A couple of years ago, my husband and I went on a long backpack. It was really very long. We crossed state lines; we passed from one season into the next. For weeks, we talked - about the scenery, the route, memories we had just remembered, the food we were missing. Eventually, we were talked out. We just walked, enjoying the quiet, the rustling, the birds. As the miles stretched into the hundreds, I discovered podcasts.
For an hour a day, or until my cell phone battery died, I listened. Fascinating conversations beamed directly into my ear with the immediacy of a great dinner party. I stumbled; I was distracted. The words were more real than the forest I walked through.
I am continually learning of new and wonderful podcasts for writers. Here are two discoveries:
The New Yorker: Fiction podcast. In each episode, the august literary magazine invites a writer to choose a story from their archives to read and discuss. Salman Rushdie reads and discusses a story by Italo Calvino. Mary Gaitskill reads John Cheever. Junot Diaz reads Edwidge Danticat. It's like a master class in modern fiction.
ALOUD @ the Los Angeles Public Library. Book-inspired conversations, readings, and performances that take place at the historic downtown library in LA. Through ALOUD, I've made the acquaintance of writers I hadn't previously heard of. My favorite episode so far: "Eccentric Embodiments," in which authors Valeria Luiselli and Guadelupe Nettel, two leading voices in contemporary Mexican literature meet to share their recent work.
Available wherever you get your podcasts. Enjoy!