Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Podcasts, Anyone?

I’ve been hearing about podcasts for years, but never thought I’d listen to one. They just didn’t interest me. Even after reading Laura Oles’ guest post awhile back, I still wasn’t sure it was for me. But now, well, I never thought I’d say this, I’ve become semi-addicted to them. Not addicted-addicted because that would mean I would listen to every single podcast no matter what, but I have become fans of a few selected ones. I tend to listen to them while I’m cleaning or working on painting projects.

This all started when I got an opportunity to be interviewed by author Alexia Gordon on her podcast, The Cozy Corner with Alexia Gordon. I had done a podcast interview before for Destination Mystery but, other than listening to my own interview, I never listened to any of the other episodes.

This time I thought I should listen to some of the other interviews Alexia has done to get a feel for her interviewing style and the type of questions I might encounter. Plus, a number of the people she’s interviewed are either authors I know or ones whose books I’ve enjoyed.

Most podcasts are available on a number of different platforms, free with commercials. I have an iPod Touch so I just went searching on the podcast app and found The Cozy Corner and started listening. The podcasts are relatively short, 20 – 30 minutes or so each, so it was easy to squeeze them into my day. I found I enjoyed hearing authors talk about their books and their writing.

Then the History Channel started a HISTORY This Week podcast so I started listening to that one. This is where I found out about the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919. The author of a book on the flood was interviewed so I got a copy and read it. It’s an extremely interesting book by Stephen Puleo called Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919. HISTORY This Week also recently did a podcast on the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1919, which I also found interesting.

Then I found Hollywood and Crime where I listened to a multi-episode series on the Black Dahlia and other horrific murders of women that occurred in Los Angeles in the late 1940s. That was an eye opener. I’d heard about the Black Dahlia, of course, but not the others.

Now, let’s get back to the podcast interview that started it all. It was recorded on March 7th before all of this craziness started using Zoom (audio only). I’d never heard of Zoom until that interview, now I see it mentioned everywhere as people shelter at home and use it to hold meetings and classes and generally connect with others.

The interview is available today (Wednesday 4/8) at 7 a.m. CDT. I’m always a bit nervous about being interviewed because sometimes my mind just goes blank or I think of a much better answer to a question long after the interview is over. And, of course, this time was one of those times where I thought of a much better answer or at least additional things I could have said.

My main character is a computer programmer so Alexia wanted to know if I’d made her one because I was trying to encourage young women to get into the field. (Or something like that. I don’t remember exactly how she worded it.)

Honestly, that question floored me because I never thought of any characters that I’ve created as having an impact beyond the story. Maybe I should think about that more. I made Rory a freelance programmer partly because I needed a job for her that would be flexible enough so she could do sleuthing during the day if needed and partly because I was a programmer for 20 years so I understand how she thinks. Plus anyone who writes code tends to be a little analytical so I figured that was a good attribute for an amateur sleuth. Then I think I blathered on about something for a while.

What I really should have added, but didn’t think of until later, is that when I chose my own major in college, I never really thought about whether it would be difficult or “appropriate” for me because I was a woman. I just did what I wanted to do. And, really, that’s what I think everyone should do when it comes to deciding a major or profession. Forget about gender stereotypes and go for it. I was fully aware that I was doing something that was a little unusual at the time. This was the late 70s when Computer Science degrees were still fairly new. In the class of 100 CS majors I was a part of there were 4 or 5 women. I just didn’t see why that should stop me.

So, that’s my story. That’s what I would have added if I’d thought of it.

What about you all? Does anybody listen to podcasts? Any listening suggestions?


DP Lyle said...

Podcasts are wonderful ways to explore so many topics. And you can take them with you everywhere---at home,. the office, the car. Doesn't get any easier. I do have a humble suggestion for you and a podcast series I think you might like. It's my Criminal Mischief: The Art and Science of Crime Fiction. Designed for and directed to writers in all genres but particularly Crime Fiction. Check it out and let me know what you think.


Sybil Johnson said...

Thanks Doug. I think I will find it very interesting. It's now on my list!

Rick Blechta said...

The way I see it is "So many podcasts, so little time."

CBC has a radio show called "Podcast Playlist" which features many, many podcasts that are worth listening to and following. I seldom hear anything on that show where I'm wouldn't bother listening to the full podcast.

Of course, I love radio and on a sleepless night, I can't think of a better way to spend a few informative, entertaining hours.

Thanks for this post!

Sybil Johnson said...

There are a lot of podcasts out there all right. I didn't realize how many until I started looking. I found Podcast Playlist on my iPod Touches app. Will check it out. Thanks.