Friends, Klingons, Romulans… listen up.
Today, let’s talk audiobooks and podcasts. For your listening pleasure, what is your pleasure?
Do you remember storytime back in kindergarten? The kids would gather on the rug and the teacher would hold up a book. They’d play a cassette tape—I am an 80s kid, yes—that had someone narrating the same story and there’d be a little beep to prompt the teacher to turn the page. I suppose that was my first experience with audiobooks.
Some time in the year of our Lord 2020, I ventured out of my domicile to enjoy as much fresh air as I could despite the mask upon my face, the distance that appeared anti-social, and the yearning for human interaction.
Also, taking those walks, usually later in the evening to avoid said human interaction I craved, helped clear my head from writing tasks and the monotony of quarantine life.
I appreciated the chill in the air as the -ber months wore on and even braved the elements through to the new year. I definitely got more steps in because I had something to listen to while trekking about. When it’s nothing but the sounds of nature and the distant street noise, and all you’re left with are the muffled sounds of your breath hitting your face mask, the walk becomes a more blatant effort of exercise rather than taking on a sense of adventure and exploration, in whatever way possible during a pandemic.
To keep me company on these strolls, I began listening to audiobooks and podcasts using bone conduction headphones. Personal preference, but I’m not a fan of being unable to hear my surroundings while already dealing with the distraction of focusing on the sounds making their way into my cranium.
That said, I can’t fully appreciate what I listen to while I’m out so my sounds of choice, when not music are nonfiction audiobooks and podcasts. Why? I can hear them without always actively listening. Similar to leaving a show on in the background while doing chores, it ends up being comforting background noise. Cleaning up around the house becomes more bearable.
I’ve tried audiobooks that had full casts of voice actors, (or one very creative and emotive voice actor), complete with sound effects and musical score. I think I need to revisit those or perhaps find the right one to click with because I often end up falling asleep to them. It’s not that the subject bores me, but I find I can’t concentrate on the story. I guess it’s also why I can’t get through a mindfulness meditation without falling asleep—and that’s after I’ve repeatedly distracted myself by losing sight of what I’m supposed to be minding. Go figure.
Interview-style podcasts, stand-up comedy, anything instructional or observational, rather than narrative are okay with me. It’s like someone’s chatting with me and I can go on my merry way. However, something more immersive like a full-blown story, effects, and all, requires more of my attention, provided I’m not too relaxed (i.e. in a comfy chair or lying down) and am less likely to fall asleep.
What do you like to listen to? Any subject? Favorite genres? Finding something good to listen to can help pass the time when times are especially in need of passing. And the infotainment factor is a pleasant bonus, too.
Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.
Until next time,