Stacy: You recently sent me a photo taken by Matt a few years ago at your house in Echo Park. How does it feel looking at that photo and thinking of our experience recording Life Wife?
Kate: That photo definitely made me feel sentimental. It’s when my dog, Ladybug, was still alive, and before you had Sonny, your baby. We’re dancing, and the room is bright. Ladybug is standing between us. We don’t get to hang out like that now that I’ve moved and our lives have shifted. I don’t feel sad, but I do feel nostalgic for those years when we were neighbors. How does it feel for you?
Stacy: It makes me feel happy that we had that time together. It feels very dreamy to me. As an adult, I rarely spend time alone in a friend’s house, but I spent many hours alone in that house– cooking, reading, meditating. I knew the shelves and where the pots rested. I could grocery shop for you and feel confident in my choices without double-checking beforehand. This kind of a knowing is special. So, I have those memories too– that kind of intimacy. I could think of you moving and leaving that house as a loss, but I like thinking about the rarity instead. I think it’s strange how life is always shifting but sometimes when we are deep inside the shift, we can’t see the movement. Only in retrospect is there a narrative. I think houses are important because they reflect our character and sense of place or time in such narratives.
On this note, how do you feel about LIFE WIFE, our podcast– having our conversations recorded over a series of two years?
Kate: I have a slew of different feelings about the podcast. I feel like in thirty years it will be interesting to listen to the episodes and have a perspective on where we were – a perspective we can’t know now. It’s likely our parents will be gone, our children will be grown, but we really can’t know how we’ll feel about who we were now, then – or then, now – depending on our perspective, and where we are in time. But that’s when I think about them in the future. When I think about them in the present, sometimes I’m not sure I want to share them. Not sure I want to open myself up to other people’s thoughts about me, or us. And other times I think it would be good for people to hear women speak to each other. There still isn’t a lot of media where women have candid and personal conversations regarding their personal lives that are philosophical and introspective. I feel there’s value in us sharing that part of our friendship, as personal as it is. But then I think maybe I’m just finding importance in what we created to motivate myself to float them out into the world.
How do you feel about it? Have you had any reticence?
Stacy: I always feel a little reticence when I release work that feels personal. I think it’s normal– for me, it’s usually a worry about judgement and not being able to control the content or how it’s received once its out in the world. It takes a minute for me to relax into the idea of “it” existing.
My mom called me the other day and told me she listened to our “Allan” episode, in which I talk about my marriage. For a minute, I had a minor heart attack, worrying about what she might think. She said she loved it! So, that was a nice feeling– to know I can speak candidly about my relationship with you and that my mom can indirectly be a part of that conversation as well.
I try to force myself to remember the larger scope of everything– how these recordings can be sort of meaningless to most people– one more drop in a bucket of podcasts, but they truly have value on a personal level . . . especially because they are so personal. It’s a clipping of our lives that we get to leave behind, not too unlike the art we make.
When my father died, at his memorial, we listened to an interview my sister did with him when she was like ten years old– it was about his love of science. I feel so thankful for that recording.
I think, I’m proud of who I am– this is actually a new sort of strength I’ve been feeling lately. Maybe because of the birth of my son? Who knows?! I’m working on relaxing my grip on the outside world and focusing more on my own intention– how I want to be in the world as I raise my son– how my state of being or worrying will affect his view of me– or his thoughts on women in general, and maybe his life choices. It’s a ricochet affect. In some ways, my focus is his focus, and that’s new to me. It’s a new kind of consciousness and practice.
My work and identity is in a constant state of motion. A clip of that motion doesn’t fully define all of me, just a moment, a part of the narrative. It’s really freeing to remind myself of this.
What episode do you feel the most vulnerable about?
Kate: That’s cool that your mom listened and enjoyed the episode! You and Allan are delightful to talk with and listen to.
That’s an interesting shift you’re experiencing – from focusing on the outside world to focusing on your own intention, and thinking about who you want to be in the world as you raise your son. Seems like a shift into “adulthood” in a sense – shifting from looking for the world to parent you, to you being the parent and showing how the world can work. At least that’s my interpretation of what you said. Is that what adulthood is like? I don’t know. But it makes sense that it would be.
What episode do I feel most vulnerable about? There isn’t one entire episode really, it’s more moments in individual episodes. The first episode I’m pretty nervous to start off, and I can hear my nervousness when I listen. I hope, if people listen, they listen past my nervousness. Then there are other moments in other episodes that make me cringe – when I feel I laugh too hard, or am too easy on myself, or am not as sharp as I’d like to be. But these are just self-criticisms. And no one cares about me sounding dumb nearly as much as I do. And if they do, oh well, nothing I can do about that.
Stacy: That’s interesting– I don’t think you sound nervous at all. Or, I’m not thinking about that as I listen. Anyhow, if you are nervous, isn’t that an interesting aspect to a recording? I think it is. It’s genuine. It means we are talking about difficult or complex issues that are revealing. To show this nervousness is a vulnerable and daring act, and pretty brave in my opinion!
I don’t know if I am an adult, or if I will ever “feel” like one. But I appreciate the offering and will think more about what that means to me. I wonder, how do you feel about recording aspects of your life– in a podcast or in a diary– (side note: do you know if kids still have private diaries?)– and what value does it bring to you or the people you share these recordings with?
Kate: You are definitely an adult, even if you are often mistaken for a child by other children.
Actually, adulthood is elusive to me. It often seems to run alongside childhood simultaneously. I wouldn’t say I’m a child though. I might say I’m an adult who lives the life of a child, but with all the freedoms and responsibilities of an adult. I’m like one of those adults in an 80s sitcom who has an artsy job and a giant crayon in her New York apartment, and then uh-oh a little kid shows up for adoption from a dead relative. What am I going to do now?!
Is that what it felt like when your son was born? Like who is this beautiful, little cannon ball that splashed into my pond? Or was it more like, thank god this little cannon ball is finally outside my body? Was every second of it a delicious miracle of motherhood, and absolute euphoria? I’ve heard that’s always the case, and no one ever has any sadness or trouble adjusting, or feels like they want their bodies back.
Hmm… I don’t know if kids keep private diaries still, I assume they do. I keep trashing their bedrooms searching for their secrets. So far I’ve found none, but it’s possible they’ve gotten really good at hiding stuff.
How do I feel about recording different aspects of my life? Sometimes I feel shy about it. Other times I think of myself as a character in the world. This frees me up from taking myself too seriously. I think, well it would be fun to see this character take this risk, try that thing, be honest about this feeling, experiment with that. And if I’m still feeling timid, I imagine myself on my death bed. I think about what the dying version of me would think about the moment I’m currently facing. Usually Dying Me is in too much pain to care about what I’m currently facing, and that makes it easier to make a more daring choice.
What value does recording aspects of my life bring to me? In my private diaries (which you will never find (they’re in my closet)) writing my experiences allows me to be self-reflective and observe myself. In terms of our podcast, it allows me to make a project with my friends and explore ideas in conversation.
What value does it bring to the people we share these recordings with? I have no idea. Maybe we’ll find out…
Stacy: When my son was born, I experienced a clash of feelings, both grief— for my old life— and euphoria— for my new one. As time continues, I mostly look forward. It’s easier now because my son is waking up to the world more and it’s so exciting and new for both of us. I feel grateful that I am allowed to show him the day to day aspects of life. In exchange, he reminds me of the details. I’m trying to record what I can of him and us. Our growth.
My hairdresser told me that she keeps a private journal— and in it, she records her accomplishments, as a form of self-care. If she ever feels like she’s not doing anything, she can refer to the journal and correct such negative self-talk. I really love that. I think I might start something like that. Just at night, as a reflection.
I am excited to hear what the podcast brings up for others and for us in the future as well. You can download the episodes here.
Kate Purdy is a writer. She currently writes for the Netflix show, “BoJack Horseman.” She co-created a show called “Undone,” which will be available on Amazon in 2019. And she wrote and illustrated “Rodrigo the Hummingbird,” a kids’ book. Find out more at www.hivehouse.net.
Stacy Elaine Dacheux’s art projects have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, installed at Cinefamily, and published in The Rumpus. Her interviews can be found in FLAUNT, PAPER, BUST, The Awl, Ms., and Los Angeles Review of Books. Most recently, she appeared on IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang!