Monday Oct 31, 2022

The Power of Fiction to Create Permanent Culture

Over more than a decade, The Permaculture Podcast has explored the landscape-based practices which lead to permanent agriculture, as well as the invisible structures necessary, as individuals and in our community, to create permanent culture.

Today’s episode examines our ability to create culture and continues the 12th-anniversary celebration of The Permaculture Podcast, as Alasdair Stuart joins me to share his insights on how media and culture influence the community and countries we live in, and how those stories shape who we are and our experiences. Through those lenses, Alasdair and I look at representation in media, the importance of inclusion and diversity as creators and consumers of fictional works, the importance of cultivating kindness, and changing outlooks on mental health.

We also share how we find hope through storytelling, on the page or through the screen, as we face an uncertain future, and invite you to join us on that journey.

If you’re not familiar with Alasdair, he is the co-owner of Escape Artists Incorporated, which produces the wonderful short-fiction podcasts Cast of Wonders, EscapePod, PodCastle, and PseudoPod. Alasdair is also the regular host of the horror podcast PseudoPod, where he not only introduces the author, narrator, and fright to follow but also shares his commentary and critique on the story for each episode and how that unique tale fits into our lives and world.

As you might imagine when a pair of media-loving folks who grew up immersed in comic books, TV shows, movies, and games of all kinds come together to talk about how those works create our society and a vision for the future, it leads to nearly continuous references to the personal and pop culture that shaped us and that we see as continuing to mold current generations. If you love anything like Dr. Who, video games, Terry Pratchett, Tik Tok, Henry Rollins, Heavy Metal, or George Carlin, there is each of those and so much more somewhere in today’s interview.

You can find Alasdair's at alasdairstuart.com. While you are there, be sure to sign up for his newsletter, The Full Lid. He is also on Twitter @alasdairstuart

Escape Artists Incorporated and their amazing slate of podcasts are at EscapeArtists.Net.

I’d also like to give a big thank you to the artist SerHawke for allowing me to the drawing of Alasdair in a She-Hulk T-shirt as the cover image for this episode. Their commissions are open and you can find them on Twitter @serhawke.

I enjoyed this conversation with Alasdair because of how he points to the ways media, in whatever form it might take from TV shows to spoken word albums to podcasts, can have an impact on us as individuals and help us develop or change our worldviews. How media as a shared experience can create a culture or subculture we feel at home in and want to be an active participant in. Media can create a cultural zeitgeist that changes a country or the world.

As we permaculture practitioners share our vision of the future through fiction, such as Utopia by Geoff Christou 470 by Linda Woodrow, it shows others what is possible. As we share the stories of our lives and experiences through podcasts or memoirs, we link the past to the present and share them with others. This work, of telling our stories with voice, body, and bones, is vital to what permaculture has to hold now and for future generations.

If you have a story inside of you, find a way to tell it. Your voice matters.

Before closing this episode, I’d like to give a hearty thanks to Alasdair for joining me, as this conversation was a special one for me, as it’s been a dream of mine to interview Alasdair after hearing his voice—both his literal, spoken voice and voice as an expression for his point of view and talent as a writer—all those years ago when I downloaded my first episode of PseudoPod. It was a pleasure to have this experience and chat like old friends.

I continue to tune in to PseudoPod and remain a dedicated listener because I am inspired by Alasdair’s message that we can shine a light into the darkness and find hope, even when we face real monsters in the world. That hope, along with a story well told, reminds me that we are not alone, that there are others like us in the world, and we can stand together with others, whatever comes in the days, years, and decades to come.

Until the next time, listen to an episode of PseudoPod while you spend each day discovering the media that inspires you while creating a culture that takes care of Earth, your self, and each other.

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