One of the things I really miss about living in the same city as my friend Allan? He’s exceptionally interested in things. All sorts of things. And he accumulates people and ideas and interests as naturally as most people breath, which means he’s often the infection vector for all sorts of interesting things. Case in point: It happened. I became a pod person.
SPECIFICALLY: THE ALLUSIONIST PODCAST
Al put this on over the weekend and initially I was…well, ambivalent. I have flirted with podcasts in the past, but I haven’t actually listened to one regularly since I was unemployed and stuck at home 24-7 way back in 2010. People would occasionally tell me about great stuff that was out there and I’d nod, and think perhaps I should check it out, and never really get around to it.
But the weekend started with Allan pointing out all sorts of stuff he was listening too, and it all sounded great. Then he suggested an episode of the Allusionist as a starting point. It’s a podcast about language and etymology, which is kinda like catnip given my interests, and host Helen Zaltzman is phenomenally easy to listen to.
I lasted exactly one episode before I was bugging Al about how he kept track of things, then broke down and loaded a podcast app onto the tablet so I can follow this and a handful of others.
The Allusionist, though, it’s a series I’d recommend to any writer out there. I’m still working my way through the series, but it’s full of things I keep making notes about because they’re brilliant tools for creating settings or thinking about a character. Which makes a kind of sense: words are, after all, a writer’s stock in trade, and anything that lets us sit down and think through language has the potential to be incredibly beneficial.
I’d strongly recommend the Criminallustionist episode, which features a long stretch of how to spot a lie by cycling a story backwards and forwards in time in order to spot false details that serves as a masterclass for writers wondering how to make their stories feel real. Similarly, the pun episode articulates all sorts of things I’d never considered about why I dislike the pun as a form of humour, but also makes me reconsider my stance (a little).
Which brings us to the point of this post: I now have a podcast app on my phone. I have a fair idea of where they’ll fit into my schedule. Now I need to fill said app with interesting feeds, since there’s currently four podcasts on the list and I’ll burn through the back catalogue of episodes in the space of a few weeks.
So…what are you following? What do you recommend? I’m willing to give pretty much anything a go, although my preferences run towards things that are short, curated, smart, and very geeky.