What is Spoilers Ahead?

If you’ve been following along (either on this blog/website or on my personal social media), you’ve heard about something called Spoilers Ahead. You’ve probably seen the cover, too.

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Spoilers Ahead is a podcast about literature, movies/television/YouTube, and music. I host it with Rory Delaney, my extremely clever hanai sister. Every episode, we talk about a book, and a movie, and an album of music (sometimes a YouTube channel or T.V. series slips in — we’re making up the rules as we go). There’s usually (broadly speaking) a connection point between all the pieces we choose. One of my favorite episodes is “Hot Moses and Incompetent Tempters,” where we talk about The Screwtape Letters, Prince of Egypt, and Hozier by Hozier. At the end of the episode, we offer a recommendation of some new thing we’ve discovered or want other people to get excited about. A lot of the time, the recommendations are actually to each other.

We’re not here to bash things. When we pick what we’re going to talk about, we’re genuinely excited to talk about them. Even if you’ve never read that specific book or seen that specific movie, if you don’t mind spoilers, We’re here to get you hyped about it. We’re honest about what we like and don’t like about each thing, but again, we choose our topics because we like them.

How do I listen to Spoilers Ahead? You can subscribe to the show by going into the Podcasts App (or iTunes, if you’re on a computer) and searching for “Spoilers Ahead.” You can also listen to episodes and download them from this very website. Click on the menu, go to “Spoilers Ahead Podcast” (or Podcast, depending on the screen) and enjoy. Everything’s in both places.

Does it cost money? It’s free to listen to Spoilers Ahead and it’s free to download episodes. However, if you really like it and you feel like it’s worth supporting, you can do so by becoming one of my patrons on Patreon.com (www.patreon.com/hidturner).

So, are you guys even qualified to talk about this stuff? I’d say so. I got my Master’s degree in English, and in discussions, I tend to be the one to bring up critical theory and stuff. However, Rory’s also an avid, attentive reader and viewer with consistently good taste in music. Plus, this isn’t a podcast about deconstructing our favorite things. We read quotes, we talk about the camera angles, we talk about why we love what we do about the things we love. It’s a good time.

How often do you put out episodes? Barring hurricanes, fires, and technical rehearsals for plays, we put out an episode every other week. We occasionally manage to put out weekly episodes, but generally, you can count on a new episode every other Tuesday. Go check it out!

Be warned: there are spoilers ahead.

Vocal Few: A Band For Artists (Review)

Vocal Few is comprised of husband-and-wife duo Matt and Christie MacDonald (Matt is also the lead singer of the band The Classic Crime, but that's a story for another day). Together, they write music about life, and art, and love, and faith, and parenthood, and always from the perspective of actually living as people, artists, lovers, people of faith (and doubt) and as parents. Their harmonies are deceptively simple, clean, and precise; the music sounds improvisational until the plan becomes clear. In other words, they're a great duo. 

Here's an introduction to some of my favorite songs of theirs, a nice sampling of tunes on topics I am happy someone finally wrote about. Almost all their songs touch on artistry, but in the end, I included one explicitly about the artist life as well as the others. Enjoy! 

On Love/Commitment

On the Artistic Life 

On Christmas

On Faith

On Money

On Parenthood

Meds and Me

I recently went on an SSRI for the first time, more commonly known as an anti-depressant (SSRI's are commonly used to treat anxiety as well as depression, and it was anxiety that my doctor was looking to treat). I knew it wouldn't do much at first, that it takes a couple weeks to really start working. I planned starting the medication around my theatre schedule: I waited until any sudden brain-disasters wouldn't completely derail my life (of course, I didn't consider anxiety that left me vomiting as many mornings as not a "brain-disaster"-- I've been informed by several sources I should raise my standards). 

The medication kicked in, meaning I could feel it's presence at all. Secretly, as much as I wanted it to work and to help break the wild horses that drag me through the mud of my own brain, I also wanted it to make things worse. This is not healthy thinking. For years, I avoided the thought of medication, because I was convinced that it wasn't right to achieve chemical brain balance via chemicals. This was the mentality, and I trusted it, even while I had objective proof that I was not always the most reliable source on what was best for me. I don't usually trust the thoughts that shout about my worthlessness. I tend to trust my whispered biases. 

Unfortunately for my biases, the medication is working. I don't remember having this many good mental health days in a row. The one panic attack I had was followed by the shortest recovery period I've ever needed (went to bed feeling real bad, woke up feeling fine). My appetite has returned, and because IBS (my digestive illness) is triggered by anxiety, I've been able to eat more and better than I ever have. I'm including my supposedly happy childhood in this "ever." The dose I'm on is low, and I don't know if I want to increase it by much. It's not taken away my ability to feel; it's made it so that I am feeling my emotions, rather than feeling like my emotions are feeling me up without my consent. I wish on some level that doing everything else right was enough. As a Christian, I don't know where I got the idea that "doing everything right" equals "enough" is ever the case. Realistically, it's hard to exist independent of assistance. Upon reflection, it's an extension of the "I don't need therapy" nonsense I tried to sell my parents as a suicidal teenager. I needed to learn how to need. 

I wasn't expecting this to be such an effective answer, and I don't pretend to know what that means for anyone else. All I know is that it took a combination of doing everything right, and failing, and being loved anyway, and reassured that even if things got worse, I wouldn't be abandoned to be willing to face the possibility that I would never be able to do enough on my own, and that seeking help was a crucial part of actually doing my job as caretaker of my self. And for that, I'm thankful. Grace comes in many forms, and I'm okay with the plot twist of finding some of it in a small blue pill. 

 

 

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Photo by Nino Liverani on Unsplash

Thoughts on Impending (Whatever May Come)

Thoughts on Impending (Whatever May Come)

I'm writing this on Thursday morning, a few hours before Hurricane Lane is supposed to start really affecting Maui, my home island. Hawaii isn't Florida; most of us can't afford to book a flight off island, and the homes here aren't really designed to withstand serious storms (the hotels are, of course). Everyone I know has made whatever preparations they needed for their families, whether that means stocking up on water, boarding up the windows, or duct taping down the rubber slippers on their porch. Waiting is waiting, and surprisingly, it's not very stressful. 

Why We Still Need Theatre

Why We Still Need Theatre

Stories still matter. It still matters that, as a culture that we sit down and pay attention to the story in front of us, unfolding in real time across a shared field of vision. It matters that we learn how to listen to stories that only touch us because we share humanity. There are so many ways to hear each other; in a live setting with no stops, there’s no choice but to learn to listen to the story being told on the terms it will be heard. 

The High Key EP

The High Key EP

A few weeks ago, the music store I work at got a weighted keyboard. I have a complicated relationship to piano; I was never dedicated to practicing enough and while I love playing piano, I struggled to learn to read music. For many years, I was almost exclusively committed to playing guitar and ukulele. Even after I reached an uneasy truce with piano, it felt like a bit of a foreign instrument that I couldn't quite understand (and therefore couldn't properly enjoy). But... there was a keyboard. Right there. So I started playing. 

Month One of Patreon

Month One of Patreon

Back in the day (think 1400-1600), artists were hired by patrons to make stuff for them, either by commission or by salary. Your patron might pay you month to month and then ask you to make specific pieces, or you might work on a case-by-case basis (the Sistine Chapel's ceiling was one such commissioned work). In every version, patrons had a lot of control of what got made because (in most cases) they were the sole patron. With Patreon, the system is flipped: you can support artists and creators for as little as a $1 a month, and we the creators can keep making stuff and growing as individuals and artists. 

Why My Fiction Isn't Inspiring

Why My Fiction Isn't Inspiring

My fiction isn't about pretty people doing pretty things, and even more rarely is it about Christian people doing Christian things-- usually, it tackles questionable characters making questionable decisions (either objectively, as in "Synesthesia", or by getting caught up in really terrible situations, as in "Thorn"). Sometimes, there's an element of horror, or mystery, or the toss-up between inevitability and agency. A lot of well-meaning Christians in my life have asked why: why write messy work? Why muddy the waters? Why not inspire?