Overview: After an 18-month hiatus, Adam Williams is back with new episodes on the Humanitou podcast. In this short solo episode (Ep. 122), he talks about what was going on during that time and about the lifeline that drew him back to the podcast, and all his creative work. (Released on podcast on Jan. 13, 2023)
EP 122 SHOW NOTES, LINKS & TRANSCRIPT
Podcast cover art: Adam Williams
“Old Rope” by Joe Johnson | joejohnsonsings.com
Original Written Version
Humanitou is dead. Long live Humanitou.
I’ve been on hiatus from the Humanitou podcast since the summer of 2021.
After more than four years of publishing conversations on the Humanitou website, in one form (text) or another (audio), and of wearing all the hats imaginable with such an endeavor …
And having lived in isolation with my wife and sons virtually 24/7 for well more than a year and counting at that time during a seemingly endless pandemic, which, it would turn out, was (is) still not over …
I took the break that was inevitable. Indefinitely. Starting in July 2021. At that time, I’d moved with my family from Manitou Springs, Colo., the partial namesake for Humanitou a couple hours west, deeper into the mountains and quiet of Chaffee County, Colo. I’d continued the Humanitou podcast for five months there, doing it remotely with guests across the U.S. and across the world.
Then it just got to be too much. On all of us, it seemed, guests included.
By the time I stopped reaching out to prospective guests, I had 10, 12, 15 amazing people who over time had enthusiastically enough agreed to be on the podcast. But each of them ultimately would slip away from our email correspondences, and so would I.
I imagined each of them, like me, had all they wanted and then some in trying to continue functioning in spite of their pandemic and political anxieties. They didn’t need one more thing to do via video call with a stranger. And so neither did I.
I ended up setting aside more or less all creative projects. I spent a lot of time running mountain trails, and continuing to live largely in isolation with my family. My sons would school at home for more than two years in total. My wife works at home. I also work at home, and for a long period of time, my being a stay-at-home-dad took priority. We all, naturally, began to feel the effects of … so much.
As the pandemic continued(s) and societal insanity seemed(s) to run amok, I retreated into streaming familiar TV shows on Hulu, Netflix and Peacock, shows like The Office, Everybody Loves Raymond, The King of Queens, and, for the fourth, fifth, sixth times through from pilot to series finale, Sons of Anarchy. There was comfort in the familiar. I didn’t really have to pay attention, and I’d still know what was around every corner.
I continued to practice asana (yoga). Then I didn’t (still don’t). I continued to meditate. Until I didn’t (still don’t) with the daily consistency I once had. My mental health deteriorated. Anxiety, depression.
Then in early in 2022, a serendipitous opportunity came about. As a result, I would have a lifeline for reemerging. I don’t know that I noticed its full value at first, but a light of hope would appear. We Are Chaffee: Looking Upstream was a new podcast-slash-local radio show coming to be in Chaffee County, Colo., and I was asked about hosting it. I’m now several months into that work.
Looking Upstream is much like Humanitou at heart. It’s about connecting as humans by sharing vulnerably in meaningful conversations. The conversations are then shared publicly to cultivate compassion and understanding, and to strengthen community.
It’s also a dream realized for me. When I started Humanitou in 2017, I wanted it to lead to bright opportunities with like-hearted people who would pay me to be me, to use my broad set of creative skills and interests to do good things together. Five years later … the We Are Chaffee: Looking Upstream podcast.
This podcast has stoked the dormant embers of my creativity. It’s called me out to reengage in the world. I’ve been making art again, returning to existing work and have started new projects, too. I’m slowly working on what’s next for the Humanitou podcast, too.
I’m writing essays and blog posts. And I have started writing poetry again in my thoughts, sort of tiny mandalas of the mind that come and go. I’m again photographing people (portraits related to Looking Upstream) and still life work (not unlike Reverence & UnReverence).
I’ll also tell you that my sons are back in school and thriving. Absolutely thriving. My wife and I are both enjoying our work. As a family, we’re reestablishing a healthier stasis of daily life, “post”-pandemic. We go our separate ways each morning, and enjoy returning to each other later and asking, “How was your day?” Like some kind of normal we once knew.
The Humanitou hiatus could be described as over. Humanitou always was an evolving domain of creativity. It always was more than conversations and a podcast and a newsletter. Its shape feels different now. It’s waking from a long sleep and stretching its limbs, and it’s reemerging as something new.
Humanitou was dead. Long live Humanitou.