“The Coffee Shop Encounter.”

What does empathy look like in practice? And where do our responsibilities lie when confronted with people whose lack of empathy threatens to dehumanize another person? We had both of those questions unexpectedly thrust upon us in real time this week, in a random coffee shop in Gresham, Oregon. We felt like we acquitted ourselves all right, although of course we also both felt afterwards as though there were more eloquent words we could have chosen in the moment, and the encounter left us with a lot on our minds. We talk in the second half of this episode about what happened and what we learned.

And then of course our tour is ongoing! The rest of this episode is devoted to talking about the people we’re meeting and the interactions we’re having. It’s been a wonderful week, and we’ll tell you all about it.

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“We need to have strategies.”

A conversation at a house concert this week with a dear friend who lives in a polyamorous family gave us occasion to reflect on the enormous privilege that we enjoy – specifically, the privilege of being able to be non-confrontational in situations where others can’t afford to be. We ended up having a fairly eye-opening – and sobering – conversation about this in the second half of this episode.

Fortunately, the first half of the episode is tour recap! And therefore much less heavy. Don’t be scared of the second half, though; it was a really good, and we believe necessary, conversation. Hopefully it will spark some thoughts within you; if it does, please post them in the Misfit Stars private Facebook group!

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“In your garage and going through your tools.”

It’s Misfit Stars Tour Edition number three! And what a week it’s been. We played 6 shows in 6 days in 6 Northern California cities. Which is a lot. But it was so worthwhile.

A lot of our people in this part of the world seem to be in transition at the moment. It’s given us an opportunity to reflect on what our intersection with their lives at these unique moments means for us. We return to that idea over the course of talking our way through the week, as well as talking about some interactions with some wonderful new people we had the pleasure of encountering. Come along with us on this deep dive!

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“I can be the person in white.”

What does ‘home’ mean? And what does it mean to make peace with the places you’ve lived, and the seasons of your life that those places helped define? We went back to our old haunts in LA for the first time since moving to the PNW, and it gave us a lot to think about. We go deep on this in the second half of today’s episode.

Plus we talk about this week on tour! We had a great week, met some excellent people, and got to have some really cool discussions. We’ll break it all down for you in the first half of the episode.

* We recorded this episode in the car while driving up I-5 through the Central Valley of California. If you’re listening in headphones, you can hear when Jamie uses the turn signal. 😂

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“I’m a MASTER controller.”

It’s the very first Misfit Stars Tour Edition podcast! 😮 We recorded this episode on our new headset microphones, sitting behind a VW dealership in Folsom, California, watching cars whiz by on Highway 50. Funny looks from passers-by: 3. Lizards: 1.

We have our first couple of shows under our belt, and they were both great, for very different reasons. We talk about what made each of them part of such a good start to our tour!

And then in the second half, we drill down on a pretty deep conversation that we found ourselves in at the end of the second night – one that touched upon some topics near and dear to our hearts, regarding boundaries and healthy interpersonal interactions, specifically when someone you love is doing something that you can clearly see they should be doing very differently.

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“Screw you, a-hole developers!”

You know how sometimes you just really have to write a song about climate change? But, like, a really optimistic one? Or is that just Shannon? Anyway, we’re sharing two more new songs from Revolutionary Acts of Optimism in this week’s episode, and one of them is that song! Setting up the song turns into a good long talk about climate justice. More of a rant, maybe? You’ll love it. And that’s not even the best song we’re sharing with you!

Also, our neighborhood had a really good week in court. We’ll tell you all about it.

We’re leaving on tour TODAY … starting next week we’ll be recording our episodes from the road, and bringing you on tour with us! We can’t hardly wait.

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“It’s Christmas in June!”

It’s all happening! Tour is coming at us like a freight train. We use it as an opportunity to talk about scarcity, process, and balance. We also spend some time touching upon emotional intuition in the recording process, apropos of the wonderful record that Jamie just finished producing. Ever wonder what it’s like to be a married pair of DIY working artists approaching the beginning of an album cycle? Have a listen.

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SONG PREMIERE: “Zero”

It’s a world-exclusive premiere! We’re using the podcast in the run-up to our album release date (June 14th!) to trickle some songs out to our favorite people (that’s you!). Most of those are tucked into “member exclusive” sections of the episodes, but this one’s public and freely available for everyone to hear. We hope you love it.

Shannon talks about the idea behind the song … I talk briefly about how the music part came about … and we do a little weekly catch-up as well. Short but very sweet!

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“A jarring temporal dislocation.”

You know how sometimes something happens that makes time collapse on itself? This weekend was that for Jamie. Using his 25th college reunion as a framework, we (re-)connected with his little pack of people from that era of his life – including his first true love, with whom he hadn’t spoken in 18 or so years. Eeeep!

But it went amazingly well. Certainly as well as it could have. And it was revelatory. We spend a good hour talking through what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. Fair warning, there’s a story about smoking crack. You know, like you do.

And then in the end bit of the episode, we debut not one but TWO songs from Shannon’s upcoming new record, “Revolutionary Acts of Optimism!” Shannon takes some time to talk about where they came from for her, including a poignant and very relatable story about living in a version of your skin that feels like it doesn’t fit quite right. It’s a super cool episode.

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“This is our week-off podcast. Are we doing this right?”

If we’d had the time to think ahead, we would have taken a week off the podcast this week, because it’s been an absolutely wild week. We finished Shannon’s new album! “Revolutionary Acts of Optimism” is off to the plant to be made into CDs. Just like that. It sounds fantastic, and we’re thrilled about it.
Given that, this is basically a “week in review” type episode. We still manage to talk for half an hour! It’s just amazing what you can do with enough coffee. And we do talk about housing justice for a minute, because we are still us, after all.
If you’re not yet a subscribing member of the podcast, this would be a good time to change that … because we’re going to be debuting “Revolutionary Acts of Optimism” IN THE PODCAST over the next few weeks! And we’re going to be using that as an excuse to talk in-depth about the album and the songs and where we’re coming from with this new material. You won’t want to miss it. Head over to misfitstars.com and click on that second big pink button!
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“A love song to possibility.”

Welcome to our Silver Jubilee podcast episode! It’s been a month since last week. We’ll tell you all about it. With extra emphasis on intentionality, and on letting your heart lead the way in your deliberative process.

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“Can I share the peeing story?”

Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of the day that we met! So we used this episode as an opportunity to take a little trip down memory lane, telling the story of our meeting and the time that led up to it from alternating his-n-hers perspectives. Fair warning: there’s lots of giggling.
This is the last day to support our album fundraiser! It’s at shannoncurtis.net. Thank you. ❤️
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“It starts with the idea that it’s possible.”

Moving to a new place is an opportunity to redefine your relationship with what it is to live in a community. An opportunity that we’ve accepted wholeheartedly! Aided by the a-hole developers who are trying to build an unwanted storage facility in our neighborhood. There’s nothing like banding together to fight for a common cause to foster unity.

Misfit Star Katie R. posed an interesting Listener Topic to us last month that we’ve been holding on to until today: what have we learned, practically and about ourselves, since becoming homeowners? We realized that our answers to this question are very different now than they would have been even three months ago, and that we credit a lot of that to the sense of community we’ve found here. Our discussion starts there, and evolves into an impassioned rant about housing justice. Because when you break it apart, they’re inextricably intertwined topics.

Please support our album fundraiser! It’s at shannoncurtis.net. Thank you. ❤️
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“All the monsters under the bed.”

Putting yourself out there is vulnerable and scary. And … guess what time of year it is for us! New-single-and-album-fundraiser-time is a fraught time at best. And when things don’t go quite as expected, as happened this week, it can throw us for a serious loop. 
This paired excellently with a Listener Topic from Terry B., about helpful versus hurtful inner dialog. Spoiler alert: it all worked out better than we could have possibly imagined. And there’s a valuable lesson in there.
The link to the Change.org petition about the stupid storage facility that they’re trying to build in our neighborhood is here: https://www.change.org/p/city-of-tacoma-who-sues-a-neighborhood-and-a-church-to-build-a-storage-facility-sign-to-voice-concern. Please sign it!
And please support our album fundraiser! It’s at shannoncurtis.net. Thank you. ❤️
Subscribe in your podcast app of choice to get our biweekly free episodes, and unlock access to member-exclusive episodes at patreon.com/misfitstars!

“The world was never changed by people sitting on their couch.”

It’s Album Fundraiser Time around here! What this means, in practical terms, is that for the next three weeks the podcast episodes are going to be shorter … because we’re also going to be doing Facebook Live broadcasts. Every. single. night! If you want in on the fun, those will be at facebook.com/shannonkcurtis – usually around 7pm west coast time.
Album Fundraiser Time always coincides around here with an album theme reveal and a first single. This year the album theme (and title!) is “Revolutionary Acts of Optimism,” and we spend the first part of the podcast talking about what that means to us.
We posted the album artwork and title in our Misfit Stars private Facebook group last weekend, which prompted Scott S. to ask, “What is an *act* of optimism – as opposed to an attitude?” Great question! We talk through our ideas about this in the second half of the episode.
Oh! And please support our album fundraiser. It’s at shannoncurtis.net. Thank you. ❤️
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“Straight into the sun for 3,000 miles.” (and new single premiere!)

So, hypothetically, if you had a new song you wanted to debut, and a new podcast, where would you debut the song? Yeah, us too! It’s called “Glorious,” and it’s out worldwide on Friday … but we wanted you to hear it first. We hope you love it.
And then in the second half of the episode, do you know what we do? We get into some politics! But don’t worry, it’s fine. You know us well enough to know that we can be trusted to be sensitive. Katie R. was curious to know what we’re looking for in our 2020 candidate … and we definitely have some thoughts.
Bonus content: see if you can hear when the neighbor’s gardeners arrive. It’s springtime in Tacoma, baby!
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“The fruits of our labor.”

We did a couple of seemingly unrelated things this week – having coffee with a parent-age friend, and seeing Michelle Obama speak. But they ended up feeling oddly connected, for reasons having to do with the essential nature of optimism, from an intergenerational perspective. In the first half of the episode, we explore what that connection felt like for us.
And then, in the second half of the episode … we got an intriguing listener topic from Kitty S., about our relationships with our fathers. So we talk about that! 
Bonus game: see if you can hear the moment when the mail comes through our mail slot. You know we record this in our living room, right?

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“You first; you’re more mad.”

Some a-hole out-of-town developers are trying to screw with our little neighborhood! And the neighborhood isn’t taking it lying down. We rant about this for the first part of this episode.
And then in the second half, we talk through a listener topic from Elaine N., on the ins and outs of being a married couple who work together. Elaine asked us to talk about the things about each other that drive us insane, and we oblige. Good fun.
Bonus content: Shannon makes a spontaneous run at the Guinness world record for longest utterance of the word “forever.”
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“Like … is she a witch?”

Happy Women’s History Month! We celebrate by spending this entire episode talking about women who have made a personal impact in each of our lives. Come for the heartwarming discussion … stay for the surprise ending. BONUS CONTENT: Shannon cries. Awww. ❤️

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“Our backpack of uncertainty.”

You know how we talk with each other on this podcast every week? Well, sometimes we get asked to speak, outside of our living room, to people other than one another! How exciting. Last week we were on a panel in Seattle, on finding work that matters. It was a fun discussion, and we thought we’d use it as a jumping-off point this week to take a bit of a look back at where we came from, and at how we evolved into doing the work that we’re doing now.

And then: what are your dirty words? No, not THOSE dirty words … the words that you’re trying to get out of your vocabulary. We talk about ours in the second half of the episode. Thanks Scott S. for the good listener topic!

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“It’s pronounced ‘midwifery.'”

It’s a Listener Topic double-header! After the last couple of weeks’ Very Serious Episodes, we went lighthearted with this one. But what would you expect from a couple of people who just learned that one of their songs was played at a gas station in Lithuania. Nothing but good times around here this week.
In the first half, at the encouragement of Terry A., we interview one another about our weird jobs (songwriter and record producer, respectively). And then in the second half we talk through a topic from Julie A., on how we see the pros and cons of technology in our lives. Fun conversation!
Also, here’s the link to the fundraiser for our photographer friend Jonathan ❤️ https://www.gofundme.com/6vs4cu0

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“Uncomfortable and taboo are not synonyms.”

We talked about intra-family political differences last week – eep! – and you know what? It worked out just fine. So this week – screw it, it’s Black History Month – we’re talking about white privilege and exploring our (unwitting) complicity in racist systems! Because, you know, life is short. So let’s just go there.

We feel guardedly optimistic that we handled this subject with grace and tact; hopefully you’ll feel that that’s the case, too. Please share your thoughts in the private Facebook group!

And ps: the Peggy McIntosh essay that we used as a foundation for this week’s episode is here:

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“Is today the day the vultures come?”

So we managed to do this podcast for twelve entire episodes without getting into politics! But then we hit Episode 13. 😂 Don’t worry, though, it’s not bad. In fact we think it’s really good! Apropos of our family visit in Vermont, Jamie unpacks his evolving and complicated feelings toward his parents, whom he loves very much, but from whom he has realized he’s on the opposite side of a vast political divide over this last couple of years. We explore how and why that situation has recently improved, in the hope that it might help someone out there who’s been experiencing the same thing with their family or loved ones. It was a great discussion – a very vulnerable discussion to have in front of microphones – and we hope it holds some value for you.

And then in the second part of the episode, we talk through a listener topic from Jean W. When is it okay to be selfish? Spoiler alert: Shannon has some cool and somewhat avant-garde thoughts about this.

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“Maybe that’s why they do twelve eggs. One egg per month!”

It’s a Listener Topic Bonanza! We have been quietly hoarding extra Listener Topics for the last couple of months … and today we’ve devoted the whole episode to tackling a bunch of them. Topics covered include:

– Favorite moments at concerts that shaped who we are as musicians
– Fears we’ve overcome over the last couple of years
– All-time favorite songs

… and a whole bunch more. There’s some spontaneous singing … there are some personal moments … and there’s a lot of cracking up. And! We have made a Spotify playlist, at misfitstars.com/episode-12-listen-along, so that you can listen along as we stroll down our musical memory lane! HOW FUN.

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“It’s like the Waze app … for life.”

“Just do the next right thing.” We hear this sometimes, as a sort of vague direction for how to decide what path to take next in our lives … but what the heck does it actually mean? We spend some time trying to figure out precisely where the rubber meets the road for us in the ways that we translate our values into action. (Thanks to Scott S. for the topic suggestion!)

And then in the second part of the episode, we address a Listener Topic from Mystery Star “T”: what’s it like to be in a relationship where one person is sober and one person is a “normie?” Spoiler alert … she’s not exactly a normie.

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“Are any of us men yet?”

It’s been a big week for toxic masculinity! We have personal experience with this, from both the inside and the outside of it, and that’s what we talk about for the entirety of this episode. Jamie talks about his experiences growing up as a boy, how they informed the young man he became, and how that young man evolved into the person he is now; Shannon talks about her experience as a woman dealing with the various ways men act toward women – for better and for worse.

We’d LOVE to hear about your experiences with this. Please head over and voice your thoughts in our private Facebook group! If you’re not yet a member, see below to sign up.

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“… it’s like iocaine powder!”

Mental roadblocks! We all get them. But why? Where do they come from? And how can we get rid of them? We’re no stranger to these in our lives, and we spend the first half of this episode unpacking some of our thoughts around that.

And then our listener topic this week, from Libby L., is pet peeves. The fun thing about pet peeves is that there’s no way not to sound like a petty a-hole when you try to explain them to other people, and we prove in the second half of this episode that we’re no exception to that rule. Don’t judge!! You do it too.

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“Orange and Pink Flowers”

Things get personal in this one. We had a pretty heavy experience this week, in which we encountered a family member with whom we have an unresolved and painful relationship. We thought we’d use it as an opportunity to explore some ideas around how to walk into potentially uncomfortable or distressing situations with other humans, with peace and confidence. Easier said than done, sometimes – but we found some positive and helpful takeaways, and we hope you might find something resonant in them.

And then in the second half of the episode we talk through a listener topic from Jeff H., on how to keep that January 1 enthusiasm, momentum, and optimism lasting all year. Jamie has a bunch of strategies for setting realistic goals and keeping yourself on a healthy track toward their accomplishment – and Shannon has a different take entirely!

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“We’ve solved world peace! Done.”

We thought we’d start things off easy in the new year. So, in the first half of this episode, we talk about how to make peace with past versions of yourself. No big deal!

And then in the second half of the episode, we tackle a closely-related listener topic from Julie A., regarding overcoming your past mistakes and turning difficult times into learning opportunities.

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“Let’s Build a Time Machine”

In which we take a look back at 2018! Our favorite tour moments … the new music we obsessed over … our best new experiences … our highest and lowest personal moments … we break down our year and then we put it all back together.

We experimented with a new format in this episode … we agreed upon questions prior to the show, and we each thought of our answers in private, and then we interviewed one other and surprised each other with our responses. It came out excellently. Our favorite episode yet!

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“Just Outside the Comfort Zone”

Apropos of an email exchange we had this week, we unwrap some of the layers of assumed identity and protective persona that we humans armor ourselves with as we navigate the world.

And then in the second half of the episode we share our thoughts on an unintentionally seasonal listener topic from Lee Ann W., about how people with differing views can treat one other with respect.

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“Christmas Casino Buffet”

The season for holiday stress is upon us! We talk about pressure, anxiety, expectations, letting go of old rituals, and what reimagining tradition can look like in this fraught time of the year.

And then the second half of this episode is excellent! Inspired by a listener question from Kim L., we talk about how to manage the ups and downs of working together as creatives. It turns out that this basically means that we talk about how to interact with other humans in healthier and more intentional ways — including the humans we happen to be partnered with.

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“Parentheses!”

Inspired by an interview we did last week, we elaborate on the question, “What is success?” Turns out it’s a pretty deep question, with ramifications for one’s self-worth, sense of identity, and general happiness. So we get deep with it.

And then in the second half of the episode we explore a listener topic from Jean W., about the preconditions for creativity.

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“Five THOUSAND Cookies”

It’s been quite a week since Episode 1! Shannon’s beloved grandma Vi passed away, after a long reign as Best Grandma Ever. We share some favorite memories, and we talk about some lessons we learned from the way she lived and the way she transitioned into the end of her life.

And then in the second half of the episode, we delve into a Listener Topic about the idea of making mistakes, in art and in life, and why that might actually be a good thing.

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“Origin Story”

It’s Episode 1! Yes; we have started a podcast. Because why not try something else that’s new and scary and unknown, in a year that’s been characterized by doing new / scary / unknown things? We talk about the year of transition and risk-taking that we’ve had, how the launch of Misfit Stars fits into all of that, and the hopes we have for going deeper with our community through these interactive conversations.

And what exactly is “Misfit Stars,” anyway? We talk about the origin of the podcast’s name, and how each of us has felt like a misfit — and also like a star! — in our lives. Juicy stories from the wayback machine included.

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