room trying to decide like, what are we gonna do? And through love, they each decide to do a completely different thing. And then there’s this scene with Kate and Peter where Kate, this whole time has been too afraid to ask Peter for what she really wants, which is just to know her family is safe and to be connected to them, but to be focused on finding Anna. And she’s felt a lot of guilt about like, oh, I can’t leave my family behind too long. Or like, oh, they need to be here with me. And it’s like at the point where it’s like, it’s just too dangerous for them to be here.
[Crackly CCTV effect; clip from Episode 69 of The Sheridan Tapes]
Kate Sheridan (33:05):
I never wanted to be a burden.
Peter Slate (33:10):
You have never ever been a burden. I was waiting for you to ask. My only dream is us, all of us. That means I have all the time in the world to make sure we all get what we need.
Kate Sheridan (33:29):
Wait, no, no.
Peter Slate (33:32):
I want you to ask, Kate.
Kate Sheridan (33:35):
I can’t, this is too big. I’m his mother. I need to be with you, with Andrew.
Peter Slate (33:42):
[pause, she breathes out]
Kate Sheridan (33:43):
Peter Slate (33:50):
Kate Sheridan (33:55):
I need you to… I need you to take Andrew up to Toronto for a while. Stay with your Aunt Ruth until, until this is over.
Oh God, this hurts.
Peter Slate (34:10):
I love you.
Kate Sheridan (34:11):
I love you too. I can’t promise you everything’s going to be okay, but if it isn’t, you’ll be the first to know
Peter Slate (34:22):
Kate Sheridan (34:23):
Promise. I’ll keep in touch as much as I can. I’m going to find Anna, I’m going to figure out how to stop what she saw from happening, me and whoever else stays. And when that’s done…
Peter Slate (34:41):
And when that’s done, we’ll go back home to Iowa. Or maybe we won’t. But wherever we go, we’ll be together and we’ll plant a garden…
I love this bit because I think, I just think it’s beautiful to see this very anxious character, Kate, finally make peace with all of the sides of herself that, that coexist and not exactly in a way where all of those sides get exactly what they want, but in a way where she’s like, she drops a lot of the anxiety and sort of takes responsibility for her choices again. And Peter gets to feel scared and Peter has been like a, a rock of support this whole time. And I just, it’s a, it’s a very short little moment, but I do have a particular soft spot for the idea of like, maybe we’ll go back home, maybe we won’t, but wherever we go, I will be with you and we’ll plant a garden. And just the idea of like, “and we’ll plant a garden” makes me emotional. Yeah. Because I feel like so much, uh, I’m, I won’t get into it, but like, so much of my personal life has changed in the past few years and just being able to write something like that, that like the assurance that like, we don’t need to be anywhere in particular, but like at some point in the future it’s gonna be settled and we will start planting seeds for something quieter, longer term. Like, ugh, that gets me. Yeah, that gets me right in the gut.
Van Winkle (36:15):
Also, to bring this full circle, your, uh, Samwise Gamgee is showing
<laugh>. Oh my God. Exactly right. Yes. That’s exactly what’s happening here is <laugh>. I’ve never let go of Sam Gamgee. Um, that’s my little bit. Um, if either of these excerpts are brand new to you, may I invite you to listen to the Sheridan Tapes? <laugh>. Um, we chose some very heartwarming moments, uh, when it’s, uh, there’s some, there’s some terrifying moments in the show as well. It’s, uh, it’s a mix of horror and heartwarming. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Well that’s our show. And, uh, what we’ll be doing at the end here with our guests is, uh, saying like, well, where can we find you? What, what have you worked on? Where can people listen to your stuff? And uh, if you’re listening to this, you probably already know, but you can find us on social media. I’m @VirginiaSpotts on Instagram and also on Twitter, I think there’s an underscore in the middle of my names on Twitter. That’s where you can find me. And then, uh, Van Winkle,
Van Winkle (37:10):
Yeah, you can find me, uh, @vw_etc, “Vanwinkle, et cetera,” on both Twitter and Instagram. Everything else you wanna find about what we make, you can find on homesteadonthecorner.com. That’s where all of our stuff lives mostly. Although that’s hard to say with podcasting cuz it goes everywhere.
It does. Thank you for joining us. I hope you gleaned something encouraging or insightful, maybe, uh, entertaining from this whole time with both of us. And we so look forward to bringing you the entertainment and laughs and wisdom and heartfelt stories from the people we will be bringing onto the podcast, uh, later.
Van Winkle (37:52):
So we’ll have three more episodes of interviews with other people, um, a bunch of really fun creators from the audio drama and podcasting space. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So look forward to that. Uh, and in the meantime, yeah, check out other shows, Tales of the Echowood, The Sheridan Tapes, uh, wherever you get your podcasts.
Take care of yourself, everyone. We’ll see you soon.
Van Winkle (38:11):
I’m Van Winkle.
And I’m Virginia.
Van Winkle (38:12):
And you are listening to Homestead on the Corner.