039 Word Alchemist: Ryan Dilbert

I started thinking about why I like it so much.  And then I thought, you know, it’s storytelling; I love stories.  Especially strange stories.  And pro wrestling is just a series of strange stories that are acted out in the moment…and some things are improvised and there’s a little bit of chaos because someone broke their nose.  Like, go with it. So it’s just a very weird world; it’s very easy to write about.

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That’s Ryan Dilbert.  As a creative writing teacher of 4th graders, he lovingly shapes young writers by utilizing all the other facets of his life: as a father of two young girls, husband to Julie, published author, pro wrestling journalist for Bleacher Report, stand-up comedian and performer, and tattoo artist and illustrator.  In his summers off, he’s hungry to do more, like developing screenplays, writing another novel, and trying his hand at graphic novel.

Ryan grew up in Cayman (we used the local inflection – in the States it’s often referred to as the Cayman Islands) before moving to Houston for high school.  We met in sophomore year and became student directors of a performance poetry group, Playwrights and Players, for our senior year.  Because our friendship included writing and editing together in this formative time, Ryan helped shape my own creative expression.  His biracial identity is something he has struggled to explore in his writing, and feels more comfortable creating his own worlds where he can confirm the validity of the character’s experiences.

You can find more of Ryan’s work at www.ryandilbert.com and his Twitter @ryandilbert.  This includes his novel, Time Crumbling like a Wet Cracker (No Record Press) which was published in 2011; the cover and visuals were illustrated by Shawn Callahan.  His website has links to his pro wrestling columns at Bleacher Report as well as to literary journals of his flash/nano fiction and prose.  He mentioned an article where he took his daughter, Lucy, to WWE Raw after sharing tweets of her experience.  And he participated in Austin’s Funniest Person Contest in 2008.

Ryan’s daughter, Lucy, age 6, sat down for a short interview at the end of the episode.

Shameless plug: His upcoming chapbook with a collection of flash fiction about pro wrestling, called Mat Burns, is set to come out in Spring 2020.

We mentioned Ira Glass’s concept of The Gap – when our taste develop more quickly than our craft.  Here’s a delightful video with his quote.

THE GAP by Ira Glass from Daniel Sax on Vimeo.

Hey Crafties!  What is the term for a juicy quote that is pulled from an interview?  Like the kind of quote that I pull for the intro teaser, or that he uses to shape his wrestling columns.  Ryan and I both use this and calling it a “money shot” feels wrong)!

036 Schizophrenic Straddler: Chad Raines

I think arranging in pop music is like so underrated.  I think that’s the whole reason why people like pop music; there’s not like lots interesting chord changes or melodies happening–-it’s all about production, which, production is arranging. and it’s just all about the choices of tones and instruments you make and creating an atmosphere that gives you a feeling.

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That’s Chad Raines, sometimes known as Rad Chains, but it depends if you find him on the divine stage or in real life.  His artistic lens is aimed at the juxtaposition between giving a rough edge to the prestigious and elevating the overlooked.  He swings between between musical theatre to performing in spandex with his band The Simple Pleasure.  He arranged and played the music to my wedding, and even more importantly to Matt and me, he made the “Egyptian Lover” music video of our friend Basil Malaty.  Having something so precious to look at when my friend was no longer around eventually lead to me to creating this podcast, so I can give stage to the essence of people I hold dear for posterity.

You can find more on Chad at www.chadraines.com, at www.thesimplepleasure.com, the Rad Chains Soundcloud page, and The Simple Pleasure Bandcamp page.

The intro of the episode is “Another Active Shooter,” we sample “Girls and Guys Sometimes,  and the outro is “Labor of Love ” by The Simple Pleasure.

Here’s Tom Cherry’s “Boogieman of My Dreams” and Donzi’s World, which have big Tim and Eric Awesome Show vibes way before that was a thing.

Shameless Plug: Chad’s new (Untitled) record with The Simple Pleasure, which should be out by Oct. 14th.

Here’s a couple of The Simple Pleasure’s music videos, “Young Professionals” and “A Need to Know Basis.”

Here’s the “Egyptian Lover” video featuring our friend Basil Malaty (1981 – 2004), shot and produced by Chad Raines in collaboration with Matt Norton around 2001/2002 in Austin, TX.

034 Collaborating Elaborator: Graham Davidson

And that was the first time I started to realize that from a creative process standpoint, I really love getting teamed up with other people and their ideas and helping them see how great their idea can actually become and sort of take it beyond what they had even envisioned.

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That’s Graham.  As a musician and sound engineer, then as a producer of film and television, and now as general contractor and home builder, Graham has taken the puzzle pieces, flipped them over, and made sense of the big picture in order to tell the story.  He is also an occasional visual artist (if the occasion was to propose marriage to Amanda, who was my guest in episode 26) and woodworker if a project tells him it needs to be made.  He finds the creative process of collaborating most rewarding, and spends his down time from building houses with his wife and their three kids, oftentimes playing board games like Dog.

To learn more on Graham and Amanda’s Austin-based home-building company, Curate, go to www.curate.com.  You can also scope out his film and TV projects as a producer and sometimes director, including the award-winning independent films Chalk and The Aviatrix, A&E’s Shipping Wars, TLC’s Quints by surprise, Discovery Channel’s Texas Car Wars, and TNT’s Marshal Law Texas (with Jerry Bruckheimer).

More links:

Teaching Themselves: The filmmakers, cast, and crew of ‘Chalk’ learned valuable lessons with little in the way of plan or budget – The Austin Chronicle – May 2007

For TLC, With a Little TLC – The Austin Chronicle – Aug. 2007

Graham’s IMDB page

I mentioned in the Weekly Inspiration segment a Facebook group called I’m Like a Rotisserie Shithead, which is an adjacent group to the hilarious “advice show” podcast, My Brother My Brother and Me.