What is an avid bookworm’s worst fear? There’s nothing to read? Now, come on. We know that this world is full of way too much literature that this scenario could never happen. No, I’m talking that dreaded thing that we all seem to never have enough of… time.
Over the past few years, I’ve struggled to incorporate my reading time into my busy schedule. After all, who has time to read when you’re a full time grad student, single mother, who happens to work six jobs? Or a first year teacher, who is working two part-time jobs, while trying to find enough time to help her son become more socially involved by signing him up for the Boy Scouts. The fact is, scheduling time to curl up with a book has always been difficult for me. If I could make a living reading books, I would. But I can’t and the real world has really put a strain on my reading.
However, my time constraints have helped to open me up to the world of podcasts. If you followed me during my brief Twitter “fame” days (because let’s be honest, I wasn’t really Twitter famous), you know I use to run a weekly podcast during each season of True Blood. But for the most part, I never really understood or got into the whole idea of it all. But over the past year, I’ve really delved into the wonderful world of podcasts.
I know, I know. You are probably assuming I would listen to podcasts about books. In truth, I only have one literary podcast I listen to and it’s one of my least listened to podcasts. No, my podcast “cup of tea” is all about murder. Which sounds weird and morbid. But the truth is, I’ve been a huge True Crime junkie since I was little. So when a friend of mine suggested listening to a podcast called “My Favorite Murder,” I thought why not? Before you know it, I had binged every episode they had and tuned in for their biweekly episodes religiously.
But that was just the start of my podcast obsession and now I have dozens of podcasts that I have either finished completely (“Stranglers” and “S Town”), ones I tune into every week (“Murder Squad”, “Dark Side Of” and “This Podcast Will Kill You”), or even those I catch up on when I’ve caught up with everything else (“Tales”, “Mythology”, and “Haunted Places”). I’ve even incorporated a podcast that helps me to fall asleep on those nights when I’m having trouble winding down!
The story telling is helpful to me when I’m so busy that I can’t find time for myself. I can put in my earbuds and learn something new or hear about a new version of a myth or fairytale that I love. I mentioned in my previous post about how hard my last year was. Every day, I dreaded waking up and driving to school. I am usually the kind of person who loves working and has been able to find joy in most of the jobs I’ve ever done. But this past year, I was struggling and it’s only because I had the hosts of these podcasts to keep me company as I commuted to and from work, or spent countless hours grading, or even trying to catch up on whatever housework was slacking, that I made it through this year. I even incorporated little tidbits and facts into lessons at school (aka belladonna being the source for the saying, “Mad Hatter”).
So, why did I allow myself to become obsessed with podcasts? For me, podcasts help me to manage my anxiety and stress. Yes, many of the things I’m listening about are terrible, but they fascinate me. They feed my desire to learn and they even help with my morbid fascination with murder. That’s not fair, being curious about murder, why someone kills, or even just learning about the stories of the victims is not morbid. It’s human to be curious and to wonder about things we don’t understand. And it’s human to try to find understanding in things that are outside of our realm of reasoning. That’s why I love podcasts like “My Favorite Murder.” Karen and Georgia talk about anxiety and therapy in a way that made me comfortable enough to admit that I needed help. I’ve recently read their book Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered, and I loved it. It was nice to see that other people experience the same kind of problems as I do and that they don’t always magically do the right thing to fix it. The book is real and it gives the reader a sense that it’s okay to admit that you might be a little messed up. As long as you own it and work on it, that’s the most important thing.
I don’t listen to literary podcasts because I don’t want to replace the act of reading. So I look to topics I wouldn’t typically have time to read about or would want to spend a lot of time reading about. The truth is, podcast helped me get through this past year and I am thankful for all of the interesting ones that exist. I’m not sure how I’m going to balance writing, reading, and listening to podcasts. But I am excited to keep moving forward.
So my question to you is: What’s your favorite podcast(s)?