The Ask – Year 3 in Review

Dear Listeners.

Here we are at the tail end of April 2023. 

How’d we get here? 

I apologize for the long, extended silence since the 20th episode of the podcast with author and columnist David French in December of last year. 

Prior to this episode, I had been pretty good about putting out one episode of The Ask each month, with some exceptions. 

Entering the spring of 2023, that obviously did not happen this time around. 

There are many reasons for this. I will share a few of them with you now.

Reason 1:

At the end of last year, I started a relationship with a woman living out of state. That meant I was on the road almost every weekend to visit with her. 

Those weekends were generally also the only time I had available to work on the podcast, but I had been single for several years and put a lot of importance on this relationship. 

Reason 2:


Cards on the table – guilt. 

I have been so blessed to have the opportunity to speak with filmmakers, artists, activists, and writers as guests on a podcast as small and obscure as mine. 

However, a part of me felt conflicted about continuing to seek out these conversations, given the limited reach and growth of The Ask. 

They gifted me their valuable time at no upside or reward for themselves, and ideally, guesting on my podcast provides something for the guest as well as the host and a listening audience. 

Reason 3:

At some point last year, I was very fortunate to be graced on the podcast by my good friend Cliff W. Gilmore

He brought his curiosity, values, and interests to The Ask. I appreciated having a respected and trusted partner to exchange ideas, prepare episodes, and bring their unique perspective to our guests, topics, and subject matter. 

However, at the end of last year, Cliff had to step back and focus on important next steps for himself and his family as they embraced an exciting new chapter of their lives that required them to relocate outside of New Mexico.

Fast Forward to Now:

I have now had months to think about the podcast and its meaning to my life. 

I miss it, and I remain committed to The Ask heart and soul for the rest of what life I have ahead of me. 

This year, I plan to make the time for The Ask and release one episode a month. 

I will continue to seek out extraordinary people and remain forever grateful for those who take time out of their work and lives, to join Cliff and me for a conversation.

Cliff, too, has the time to return to the podcast. A few weeks ago, he sent me this text, and it meant the world to me: 

… I was touched that some person out there discovered the podcast by accident and enjoyed it enough to want to recommend it to his wife, Debra. 

It signaled to me that no matter what was happening with the podcast now, someday, somewhere – with someone, our episodes would have value to them. That text helped me return to my work on The Ask. 

Lastly, I feel there are plenty of places people can hear about how bad or broken our world may be. Here on The Ask, I intend to produce episodes with Cliff that instill hope, love, and understanding, give people courage, and make people want to try and make a difference – whether in their family, community, or workplace, or country. 

That will be an important part of my work on the podcast in the months and years ahead.

So please know my Co-Host, Cliff W. Gilmore, and I, Waise Azimi, remain committed to The Ask and look forward to the conversations ahead. 

We ask for just a little more grace and patience as we put in the building blocks to make this podcast workable for both of us in the long term, alongside our full-time careers and personal lives. 

We will use a few more months to produce a few episodes in advance to avoid working from deadline to deadline. This will allow us to keep a reliable release schedule even if we run into challenges coordinating interviews or production.  But new episodes of The Ask will come.

 Hopefully, they will be worth the wait.

And now, like in previous years, let’s look back on the third year of The Ask Podcast before heading into the future.  

For the inaugural episode of 2022, we spoke to Peabody-awarded journalist, bestselling author, and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Sebastian Junger about his latest book: FREEDOM.

We next interviewed Igor Kossov and Anna Myroniuk in Episode 16 about the launch of the Kyiv Independent in the aftermath of the turmoil at the Kyiv Post and the looming Russian threat on the borders of Ukraine just days before Russia invaded.

Since our interview, Anna and Igor continue to report on the issues facing the people of Ukraine for the Kyiv Independent, and Anna has written poignantly about the invasion and the plight of her people in both the Washington Post and New York Times.

We invite you to check out the Patreon of the Kyiv Independent and support the work of Igor and Anna, and the rest of their team:

In Episode 17, we had the opportunity to interview Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Doug Shultz about his work on THE LINE, a four-part docuseries about the trial of U.S. Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher – and the blurred lines between right and wrong in the War on Terror.

We then connected with Cliff’s former colleague in the Marines, Phil Klay, in Episode 18 to discuss his work on Uncertain Ground: Citizenship in an Age of Endless, Invisible War, a powerful series of essays about our country in the wake of the forever wars.

Our next interview in Episode 19 gave us the chance to reunite with past guest and award-winning author Elliot Ackerman to discuss his work on The Fifth Act: America’s End in Afghanistan.

A personal history of Elliot’s own time fighting in the war as a Marine Corps Special Operations Team Leader, weaving towards the shocking conclusion to a year effort in Afghanistan for the United States and allies, as the Taliban swept back to power.

Finally, in Episode 20, we ended the year interviewing award-winning author David French about his work on Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation. 

An engrossing and clearly written meditation examining the dangers of the widening ideological gap between Left and Right here in the United States, and the possible consequences if we continue down this path of uncompromising anger and division.

Reflecting on the third year of The Ask podcast, Cliff and I remain deeply grateful to our guests and to you, our listeners. We’re excited to continue the podcast’s mission to seek out extraordinary people and bring you captivating answers.

We hope to see you soon at the next episode of The Ask. ^_^

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