How Islanders can confess their innermost secrets
Podcast promises anonymity in exchange for your intimate revelations
You can reveal your most intimate secrets in the confessional this weekend — at a Charlottetown coffee shop.
A new podcast called Coffee Shop Confessionals is asking people to record their "confessions," some of which will be used in upcoming episodes.
We want to give people the opportunity to be real in a safe environment.— Sophia Ball
"We are going to pre-record random confessions from strangers — or anybody — and we're going to play them anonymously and then talk about them," said podcast co-creator Tamara Steele. Steele is also an actor, musician and arts administrator.
"I think it gives us a look at the stories and the intimate moments in our lives that make us human, that connect us," added co-creator Sophia Ball, who's also a blogger, storyteller and project manager.
"I think there's a power in our moments that are vulnerable, which is what we are hoping for from the confessions — that they are raw and honest," Ball said.
The two friends were looking for a fun, creative project to do together. They're planning to launch the weekly podcast itself July 1 on Apple podcasts.
They have dozens of confessions recorded already, some at last fall's Art in the Open.
People have divulged suffering from postpartum depression, struggling with moral issues and more.
"Some of them are quite funny, and some are absolutely ridiculous and some of them are actually quite serious — people do, when they think no one's listening, tend to get pretty deep," Steele said.
While the pair is mostly aiming for humour in the podcast, Steele said not every episode will be hilarious.
Aiming for anonymity
The pair will have a tabletop glass-front recording booth set up at the coffee shop the last Sunday of every month for the next year or so. This Sunday, they're offering a limited number of free cups of java as rewards.
They're promising to alter the speed and the pitch of the recorded voices just enough to make them unrecognizable.
"We want to give people the opportunity to be real in a safe environment and to be able to explore things that maybe they couldn't tell their friends and their family," Ball said.
While many people might just tune in to try to identify voices, they say they plan to work their hardest to keep listeners scratching their heads about who's who.
They're not out to ruin lives, they stress.
"As soon as you say you want a confession, people automatically assume you are looking for something completely scandalous," Steele said, quickly adding, "which we're not opposed to!"
No matter what the experience, we're very rarely alone in it.— Sophia Ball
"I feel like most people have that one thing just really wish they could get off their chest," Steele said.
They're hoping by sharing and listening to the confessions of others, people may realize that what was weighing on them wasn't so terrible after all.
"No matter what the experience, we're very rarely alone in it," Ball said. "And that can be a powerful liberation for people."
'Affect real change'
If a confession was of a serious crime, however, the podcasters say they'd have no choice but to contact police — they say no one's revealed anything like that to date.
They've already talked with P.E.I.'s Community Legal Information Association about what to tell participants who reveal something serious, like sexual assault.
"Perhaps we can do our part to take these very serious stories into the light of day be part of the cultural shift that makes it OK to talk about these things, and to affect real change," Ball said.
If they think listeners or participants need resources like numbers for crisis lines, they plan to provide them in the episodes.
They're also asking participants to sign waivers, so they will have their contact information.
The podcast is for now a passion project with dreams of advertising revenue someday if it's successful.
And what podcasts are they themselves listening to now? Ball is bingeing on The Moth while Steele's favourites now are LeVar Burton Reads and Lore.