23 October 2020

Pilot episode

1) I'm so spoiled with blogs, how it gives you the luxury to change your mind every second. A comma now, semicolon later, then back to comma whenever you please. When I was working for a newspaper, I always dread reading the actual print, because of all the typos and grammatical errors that I might see. My first experience in producing a podcast is recreating that dread, even tops it. At least with print media, you will just have to accept the blunder. That you can reproduce a podcast, meaning re-record, makes it so tempting to actually do it. In other words, it's so tempting to subject yourself to torment.

2) The Stunner podcast is now available on six podcast streaming services, including Spotify.

3) Here is the transcript of the pilot episode, where I explain the whole motivation behind this endeavor:


Who/What is The Stunner?

A podcast is like free verse poetry. There's a lot of freedom in it. If it sounds like a nice thing, it's not. In both cases, freedom is the burden of creating your own form. What I'm trying to say is I don't exactly know what I'm doing, but I'm very excited.


I've worked for five years for a national newspaper and before and after that, I've been writing freelance for magazines, websites — publication in its many forms, really. I've done advertorials, lots of it, SEO, feature stories.

When people ask me, especially my previous colleagues if I'd be willing to work again in that kind of environment, I give a quick no. It's wonderful, yes, but it's also extremely fast-paced, and I'm a very chill person.

What I miss most however, and what I think made me enjoy and endure those years, is doing profiles. Interviewing people.

I'm an introvert. Like I said in the trailer of this podcast, I'm one of those who would say, "I hate people". And maybe I do, maybe a little. But I am also very intrigued by people. And working in the media, it gave me a chance to entertain that curiosity.

When I think about it, recalling all those times, it's either I meet interesting people, or I have done a good enough job, to dig deep enough to find what's interesting about them.

That's an experience that I want to replicate again and again. And that is the whole motivation for this podcast. When I attend events and do interviews, I become sociable and, to my surprise, fall in love with people! Of course we were in carefully organized events, putting our best food forward; but, yes, that’s what I like. An environment designed to keep you on your toes but eventually let your guard down.


The Stunner — noun — is everyone, who is given the time of day to show who they really are. It's me building on that notion that we all have something interesting to say. The Stunner is also that moment or idea that stops us in our tracks. That thing which stuns.


It's mostly a lie when writers say, "I'm writing this person or that person's story". Most likely the writer is not telling anyone's story but their own. The subject is exactly that: subject for a desired narrative.

When you go to an interview as an interviewer for a publication, you carry with you a frame. Which can be both a good and bad thing. Good because you'll have focus, direction. And bad because — and I think this is a mistake all writers make — we force a story into a shape that doesn't serve either the subject or the reader.

Like I said earlier, the podcast is like free verse. Because there's no structure to guide you, you can either be happy about it or be lost. We understand how important structure is in communication. But we have to admit that having lots of room to play is a welcome advantage of the podcast.

If all goes well, I'd be talking to different people about the things that stir their mind. The idea is really less on what people do, and more on what they think. And again if I do it right, I'd let them tell their stories in their own voice. Yet be responsible, still, for the listener. That each episode will be crafted with purpose and clarity in mind.


My background is literature, I write poetry. I maintain a personal blog with a literary and artistic bent. In a way, The Stunner is an extension of that practice, as a space for the unforgettable characters that I've read in books, or seen onscreen. I would like to chronicle here my impressions of people, real or imagined.

The concept for this programme's been brewing in my head for a couple of years now and it's funny — well I'm laughing at myself — because it takes being quarantined to push me to finally do it. Being forced to stay away from each other made me realize how crucial human interaction is.

So, in short, The Stunner is my way of connecting with people.

20 October 2020

The Stunner

The Stunner. A podcast by Razel Estrella.

It's around 2018 when I declared an interest in running a podcast. But I declare lots of things. Here's also where I'll admit that internal motivation rarely works for me, or works too slowly even by my standards. So it's thanks to friends who've started their own podcasts (spoiler alert) while stuck in quarantine that I find the motivation to start mine.

"Don't wait till the conditions are perfect, otherwise you'll get nothing done." Perhaps it's my perfect excuse for all the flaws in this podcast in its initial stage. If I wait till all the dogs and roosters in the neighbor fall asleep, then there's no way I'd be able to record anything. Neither am I going out, spending cash to acquire high-end gears.

This is a new medium for me (does practice in TikTok count?), though already a dear one. Ladies and gentlemen, The Stunner is now live. I ask you to check it out and listen with a forgiving ear.

09 October 2020


Glück, Louise. Vita Nova. Harper Collins, 1999.

Things that came to my mind after learning that Louise Glück was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature:

1. Wow, they gave it to a poet everyone I know loves. It must be an encouragement, a sign that I should carry on writing poetry.

2. Awards are BS. It has a resume purpose. Determining who or what is good, better, and best is a task for consumers. Indeed I would pay attention to the award-winning section of the book store. One way of narrowing down choices on a lazy day. For every book standing there, I am missing out on undiscovered gems.

3. I don't like her. She is great at giving her words the effect of weight rather than actual weight. "It's evening, time for lying." Come on.

4. I haven't completely moved on from my destroyed books. My muscle reflexes had me walking towards my book shelf to browse through Glück's collections, to confirm Statement 3's validity. Except these collections along with works of other writers are now gone. Eaten by termites. What's left is Vita Nova. Another sign, perhaps. I would stare at the shelf and feel poor for all I've lost; but I would just have to believe that the universe has made space for even more glorious readings.

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