Every day, the Little Box of Quotes podcast publishes a super-short recording of a quotation. For over 3 years—1,247 times and counting—I’ve said, “Hello, Craig here! Today from my little box of quotes…”
Why do all this work? It’s fun! I love sharing quotes (and in podcast form is just one way.) The total listens is north of 60,000 and some have been heard many hundreds of times. I like to imagine all the people who smiled, or went “hunh“. Each episode is only downloaded a dozen–or–so times when published. But then each episode slowly gets heard, as people randomly stumble upon them (I know not how.)
Which episodes are popular? Here are the top 10…
- Habit ~ Jim Rohn
- Ignorance ~ Vincent Thibault
- Fear ~ Cus D’Amato
- Motivation ~ (unknown)
- Freedom ~ Michael Diamond
- Struggle ~ James Terry White
- Revenge ~ Marcus Aurelius
- Positive ~ (unknown)
- Stand ~ Marcus Aurelius
- Torment ~ Seneca
What do I think of that top-10 list? Listening to them—especially the number-1 “Habit” quote—makes me squirm. I can hear so much about them that I’d do differently now. Maybe that’s a good thing? And they all seem so silly… it’s just… Craig reading quotes. But there’s definitely something to this, about the resistance and making art.
How do I record them? They’re pretty raw. I say the entirety of what you hear in one pass. If I make a horrible mistake, I just do it over. There’s no editing—I simply have some basic export settings to set the overall level. The point of the entire thing (when I started) was to practice doing the thing. Talk to the mic. Don’t clean it up in post-production… rather, figure out how to not make mouth-noises, how to breath more quietly, how to sound comfortable, etc.
What’s the hardest part? Saying people’s names. (Pronunciation is difficult too, but that’s not what I mean.) The specifics of how I say the name carries a tremendous amount of information. The tiniest change is glaring (speed, pitch overall, tone, cadence.) Do I sound incredulous that that person ever said something that clever? Do I sound overly reverential? Dismissive? And how long do I pause before saying their name? Faced with endless options, I just do my best and then ship it.
What’s my favorite part? (I have a rapid process: record, replay, save/export, schedule podcast episode. I can do one episode in a few minutes.) Sometimes, maybe 1 in 10, when I play it I get chills. Sometimes, the quote itself, combined with countless other details, makes something I just love.