A teaser of things to come, featuring a conversation with host Jasper Nighthawk's grandmother, the sound of his purring cat, and the very first Lightplay bendiction.
To subscribe to the email version of Lightplay, visit jaspernighthawk.com/writers-diary. You can also read back-issues of the newsletter there.
Find Jasper's other podcast, The Seed Field Podcast, at theseedfield.simplecast.com
Hi, I'm Jasper Nighthawk and I'm a writer. I write for my day job, I write for my side hustle, and when I want to blow off some steam and have some fun, I write. But I've got a dirty secret. I really love audio. Sometimes I'd rather pick up the phone than write another email. And when I'm out in the world, I often want to put down my book and just shut up and listen to the wind.
So here I am. I'm recording myself, talking. Alone in a room. And I kind of like it. I don't just record myself these days. Sometimes I carry a big microphone around, or if I don't have that, I just pull out my phone. And try to capture the moments like when the sun is down and I'm up in the hills and I hear.
[Sound of birdsong.]
Or I'll be walking into a drugstore and the fan over their automatic sliding door sounds like.
[Sound of a rattling fan.]
I don't know why I like that decaying fan noise or why I insisted on holding my phone up to it until the other people walking into the store were giving me dirty looks. I just, I guess I love sound.
There's this thing, children ask each other. They say, if you had to give up one sense, what would it be? As an adult looking at that, I think the question itself is a little bit abelist like other kids might already be living without one or more senses. But I don't know, The question is still one I want to ponder just because it, it forces you to confront the frailty of life.
So when other kids asked me, "Jasper, if you had to give up one sense, what would it be?" I always felt dread, like there was no good answer. But the one thing that was clear to me was I never wanted to lose my hearing. Like for me, what is pleasure if not listening to my cat purr.
[Sound of cat purring.]
Or listening to the coffee gargle out of my mocha pot.
[Sound of coffee liquid pouring and them steam hissing]
Jasper 2:24: But really most of all, I love voices. The sound of words, coming through someone's vocal cords, out through their mouth. The tongue, the shape of their mouth. All trying to communicate something to someone else.
It's like this dance that we do when we talk with someone and try to understand them. It's way more than what we get reading words on a page.
One of the people who I've loved talking with the most in my life is my grandma Mimi. In her last years, she had dementia, and a conversation with her wasn't really rational anymore. It was, it was more like a surrealist parlor game. And yet it was still a conversation. Even when she mistook a bush for a stallion.
It looks to me like there's a, a a horse, on the stare.
Maybe those bushes look like a horse.
Would that be.
It could be. You ever ride a horse?
Yeah, but they, they kind of scare me.
Where's that smoke blowing in from?
Oh yeah. We're having fog in England.
Anytime we get to have a conversation, there's the possibility of the unexpected and there's this chance to play. We are having fog in England. Sure. Why not? Let's go from there.
I love conversation so much that, for my day job, I already get to host a podcast. It's called the Seed Field Podcast. And in it, I interview professors and other experts from Antioch University about issues, largely relating to social justice.
You can go check it out if you're interested. I'm really proud of what we do there.
But doing that work has only made me more excited about the possibilities of audio. That's why today I'm launching this podcast. It's going to be much more personal and it's called Lightplay. I'm going to use this space to record audio versions of my essays, to interview people who are doing interesting work that I want to learn more about, and maybe what I'm most excited for, I want to use this space to produce my own audio stories. You know, that kind of thing that you hear on the radio, where, when they mention a bird call, then you hear the actual bird call just one second later.
[Sound of birds or insects chirping]
Lightplay, this podcast, is an outgrowth of another thing that's also called Lightplay: my email newsletter, which is now five years old.
That's a long time on the internet. And I think it's about time for it to grow this new limb, this new way for people to read these words, consume these essays, and discover them. So the way this works is I'm going to be crossposting basically everything. So if you already receive this as a newsletter or you prefer to read things than to listen to them, you can just keep doing it that way. Go subscribe to Lightplay the newsletter. There's a link in the show notes for this episode. But if you prefer to listen to this in audio form, hit the subscribe button and I will do the rest.
I don't think you'll be missing that much by listening to it over here, though, for some of my essays, if you want to see photographs and read recipes, you may want to consult the print version. As before you'll always be able to find each piece archived on my website, jaspernighthawk.com and I'll always link to it in the show notes.
So that's Lightplay, my new podcast. I hope to catch you next week with our first full episode, I think it's going to be called taco story and it features an essay about my family's love of tacos.
But for now, I want to close with a Lightplay benediction. When the world seems too much, light a candle and watch it dance.