7 May 2018
By Shane M Hanlon
If you’re here, you’re likely coming from this post I wrote about the process of writing/recording Curie (if not, you should read that first). So, imagine the below text as the intro to that piece in place of “I started writing this piece…” paragraph and followed by the “I honestly don’t know…” paragraph. Enjoy.
I started playing drums in…5th grade? My older brother had this classic Ludwig vintage drum set and I was obsessed w/ it (I still have that drum set). This led to joining my middle school band (obviously) and becoming a more well-rounded percussionist. But this was the late 90’s and right around w/ Emo music was gaining popularity. As an adolescent/teen in rural America who was not into country and had lots of feelings, the music spoke to me. But I didn’t just want to be a drummer – I wanted to be a guitarist. So, of course some friends and I started a band. We were all multi-instrumentalists, but I mainly played guitar and sang sad songs about girls and how crummy my (let’s face it, pretty great/easy) life was. We became the band at our school We would play local shows, birthday parties, and headline the talent show every year. Music was a big part of my life all through high school and even my undergraduate years at college. But then science happened.
As I became more and more interested in science and saw my career path taking me to research and grad school, music began to fade. I still played here and there but I never really enjoyed covers and writing angsty songs about sadness and girls as a 20-something just didn’t appeal to me. Grad school didn’t leave time for much else other than science so by the time I got my PhD, music had almost completely faded from my life.
When I came to DC (my current home), I realized that while science is a major part of my life, it doesn’t have to be the only part of my life. And science doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive when it comes to my other interests. I started working with the science storytelling organization The Story Collider. And I had more free time so I picked up my guitar again.
–Shane M Hanlon is Program Manager of AGU’s Sharing Science Program. He also writes nerdy science songs as Darwin & Curie. Find him @EcologyOfShane.