It started with a recurring, if slightly odd, compliment: “Your voice is so soothing! I use your podcast to fall asleep to every night” or “I had to re-listen to your episode this morning because I fell asleep to it last night.”
Sleeplessness is really how I got into podcasts myself. Having struggled with insomnia my entire life, I discovered a few years ago that listening to someone speak helps me drop off. “If I’m going to listen to a voice each night,” I eventually thought, “then I might as well absorb good content while I’m at it.”
So I started listening to Tara Brach – psychologist and meditation teacher, prolific podcaster – each night. Eventually her wisdom and gentleness began to seep into my waking life. I’d run into an anxious moment and, unbidden, her words would come to me: “May this serve the awakening of my heart.” I began practising her meditations. I cultivated an increasing ease with the present moment and with the often restless aliveness of my own body.
And so, being told that my podcast helps people sleep feels like a supreme compliment. I know from my own experience that we are at our most receptive just as we’re dropping into slumber. I know that modern life is rushed and often anxiety-inducing, and offering a small antidote to that feels like a deep honour.
From this came the idea to devote an entire podcast to gentleness.
And at the same time, to provide a platform for budding storytellers.
The idea behind The Storytelling Collective is simple: You send me your story, I read it. And perhaps people use it to fall asleep, or simply to accompany them through their days, transported into the worlds we have created.
I don’t know every detail of how this will play out yet. I know that I’d like to keep my scope as wide as possible: While gentleness is the theme, I don’t think stories need be limited to sweet little fluff pieces. I think that it is possible to tell a gripping tale AND soothe the listener. I think that social commentary, and tales of personal heartache and longing, and epic folktales, belong on this podcast just as much as cheerful bedtime stories do (and perhaps more so).
I would like to include many voices on this podcast. Many ways of seeing, many ways of being. I’d like to collaborate with writers from different genres and paths to create a varied, flavourful anthology of story.
If this speaks to you, then I invite you to send me your tale(s). Let’s make something beautiful.
P.S. For an idea of how your story might sound as read by me, you can listen to my other podcast, Case Files of a Fool for Love. On #7 Do Not Avert Your Eyes, I end the episode by reading some of my own writing, which serves as good illustration of how I read.
See “Submissions” for more information on the story submission process. Both fiction and non-fiction are welcome.