2017 was a pretty good year. I started a new job and cut my commute by 60+ miles a day. I converted a decrepit powder room in the basement into a snug little recording studio, and started producing audiobooks. And I figured, what the heck, I’ve got this recording studio, I might as well do a podcast. Which I did, and I called it “Assateague Voices” because the AINS Visitors Center already had “Voices of Assateague.” I can’t really express how much I love doing the podcast. Assateague has been a special place for a long time, and the podcast has put me in touch with people to whom it is just as important, if not more so.
Surprisingly, launching the podcast came off pretty much as I had hoped. I interviewed the people I had hoped to interview, I found a use for a guitar ditty I’d been carrying around in my fingers since the last century, I got the hang of multi-track editing. People listened. And I think I ended up with something that fulfills its mission.
What exactly is the mission of Assateague Voices? Originally, it was simply to present an audio document of the island today, through the people who live there, work there, play there, and call it home no matter where they’re from. And that’s still the mission. But as I visited more, interviewed more, and just hung out more, I became increasingly aware of how fragile the island is, how great the threats are to its existence, how quickly it’s disappearing, and how important it is to join with others dedicated to its protection and preservation.
Now, I don’t want to get all “Lost”-y and say that the island is a conscious place that contains the source of all life.* I will say, though, that the island has an important place in the consciousness of the millions of people who visit every year. I will say that it provides the sources of life–food, water, shelter–to hundreds of species, permanent and migratory, terrestrial and aquatic, that make it home.
So Assateague Voices’s mission is to present the life of a barrier island in the balance, advocate for its survival, and work together with other dedicated organizations to protect and preserve it. And let me just say, for the record, no @#$%@*& drilling. At all. Thank you.
I don’t think I could be more thankful for everyone who participated in and contributed to getting Assateague Voices up and running. Naturally, that includes my wife, Jennifer. She has given her full support every step of the way. (I knew I had found the one when she told me she wanted me to take her camping on Assateague Island. A woman. Who camps. In a tent. On a desert island. What are the odds?)
2017 was great. 2018 will, I hope, be even better. I’ve got files waiting to be edited and posted, and I’ve got a full slate of topics and interview subjects for the months ahead. We’ve got some other big plans that we’ll introduce later this year. (Like, years’ worth of photos on Instagram.) I think they’re all going to be worthwhile.
In the meantime, thank you and thank you again to Michelle Sommers, Ron Harrigan, Kathy Phillips, Cat Mer, Jennifer Brannock Cox, Charlie Cox, Amy Smith, Chris and Brady, Isaac and Leah, Billy Weiland, Liz Davis, Kelly Taylor, Javon and Brianna, Robert Lingo, Hunter Outten, and I’m sure I’m missing someone. Oh, right. Thanks to Pat Health for her sound advice on surf sounds (as well as for her many years of service as a camp host), and Haley Nickel for her first-rate videography. You all helped make 2017 pretty darned amazing. I’m going to trust in the universe and say thank you in advance to everyone who will make 2018 pretty amazing, too.
*”108 Answers to Lost’s Supposedly Unanswered Questions,” Cody Johnston, cracked.com, June 22, 2012