Shannon Cason is a master storyteller — seen on Snap Judgment, TEDx, and The Moth stages to name a few — and is the host of the podcast Homemade Stories. In his words, he’s also a late bloomer, and with his trademark wit, wisdom, and incredible sense of timing, he shares how the right perspective can turn life’s rough patches into life-changing art.
Shannon Cason is a master storyteller — seen on Snap Judgment, TEDx, and The Moth stages to name a few — and is the host of the podcast Homemade Stories. In his words, he’s also a late bloomer, and with his trademark wit, wisdom, and incredible sense of timing, he shares how the right perspective can turn life’s rough patches into life-changing art.
Check out Shannon’s website.
Watch his story Late Bloomer.
Don’t miss My Father’s Camera.
Learn from his TEDx talk.
And subscribe to his podcast Homemade Stories.
Listen to Aaron Calafato’s 7 Minute Stories.
Here’s some sWooZie too!
Check out Story Club Chicago.
And listen to the Tuesday song!
Tricia: [00:00:03] Hey there. I’m Tricia Rose Burt, and I want to ask you a question. What creative work are you called to do but are too afraid to try? Are you in IT but dream of doing stand up? A PR exec who longs to write a screenplay. Did you change your priorities and now you want to leave your fully funded PhD/MD program and go to New Mexico and paint? Or maybe you’re like I was in my early career, trapped in a lucrative, but soul crushing corporate job when what I really wanted to do was tell stories on stage. In this podcast, we’ll hear from artists who took unexpected leaps and found the courage to answer their creative call so we can inspire you to answer yours. This is No Time to be Timid. [00:00:49][46.3]
Tricia: [00:00:50] Welcome to the show. In this episode, we talk with Shannon Cason, one of the best storytellers I’ve ever heard — and I’ve heard a lot of storytellers — and host of the podcast Homemade Stories. Shannon is a master of the craft and he’s been on some of the most exciting stages — Snap Judgment, Ted X, and of course, The Moth, where he and I shared a stage back in 2016. I’ve been following him and his work ever since, and I just couldn’t wait to bring him on the show. I asked Shannon what he thought was the most important trait in sustaining a creative practice, and he said perspective — the attitude a person brings to their work and their life and how they handle the rough patches that come their way. And Shannon has had his fair share of rough patches, but with incredible wit and wisdom, he’s turned them into works of art that continue to change people’s lives. I’m so delighted you’re tuning in. [00:01:53][62.5]
Tricia: [00:01:53] Hey, Shannon. It’s so great to have you on the show. [00:02:02][9.5]
Shannon: [00:02:03] I’m glad to be here. Glad to talk to you all the time. So good to hear from you. [00:02:08][4.8]
Tricia: [00:02:10] Okay. So I have been listening to all things Shannon Cason to prepare for this show, which has just been a complete and total delight. And it’s all I can do not to just run the whole story, but you have a piece called Late Bloomer that you put on YouTube. And I’m going to do a quote from Late Bloomer, and then I want you to expound on it a bit. [00:02:37][27.0]
Shannon: [00:02:39] My creative life didn’t start to my mid-thirties either. The seed was planted early, but it was in a small flower pot and it wasn’t until I was replanted into the bigger garden of Chicago that I really grew roots and sprang up out of the ground and I’m still growing even though it is late. That’s why I always encourage young people to go do something somewhere else as early as possible. Get away from home. Don’t wait. Start early. [00:03:10][30.9]
Tricia: [00:03:12] I really encourage all of my listeners to go to Shannon Cason’s YouTube page. There are things that get flashed up in the middle of watching the YouTube story and in the middle of the Late Bloomer story, there’s a list of everyone who did things later in life, and at the end it was like Abraham and Sarah had a baby really, really old, which just let me crack up laughing. It was very funny. As someone who didn’t get in creative work until I was in my mid-thirties as well. I just wanted you to talk a little bit about how you even got into storytelling in the first place. [00:03:49][37.3]
Shannon: [00:03:50] I’m from Detroit originally, so it’s like amazing creativity in Detroit, from music to, you know, arts to, you know, all kinds of different creativity. Because I think where you see a lot of struggle, you see creativity as well, you know, because the human spirit got to get out in some way. You know, if it’s if it’s some struggle, it’s gonna get out in a whole lot of different ways. So Detroit, Motown, I mean, going way back, you know, to gospel and all those things. Some of the greatest artists, I mean, a lot of different areas, but you see certain hotbeds around the country and Detroit is definitely a hotbed of creativity. And for me, Detroit was the creative heart of everything I do. Like that’s where my creativity kind of sprang from. The times in Detroit, living with grandma and seeing my dad and mom and sister and all that kind of stuff. But then when you’re in something it’s hard to kind of like express it in a way. So when I moved to Chicago and we can get into, you know, the all the different intricate stuff to go into that move, but at the same time, when I moved here in Chicago, I didn’t feel constrained by just my life. You know, it was like more so like, okay, this is a time to share what I’ve been through. And Chicago has so many different spaces to do it. Like Chicago is like the incubator city where comedy, improv, even storytelling and all these things literary. You know, people come to Chicago and they kind of become the artists that they’re going to be before they go to New York or L.A. So a lot of comedians come. They spend their time in Chicago kind of growing, and then they go to New York and L.A. and they spring up. But for me, Chicago was like a space where, dang, I can I can be I can be artistic. In Detroit is like the work of life. In Chicago was more like the Oh, I can show what I’ve worked on. Yeah. [00:06:08][137.9]
Tricia: [00:06:09] One of the first stories of yours I ever heard was you telling the story “It’s like Borrowing” about when you were a bank manager and had a little hiccup at the bank. I’m going to let you tell about that experience and then say how you got on stage telling that story. [00:06:25][16.2]
Shannon: [00:06:26] Yeah, well, okay, so like I say, Detroit was like the work of life. So, gambling addiction. I always had it when I was young from back when I was in high school. We would flip quarters or pitch them against a wall and stuff like that, and I would be really into it. We would shoot craps. In college, I went to Michigan State University and we would lose a lot of money. I mean, a lot, you know, relatively to us. If you lose $200 and you’re a college student, that might have been your check for the whole week. You know, that gambling addiction for me was was kind of held at bay for a while while I was really heavily involved in the church that I was in. But then when I kind of left the church, for whatever reason, I ended up going back to gambling and I worked at a bank. So working at a bank and gambling is not the best, not the best mixture. Me being a manager at the bank, you know, with all this access to a lot of money. What it was was a lascivious thought. Lasciviousness is when you let your mind just go unrestrained. And I let my mind go unrestrained, thinking about the money in the vault. And I was like, I can just play around with this money, it’s not, you know, and eventually those thoughts become reality. So I’ll always watch my thoughts on certain things. And I took $50,000 and I lost it at the casino during my lunch hour in Detroit. That was going to changing point in my life because I was always kind of a good, you know, the good kid, the kid who got good grades, graduated college, the first one in my family and all these other things, you know, so being in trouble for embezzlement was huge, you know. Now, the thing with storytelling, when I got into storytelling, like all these experiences in life, that experience, divorce experiences, you know, experiences that coming up and how we grew up, I allowed myself the creative freedom just to be honest. I call it brutally honest, being brutally honest about myself, being vulnerable about those stories. It takes time to tell a story like that because you have to think and you have to adjust and think like, okay, if I tell this story pretty much commits you to the arts because you can’t really take the story back, you know. [00:09:06][159.5]
Tricia: [00:09:08] You’re not going to go into retail banking after that. [00:09:10][1.7]
Shannon: [00:09:10] Yeah, you’re not going back into banking again or investing and nothing like that. So the thing is, I told the story and really the intention in telling the story was helping others. So having an intention behind the story of letting others know that they are not alone because I did lose a friend, I don’t know if it was to gambling, but also I know the feelings and thoughts that I had during that time frame, thinking that life is over and it’s not. It wasn’t at all. So yeah. [00:09:38][28.1]
Tricia: [00:09:39] So, but when was the first time you got on a stage to tell a story? [00:09:43][3.5]
Shannon: [00:09:44] First time I got on stage to tell a story would have been at the Martin Luther King Library at I think is 40, 45th on Michigan Avenue and 45th and in Chicago. And they had like a writers program and I wrote a story and I read it and I kind of liked it. I like doing that. Other than that, I may have told stories back when I was a kid and stuff like that, but that was the first, like modern time and telling stories. [00:10:12][28.7]
Tricia: [00:10:14] Yeah, but now you what you do for a living is you’re a storyteller. Well, in addition to running a podcast and workshops and everything else that you do, but really, that’s who you are. But I want to know, like, what did it feel like the very first time to be brave enough to step up and say, I’m going to tell the story? And what story did you tell? [00:10:36][21.4]
Shannon: [00:10:37] I had moved to the north side of Chicago and it was this…they had a these little, like I say, Chicago. It’s like an incubator city. They have all these little spastic storytelling, improv comedy, you know, literary scene, all these different scenes, poetry, you know. SLAM Poetry was started here. So all these things going on. And this one lady named Dana Norris, she had a thing called Story Club. But I remember I saw it, me and my girlfriend at the time, was walking and I saw this little flier says, Story Club. People reading their writing and I started writing these stories. So I went to that and I had a story called My Father’s Camera. It was a gictional story basically. Now it reads like it’s a true story. And at the end, I’m on the south side of Chicago in a neighborhood. And I’m taking pictures of people and somebody comes up to me and say, you know, why are you taking pictures over here? You know, kind of like in my face. And that’s the end of the story. So and I still tell that story to this day. Like, that’s one of my first stories and I still tell that story. [00:11:46][69.2]
Shannon: [00:11:47] My father left me his camera. It was in a boxy aluminum case with two latches in the front that locked. It also had latches on the side that didn’t lock. To unlock it, you have to get your fingernail under it the little notches of the combination will then flick them to seven and seven and one more, seven. Then get your fingers under the levers and pull. Then the latches would loosen and you could open it. The side levers — just get your fingers under those. No combination. [00:12:18][31.0]
Tricia: [00:12:20] I love the whole idea of just, you know, being mid-thirties and jumping in and seeing a flier and just going to it. If you had ignored that thing in the inside of you that said, Go tell that story, we would all be worse off but you in particular. Did it occur to you not to answer that flier? Do you think like did you think twice oh maybe I won’t or were you like, finally, thank Jesus, I can go up and start telling a story now. [00:12:43][23.2]
Shannon: [00:12:44] I had attitude, right? So I had attitude to what I do. And it comes from playing sports. It comes from like in Detroit, I was big into the hip hop community. So all these things is the attitude that I approach it with. So when I was telling that story, like the first story’s the first, My Father’s Camera, when I go on stage or, you know, coffeeshop microphone, it’s almost as though I was meant to be there. I always looked at comedians like open mic comedians, and I did, I tried comedy for a little bit, but they would be looking at the feet or looking at the paper or a little nervous. I’m not saying I don’t feel nerves, but if I’m going to do it, you know, I’m all in. You get what I’m saying? And that’s just how I am, all in, and I took $50,000. If I’m going to do it. Hey, why take a thousand? Just grab it all out of the safe. So I’m more like, Oh, you know, it was funny because the first time I told a story at Dana Norris’s Story Club, and we’re good friends now. I went up there and she thought I was, she thought I was somebody, you know? She’s like, Well, can I get you back to come back to the Story Club? I’m like, what is my first time telling this story. But I’m going with that kind of demeanor when I’m doing that thing. And I just I just always looked at that and I said, Why would a person looking at their feet, why don’t they just just do it instead of pulling back? You know, so I’ve always kind of had that that attitude. [00:14:34][110.2]
Tricia: [00:14:36] I, I love that, I meant to be here, you know? And I think that’s such an interesting way to navigate to say I’m, even if I’m…Just like you were brand new doing this was like, I’m supposed to be doing this. I’m supposed to stand up here and tell the story, you know? And I think it’s really powerful not to wait for permission and go all in. I mean, it’s really a powerful thing for our listeners to hear, particularly those who are just trying to get their self going with it. And those of us who are trying to get into a new medium or something like that, just go all in and do it. So tell me a little bit about your creative process. When you want to make something and what does it look like for you? [00:15:15][39.5]
Shannon: [00:15:17] You know, I think some things are are gifts and some things are learned or it’s a mixture of all of it. For me, I do have a good memory of feelings and I feel those things. You know, I trust the feelings that I had during certain moments in my life when I woke up as a kid and my mom and dad were arguing and I’m yelling at my dad to leave my mom alone, you know, I can see those things and I can feel them and I can put them in paper. So those are one of the things that I think kind of just is a gift. And what I do to kind of find those stories is just remember those moments. And in a lot of times, those moments that come back to me on certain things like it would be a serendipitous thing or, or déja vu, like I’ll see something and it will remind me. And I say, Oh, talk about where my mom broke her arm at my baptism, you know, and all the details that kind of went into that. And one of the things that I know will happen will be someone else will remember these moments in their life, because a lot of those things are relatable and we’ve all had some experiences that are that are similar. You know, they’re not the same, but they’re very similar. Relationship wise, feeling wise, the expressions, the things we feel on the inside. And I’ll just try to explain them honestly from my point of view. But my intention is for others to kind of go into their mind and think about the experiences that they had as well that may be similar to that, you know. [00:17:07][109.8]
Tricia: [00:17:08] As we all know, the more specific you get, the more universal the story becomes. And it’s like you just hit that out of the park every time, Shannon. [00:17:14][6.3]
Shannon: [00:17:15] That means alot. That means alot. [00:17:15][0.0]
Tricia: [00:17:15] Every time. [00:17:15][0.3]
Shannon: [00:17:16] But I do know that that’s definitely something that I hone in on and I respect like my own intuition and I respect my experiences that I’m going through and I try to be honest with myself about it. What am I truly feeling? If I’m disgusted tell that, you know, because I think that honesty will shine through more than me just saying what I think everybody wants to hear. You know, like, if you’re going through a divorce and and the other person’s bad and I’m the good one. But no, if I can tell the story, if if I really feel like I’m the bad one, I’m just kind of. [00:17:59][43.4]
Tricia: [00:18:00] Yeah. [00:18:00][0.0]
Shannon: [00:18:01] Tell that story, you know, And people may not like you in the story, but if we be honest with ourselves as the listener, as the audience, as whoever, you know, you’ll be like, you know, I’ve done some bad things too. Or I can relate to that feeling of wanting to be a better father, a better husband, those things, you know? [00:18:21][19.8]
Tricia: [00:18:21] Yeah. Oh, yeah. So I would encourage all of our listeners to look at your TEDx talk, you know, which is really kind of underscoring what you’re talking about right now. It’s called A Simple and Honest Story. And it’s it’s a really fantastic, sort of overview, of what makes a story good and why you would tell a story in the first place. It’s that vulnerability. [00:18:42][20.5]
Shannon: [00:18:43] This is the most important point I make, is if you’re struggling in life and somebody here is. If you feel like you’re failing that everything, you can’t win for losing, your honesty about it may be your way out. The bigger your failures, the better your story. Now, if you can harness and channel that story, it could affect millions, possibly change your life, maybe even change the world. [00:19:17][33.7]
Tricia: [00:19:25] We’ll get back to the second half of our conversation in a moment, but right now, I want to tell you about our sponsor Interabang Books, a Dallas-based independent bookstore with a terrific online collection. At Interabang, they’re dedicated staff of book enthusiasts will guide you on your search for knowledge and the excitement of discovery. Shop their curated collection online at interabangbooks.com. That’s interabangbooks.com. [00:19:50][24.7]
Tricia: [00:20:05] Well, what’s interesting is you have a very interesting blend, Shannon, of just being so vulnerable. But there’s humor that gets laced through your stories as well, which can kind of be a reprieve, you know, when you’re in that space of profundity. Do you write your thoughts on a notebook? Do you come home and put them all on a computer or do you just keep them in your head? Like, what does that look like for you? [00:20:28][23.2]
Shannon: [00:20:29] Yeah, Creative process. I use the same notebook, the same pens that I use for everything. Yeah. And then I use my phone a lot, my notes in my phone, because ideas will come as I’m kind of going through life and normal things even when I’m hanging out with different people. But I’ll take a note just to remember to jog my memory. And I keep a file in my notes, you know, called ideas. And I’ll just sometimes I’ll go to those or they’ll be nagging me, you know, I’ll write it from there. I’ve started writing stuff on my whiteboard as well, like stories that I may want to work on at some point. So I do keep a lot of notes. It’s not any kind of, well, it may be organized is organized for me from my standpoint. And everything I do is I like a list. I’m a list person. You know, I use lists pretty much in every single way possible, even with my storytelling, my creativity, stories. I’ll start the story with outlines. I used to just start a story, but I noticed that those were it take so long to write, but if I outline it, which can be a rough outline of saying, you know, my dad, I get my dad’s camera, I try to play around with some ideas, I put the camera away, I go around the city and it ends on the south side of Chicago. You know, I would just kind of outline those five things and then I’ll see where that story takes me from the outline. So I do I do outline as well. And that’s that’s my process. [00:22:11][102.5]
Tricia: [00:22:12] When you’re on stage, do you memorize anything or are you just riffing? [00:22:16][3.4]
Shannon: [00:22:18] Everything is memorized to the tee. [00:22:20][2.4]
Tricia: [00:22:21] Yeah. [00:22:21][0.0]
Shannon: [00:22:21] So in there, memorization is…I have a process for that. So I’ll read the story. I’ll try to tell the story into the microphone and then listen to it on the microphone. In this, the one thing that I do, I know I had a story if I can write the story out, now that depends on how long it is. I remember you like you listen to that TEDx. I was writing that story down or the TEDx down, the whole speech, writing it, you know, longhand in my notebook and just writing it all out right before I had to go on stage, I was trying to finish it because I know if I can write it, I got it. It’s in my head. Yeah. And once I have it totally memorized, now I can play around with the audience a little bit, especially if I’m doing it the second or third time, because I do audience participation. So I will go off script and play with the audience and then go back on script. So I love to have it totally memorized in that way. [00:23:24][62.9]
Tricia: [00:23:25] I do the same thing. I have it in my DNA. If a story’s in my DNA, then I can just do whatever I want to it when I’m on stage and respond better to the audience. [00:23:33][8.6]
Shannon: [00:23:34] No doubt. But I say this like I look at stories as as songs so because I used to do hip hop. So we used to put out these a thousand different demo songs together in basements and in Detroit in the nineties, you know, late, late eighties to, to, to the late nineties and even into 2000. So we would do all these songs and you wanted to move to the song, you know. The culture then was the Hip Hop Shop, St. Andrews, these kind of like iconic places now. You know, Eminem made movies about it, people making TV shows about J Dilla and his legacy and hip hop. So all these things were like, these were the people who I was kind of coming up around and we were seeing each other doing the hip hop thing. So when I do music, you got to memorize a rhyme, right? So you memorize a rhyme, and when you say the rhyme, you don’t say it as though a memorized rhyme. You know, you say to rhyme from your heart and from your spirit and from a certain attitude that you may have with it. So in the same way I did that I do my stories, I memorize the story. But when I’m saying the story, I’m not saying I’m saying it with timing. You know, I’ve always I’ve heard some things about my timing, but that’s from music, you know. So those things all come along with with that that training in hip hop as well. [00:25:11][96.8]
Tricia: [00:25:12] Okay. This is a fantastic segway into what you’re doing on YouTube right now. You know, I can get really, like, nervous about adopting new media. I mean, you’re the one that held my hand and said, Go to the podcast convention. Tricia, go to the podcast convention, because I’m like, Do I do that now? I mean, so you are so integral in helping me just feel more comfortable and doing this as a medium. But you have this great quote: Don’t let these young’uns get too far away from us. Plug in to the new stuff or the latest stuff. And I just cracked up was like, You’re right. You know, you were right. For a lot of us, it’s like, seems so unreachable. Talk about how you finally stepped into that world of saying, okay, yeah, I’m going to like, get on TikTok, I’m going to do these stories and like, talk about that. [00:26:02][49.4]
Shannon: [00:26:02] Can’t let everything get so far away from us and we got to kind of stay with the now. We don’t want to be too we don’t want to be the ones wearing, I mean, pleated pants might be back in somewhere, but we don’t want to be the one doing stuff from the standpoint of being, you know, dinosaurs in a sense. So so when I look at things like TikTok and I wish, you know, it’s always 20, 20, you know, I wish I was looking at what my daughter was doing there probably. But I always thought that’s for my that’s for the kids, you know? But the one thing is, was just finding my lane within it. So because I know I’m not going to be dancing and I’m not going to be doing too many, like weird things, if I can find a way to do storytelling within these platforms. And I saw a friend of mine named Aaron Calafato, right? He does a podcast called 7 Minutes Stories, and he had been playing around with YouTube and Instagram and these things. And then one day I would look at his thing and it had like a it had like 700,000 views on one of his shorts, and it was just him telling a story about his granddad wanting dandelion salad at a restaurant and remembering that his mother used to make that when they didn’t have much money, they’d go out in the yard and pick dandelions and they’d cook them and they had dandelion salad or something like that. And it 700,000 became 2 million and 2 million became 6 million. And then it was 10 million. And then it kept going and it was 15 million people had saw that simple little one minute story about his granddad. And I was like, I can do that. Yeah, yeah. If he’s telling stories, I don’t have to dance. I was like, he got 15 million from stories. And I told him, I said, Hey, because actually he followed a lot of my stories. So I was like, Hey, I’m gonna follow your lead in this. And he was like, Have at it Shannon, you know, I appreciate your stories. So I started telling like the one minute stories and I saw traction within those. In telling one minute stories, I like the the economy of it. You know, if we love writing and storytelling and we find it a challenge to have economy of words. So using that that love of writing and literature, I just I have that kind of mindset to the TikToks and the Instagram reels and YouTube shorts. And then I want to broaden that to be able to bring the stories that we tell on on stage and then on our podcast to take those stories to the YouTube audience as well. And I’m still I’m still tweaking it and learning, but I know it to grow because the stories, like we said earlier on, they are universal and they will, you know, and it’s a lot of storytelling I like, I’ll listen, I’ll watch sWooZie. sWooZie has I think you got probably 10 million subscribers, but he tells stories and little cartoons that go along with them. But storytelling lives on YouTube and on these platforms as well. [00:29:23][201.1]
Tricia: [00:29:24] How did you come up with I’m going to do a one minute story about what day of the week you would be, and I’m going to be a Tuesday and explain why you’re not the other days of the week. It’s brilliant. [00:29:34][9.7]
Shannon: [00:29:36] I think every, all of our ideas are kind of like appropriation, like we we can take them from somewhere else. Yeah. So you say you were painting in the past some of the things or you still paint probably. But some of the things you painted at the time in school are stories, right? So, so you can kind of take some of the old stuff and make it newer again. [00:30:00][24.2]
Tricia: [00:30:01] Yeah. [00:30:01][0.0]
Shannon: [00:30:01] You know, like I haven’t told my gambling story on YouTube yet, but it eventually becomes something on YouTube, you know, if it’s a series. I haven’t told well, I told some of my church stories, but I’ll think of those and I say, okay, let me do a series on those or some of the music stories and want to do a series on those. So the Tuesday story, I’ve always just thought that, like I’ve always liked Tuesdays. Like Fridays and Saturdays, I always felt too much nervous energy. I’m an introvert. I’m kind of like, you know, I don’t I don’t like any any anxiousness. The anxiety bothered me on certain things. So I’m like, Oh, it’s Friday night, you know, you got to go crazy. I’m like, Yeah, but Tuesdays and it’s this song like “It’s Going up on a Tuesday” with Drake and all that kind of stuff. So I relate to that song. I’m like, if I go out on a Tuesday, I can walk around. If I’m going to a party or something is not as it is not as crowded as a Friday or Saturday. It’s more my vibe. This is more the loungy, chill Tuesday. It’s not Monday, Monday sucks. So you know, it’s Tuesday. [00:31:12][70.5]
Shannon: [00:31:14] Tuesday. Okay. [00:31:14][0.6]
Shannon: [00:31:15] I like tacos. So so when I think about Tuesday, I’m thinking like, that’s a good day. And then striving to be a Thursday, one day, Thursday, Thursday’s are special. [00:31:25][9.7]
Tricia: [00:31:27] Yeah. [00:31:27][0.0]
Shannon: [00:31:27] Yeah. Striving to be a Thursday. [00:31:28][1.4]
Tricia: [00:31:30] What I love about the work you do is it’s so based in the every day. The stories become profound, but they’re really about just like what I’m what I’m looking at every day. That’s why that Late Bloomer story was so beautiful, because you were watching this man tend to this garden, and it becomes this obvious metaphor, but it was just the details of the every day of watching this man work. So I think that that’s as an artist…I don’t have to wait for this gigantic lightning bolt of an idea. I just have to look at what’s in front of me. And then just and just notice, I just need to notice, you know, and all of us, if we’re wondering how to get started. Just notice, you know, that’s. And that’s what you’re masterful at. [00:32:24][54.1]
Shannon: [00:32:25] No, no, that’s a great point there to notice. Yeah, I love that. Mm hmm. [00:32:29][3.9]
Tricia: [00:32:29] Okay. So, Shannon, tell me, how do you get through those rough patches? You know, how do you keep yourself fueled to keep going? [00:32:34][5.1]
Shannon: [00:32:35] For me, the rough patches are the actual fuel. You know that that is the the raw material for storytelling. The hard things of life. Nobody wants to hear everything went perfect. And I made it. And now we’re closing in on 10 million and. [00:33:07][32.1]
Tricia: [00:33:08] Yeah. [00:33:08][0.0]
Shannon: [00:33:08] And there’s no cares in the world even with this. I mean, you can have a lot and its rough patches. You get what I’m saying? So it’s like those are the things that fuel stories for me. When I see, not saying things go bad, but when I when I see like challenges, when I see heartbreak or man, dating is different when you’re older now and you’ve been divorced two times and you got two kids and and, you know, explaining what you do for work may be interesting. You don’t want to really talk about that. Those are the things that make good storytelling for me because I know I’m not the only one in that predicament. And when I do a story on it, I know I’m not going or somebody is going to relate to it or it’s going to explain some kind of life that somebody else isn’t living. They may aspire to or they may hope that they never fall into. You know, so so those are the things like those challenges are the things that make good stories for me. Like, that’s the thing that I’m looking for. If I just stay in my house and nothing happens, really, it’s hard to find stories in that even though there might be a story in that as well. But I like the challenges in a sense. I like those trying times. And that’s what I find, too, when I’m interviewing, like I do interviews and I try to, why I create podcasts for other companies or organizations and when I’m doing that, I want that out of the person that I’m interviewing. Yeah. I want to find out what challenges they have. Like, a lot of times people have answers that they’re used to giving and they want to, you know, promote their business. But I’m trying to find those things where, is this the tenth business? Yeah. [00:35:15][126.6]
Tricia: [00:35:16] Yeah. [00:35:16][0.0]
Shannon: [00:35:16] And that, I think, is more interesting then we’re closing in on a billion this year. You know, I think to be in the tenth business is more interesting. And then when you hear that closing in on a billion it’s like, Wow. And the person who’s in that second business, they can listen to it and be like, Oh. You know? Yeah. I’m on the road. I’m on the road. [00:35:43][26.5]
Tricia: [00:35:43] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, this is one of the things we’re trying to do with this podcast is say, you know, we all didn’t just come out of the womb being artists, and we know exactly what we’re doing, and it’s such a clear road ahead of us, you know? It’s like, you know, there’s a lot of uncertainty in this. And we’re just we’re just this is how we make it happen and this is what we do. And and, you know, anything is material and we turn it into a story and put it back out there. What are you working on right now that scares you? [00:36:11][28.5]
Shannon: [00:36:12] I’m leaning into Homemade Stories thinking that I have to do something different. You know, Homemade Stories, I started back in 2010 and that’s been over 13 years now. So I’m leaning into that instead of doing a bunch of other different things because I had had ideas that I have to do switch it up or I have to become a crime fiction podcast or, you know, do these other true crime stuff, you know. But I’m leaning into the into the Homemade Stories. So with YouTube those, those reels that you’re seeing also being more consistent with my podcast. I get a lot of interest from the podcast. Like people are, like it has a, it has a small cult following in that sense. But at the same time I get a lot of different business from it as well. So just leaning into the podcast and into the brutally honest storytelling, that’s been my focus and consistency is the thing that there probably scares me more than anything, just being consistent instead of oh, so, so haphazard. Just sticking to a system and staying on schedule is the thing that I’m really working on. [00:37:29][76.7]
Tricia: [00:37:29] Man, you and me both. I mean, it’s, it is because the good news is we’re artists and we’re in charge of our time. And the bad news is we’re artists and we’re in charge of our time. [00:37:38][8.4]
Shannon: [00:37:39] Exactly. [00:37:39][0.0]
Tricia: [00:37:40] I just love your stories. I just love your stories and I love the work that you’re doing. There’s not only a sense of recognition in your stories, but there also feels like healing in them and hope in them. And that’s that’s a good thing to be putting out in the world these days. [00:38:00][19.9]
Shannon: [00:38:01] That’s a beautiful thing to hear. Because that’s the intention. Good. That’s. That’s the intention. In the same with you. I do feel like a friendship. And I’m happy that a friendship that we have together, that we can talk about creative things. And it’s like this is like an understanding, someone who understands because we haven’t, you know, from the sense of whatever hit it big means — I don’t know what the hit it big things mean, but sometimes I just feel like I’m doing what I’m meant to do and everything else will take care of itself in some ways. Now, not saying that I don’t have to, you know, step one, step two, step three. But at the same time, I do feel like I’m in the right spot. So when I wrote that story, Late Bloomer, I’ve been that way forever. It wasn’t, it’s not something new. When I was six years old, I may have been later then some of the things that other six year olds were at. So as a storyteller, you know, at 47 I feel like, Oh, I’m right in my stride. I’m still growing. And I’m I feel like I’m, you know, right at the point I’m supposed to be in certain ways, you know, of course. But I feel like we relate in a lot of ways. And then our creative conversations always, always fuel me. And I love our differences and I love our similarities as well. I think that that’s a beautiful thing. [00:39:33][91.6]
Tricia: [00:39:33] Yeah. Same here. The common ground. I tell you, creativity gives you all kinds of common ground. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for being on the show, Shannon. We’re going to have to have you back to get an update. But thank you so much for coming. [00:39:46][12.6]
Shannon: [00:39:46] Most definitely. Most definitely. I love being here. [00:39:48][1.9]
Tricia: [00:39:49] Great. Thanks. [00:39:50][0.6]
Tricia: [00:40:10] I could spend hours talking and listening to Shannon. He inspires me and he leaves me with a better perspective on my work and my life. He also gets me thinking. Here are some questions for us to ponder: First, what’s your attitude when you approach your work? Are you looking at your feet or are you all in? Second, what are everyday things that you notice that might inform your work? And last, how do you handle the rough patches? Can they be fuel for your creative life? Make sure to check out the show notes for links to some of Shannon’s stories and follow him on Instagram and YouTube @shannoncason. Subscribe to his podcast too, Homemade Stories. [00:40:56][46.5]
Tricia: [00:40:56] If you haven’t had a chance to download the No Time to be Timid manifesto yet, make sure to visit my website, triciaroseburt.com. While you’re there, please reach out and give us some feedback about the show. We’d love to hear your thoughts. And I’m excited to announce a live virtual workshop I’ll be conducting on Thursday, June 29th. No Time to be Timid’s Kickstart your Summer Creativity. Many people begin this summer with big plans for a creative project but never manage to get started to see their idea through. Don’t regret the work you might have done. Instead, feel the rush that comes from doing it. In this two-part live workshop we’ll identify a realistic, creative goal for this summer, the steps you need to take to make it happen, and how to overcome the obstacles that may appear. You’ll receive motivational emails in mid-July and mid-August, and you’ll have accountability, too, because we’ll meet again right before Labor Day to review our progress. For more information, go to my website, triciaroseburt.com/notimetobetimid. And make sure to follow me on Instagram and other social media sites @triciaroseburt. Please join us for episode three with Perri Howard, painter, sculptor and sound artist whose creative journey has taken her not only around the world, but also deep within. She shares some terrific insight on how to sustain a creative life. Make sure to tune in and remember, this is no time to be timid. No Time to Be timid is written and produced by me, Tricia Rose Burt, and our sound engineer is Adam Arnone of Echo Finch. Many thanks to Mia Rovegno, who provided creative direction for season two. If you like what you hear, please spread the word, subscribe to the show, and review us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen. No Time to be Timid is a presentation of I Will be Good Productions. [00:40:56][0.0]