05: do you have any hustle?

Evan and I were still living in Bozeman, Montana, but he had taken a job in Seattle. This was the first time I was moving without a job. This was the first time my ambitions weren’t uprooting us. I had been working in advertising, deep in as an Art Director with an eye on a Creative Director trajectory, but there was something more I wanted to do—radio.

I had dabbled in radio and was fresh-off a Transom workshop in Marfa, Texas. I wanted to tell stories in radio. I wanted to be Ira Glass. I wanted an in in Seattle radio. So a friend connected me to Posey Gruener at KUOW. Posey was kind enough to chat with me over the phone on her lunch break at work. I had my Moleskin journal in front of me, with all my questions written out. I wanted to know how to work in radio in Seattle and what I could do to get in. Posey was eating and as I danced and waned poetically on what storytelling meant to me, she interrupted…

– Do you need to make money?

– What?

– Some people don’t need to make money, so I just need to know: do you need to make money?

– Uh, YES. Yes, I need to make money.

– How much do you need to make?

– I would like to make at least $70,000.

(she laughed.)

– Okay, you’re not going to make that in public radio. Another question for you:

Do you have any hustle?

I will never forget her asking me that. I kind of snapped out of it—the poetic love of it all—and replied…

– I have a shit-ton of hustle.

– Great. Then get your agency job. Make money. And take freelance radio gigs left and right and learn that way.

Since that day almost four years ago, I have always had a Post-It stuck to my computer that reads “Do you have any hustle?”

I moved to Seattle, I got my agency job, I made my money, I started a podcast, and I hustled my ass off to make freelance radio stories. I talked about it all in the final episode of my podcast…

Hustle looks different these days, with a baby girl. Hustle sometimes looks like making sure Marcelline is gentle with that goat and has enough adventure in her life while feeling safe.

Last night, I decided to embroider Posey’s question… to make it more permanent. I don’t embroider. It all is kind of a mess. It’s puckered in the wrong places. It looks tired, but arty. I love it. I love how it turned out. I love how messy and imperfect it is.

Things have been slower these days, for all kinds of reasons. I put together a Playlist for this time, to remind me that hustling does need to mean breaking.


I hope you like the listens. Especially the last track… that has made me cry three times in a row now.

[in another room, only out of sight.]

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