During this whole quarantine thing, I’ve often found myself bored, impatient and maybe even not so nice to be around. I’ve never read so many books, watched so much TV, sent so many heartfelt cards and letters or written so many chapters for my latest book. That last part is actually a surprisingly good thing to come out of the virus.
Anyway, for the good of those around me, I decided I better get out of my own head and crawl inside someone else’s. Yes, reading is definitely a good way to do just that, but I somehow felt compelled to move my body off the couch, out of my writing chair and away from the kitchen table. I needed a new form of distraction that might also have the added side effect of expanding my mind.
While many of you are probably familiar with the eclectic world of podcasting, I was not until recently. I am proud to say that I am now. Almost every morning I have been getting up, lacing up my tennies and plugging into a different world; the podcasting world. I make it a point to choose topics I have no prior knowledge of and sometimes even no interest in. Why? To try to jar my brain back to life and it has turned out pretty well. So much so, that I’m now recommending it to the rest of the world or at least to my A Slice of Orange blog readers.
My morning walks or podwalks as I have taken to calling them, have turned out to be one of my favorite parts of my day. I’ve learned so many new and different things as I huff and puff through the hills where I live. I discovered the story of the paleontologist who actually coined the word “dinosaur. ” Now I’m not a real dinosaur fan, but this was one interesting and rather sad story of how ego can get in the way of success. I also enjoyed the tale about how the word “vaccine” was birthed. Both pieces were short, attention grabbing and informative stories from the FridayScience podcast; a site I highly recommend.
But wait, there’s more. I tuned through several other podcasts to learn about the fictional character, Dracula, how to make myself ten percent happier, the true meaning of the word imagination, how the brain adapts when learning a foreign language, techniques for taking a dress pattern from size ten to size fourteen, what happens when you have a heart attack and the value of including kale in your daily diet. I also listened to wonderful stories chronicling everything from mysteries to murders.
Not only did I learn a lot of new stuff, I also benefited in a couple of other ways. I found myself extending my walks for longer periods of time because I didn’t want to quit before the podcast was over. I was also introduced to new vocabulary and exciting strategies for expressing an idea—something every writer can benefit from. The word Crepuscular, a large or bulky body type, was just one of my discoveries and is sure to be a new character descriptor in my next book.
Okay, I admit there is a lot of weird stuff, out there . The number of programs about interestrial visitors is mind boggling. And some of the podcasts featuring famous murderers did nothing for my scaredy cat issues. The good thing is, with the touch of a finger, I can always flip to another topic. Oh, one more thing. I learned how to create my own podcast. Perhaps this could be my next endeavor?
Plug in and start your day with your own podwalk. I hope you find it as enjoyable as I have.
Happy May 20th!
How is it that I constantly receive gifts? Gifts from family, every day, all day. “Thought I’d work on your fish table.” Two years ago, at a gathering of friends, I saw a small table—shaped like a fish—of a good height to sit between rocking chairs on my back porch, to set a coke on while I watch the cardinals that have decided to nest in those ugly bushes I’ve been meaning to chain saw down. But not now, because they are roosting there, and I can’t bear to see them go. During this time of pandemic, social distancing and stay at home, my husband is making me a fish table. Of course, it won’t be shaped like a fish, because he hasn’t the tools for that, so he was going to carve a fish into the top. Now it’s three maple leaves. I like maple leaves better.
My son is teaching me to code in html. Okay, he’s laughing with me as I learn to do the simplest of things. I can now create a website that spins a cat picture.
Gifts from friends. A telephone call. Have you recovered? I had a minor infection, cured with good ole antibiotics. My doctor’s gift. Yes, I’m fine. Do you need anything? Yes, I needed you to call, but you’ve done that, you’ve given me the security of a friend’s voice. And I remember what a good friend you are. So incredibly dependable. How do I deserve the wonderful gift of you?
Gifts from strangers. Why? Why do people who don’t know me, give me gifts? Watercolor videos on YouTube. Almost I’ve gotten out my paints. Still scared. Maybe I’ll watch a few more videos. Comedians. I like the guy who sings with famous people in his car. I do that. You know, sans the comedian and sans the famous people. I dance, too. I like to make the people in the car next to me laugh.
Tim Ferriss, gave me a gift, his book: The 4-Hour Chef. More than a cookbook it teaches the reader how to quickly learn anything. Tim recommends the creation of a “One-Pager”. On one page (8.5” x 11”, no cheating with super large sheets of paper) he recommends writing down the most important concepts you must grasp to learn the desired skill. For ten years I have struggled to create meaningful stories, stories that enrich lives. Here is my One-Pager for aspiring writers. It’s good for sticking to your refrigerator, or the wall behind your desk. It’s a gift.
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