The only way I learn is by wrecking. Since relaunching my interview podcast a few months back, it’s been one thing after another. I can’t leave well enough alone. After spending long days migrating dozens of episodes going back four years from one hosting platform to another, I didn’t like the layout in the new place, so I made a whole new subsite on my art site dedicated to the show. This meant that every time I recorded a new talk I had to upload audio to two different places and tweak the formatting in each. Totally unnecessary extra busy work that was noticed by no one but me. With good reason.
I tried in vain to automate this process. Watched tutorials and read help forum articles. Either I’m too thick to understand most of the lingo or there are no good answers for what I’m trying to do because no one in their right mind is trying to do it. All I know to do is to keep hammering away at it until I can’t see straight. Then either it gets to a marginally acceptable level, or, more often, I’m just too exhausted to go on and have to accept defeat.
Then these losses eat at me. Sometime last week it dawned on me that there’s no reason for the audio episodes to appear online in two places. The free six months hosting deal was about to expire too, adding an extra motivating factor to egg me on to another bout of coding lunacy. I read a half dozen articles about attaching RSS feeds to websites. I understood perhaps a quarter of the information therein. Many of these articles of course conclude with a pitch to join this or that platform and have them do this grunt work for a lesser or greater fee. I’m trying to use fewer services rather than more, so few of these sources offered satisfying solutions.
I downloaded a plugin that claimed it would relay episodes to Apple, Spotify, and all the other places. But then, when I changed the feed code, all the episodes I’d sent out disappeared. I sat for many hours reformatting posts to work with this new thing. It felt like deja vu all over again. Two talks showed up on Apple out of sequence, but not the other twenty or so. The light was fading outside. I decided to go for a bike ride to clear my head.
It worked. In the short-term, at least. I went to a diner, ordered a Monte Cristo sandwich and read some Denis Johnson. No screens or technical mumbo-jumbo. Just a sandwich and a book. I’d ordered onion rings, got French fries but didn’t complain. Felt good to have someone else make a meaningless mistake after a whole day of making my own.
The next morning, tech support got back to me with a seeming fix for the glitch with the podcast feed. I was so grateful. But by afternoon half the episodes were still missing. I decided not to fixate on it. So many other tasks to attend to rather than an audio program that five people listen to. It’s only a matter of time though till this itch must get scratched bloody once more.
I know myself. This is how I am. Can’t say I love it, but I more or less understand.