Monday, October 26, 2015

Podcasts - A Source of Inspiration


I first truly fell in love with podcasts when our daughter decided to go to a college that was eight hours away, located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We have always listened to podcasts on vacations, but then I always had new and interesting things to look at out the window, so I tended to be only half listening.


In the Upper Peninsula after you cross the Mackinac Bridge, you are rewarded for a little while with beautiful winding vistas along US 2, and occasional peeks of Lake Michigan. Once you turn off of US 2 though, and head into the interior of the Upper Peninsula, the only vistas are pin-straight country highways, bordered by pine timber forests on both sides. Usually, one or two of the four trips each year, the view consisted of pin-straight country highways, timber forests and snow which covered everything. About an hour and half into the three hour crossing of the U.P. to get to Marquette, I am fighting with all my might to keep my eyelids open. This is where the podcast has become a life saver, literally, if I happen to be driving. I will scroll through my husband's iPod options for podcasts, of which there are many, and pick something that I know will engage my mind for the next 30 minutes to an hour. My favorites are: This American Life with Ira Glass (I love Ira Glass), Stuff You Should Know with Chuck and Josh (always good for a laugh), or The Moth Story Hour. Occasionally I will try something new, but I always return to my favorites.


Recently, I found myself alone in the car for two days of driving to Pennsylvania to meet my friend Andrea for a week of Autumn photography in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon area. I could have done the trip all in one day, but I decided to split it up for the sake of my back, my legs, and my sanity.

Knowing that I would have a lot of time in the car alone, I begged my daughter to borrow her iPod for the trip. Her's has our whole library of music and podcasts on it, my iPod Nano is a bit more limited. So thankfully she agreed, and we traded iPods.


I had recently discovered Elizabeth Gilbert's new podcast series Magic Lessons, based on her new book, The Big Magic. I had listened to all twelve of them while doing the mundane chores related to housework, but I wanted to really be able to focus on them without the drone of the vacuum cleaner. I was halfway across our state before I pulled out the iPod, having stopped at a rest stop for a rest room break. Excited to get inspired by Liz and her various guests, I scanned through the podcasts, found her's, and pressed play. Much to my disappointment, I found that only the last episode of Magic Lessons had loaded. Thankfully though, it was the episode of her interview with Brene Brown. I listened to that interview twice through, which killed an hour of my remaining four hours of travel time.


Done with the second listening of that episode, I was feeling very inspired and eagerly sought out any other creativity podcasts that might be in the queue. As I sat in the second rest stop parking lot and scrolled through the podcast list, my eye caught one in particular, Lenswork --Photography and the Creative Process by Brooks Jensen. I had subscribed to this podcast over a year ago, but had never listened to a single episode. I am not exactly sure why, but I am a firm believer in that nothing ever happens out of the blue.


I started with the latest episode and worked my way backwards. Since I had a year's worth of material, they kept me going for quite a long time. Each episode is only 5-10 minutes in length. Before I knew it I had listened to more than a dozen episodes. Eventually I had to shut the iPod off for a while, my mind was overflowing with inspiration and ideas; ideas for my work, inspiration for things to photograph, and best of all ideas for blog posts.


As I work through these podcast episodes more slowly, now that I am home again, I am taking notes and jotting down creative ideas. I plan to share things that have caught my attention in upcoming blog posts. I am excited to share my thoughts with you, and I would love to hear your thoughts as I delve into these various topics. Maybe I will finally start that FaceBook page I have always pondered starting for the blog, because I would love to connect more with my readers and get some conversations going.

Resources

Podcasts:
This American Life
Stuff You Should Know
The Moth
Magic Lessons
Lenswork

Pennsylvania Grand Canyon

21 comments:

  1. Sarah, I know exactly what you mean about driving in the U.P. I too am a huge podcast fan with very diverse interests. Some of my current favorites are; Good Job Brain (trivia), Ask Me Another, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, Snap Judgement, Radiolab, Criminal, The Memory Palace, Mystery Show and of course Serial. I also listen to This American Life, The Moth and several tech and food related shows.

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  2. I'm going to check out those podcasts Sarah. Driving in the UK as you can imagine is not like driving in the US so podcasts are rarely listened to in the car but I'm always on the lookout for new listening material.

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  3. thanks for the inspiration….and ohhhhhh, these photos!!!!

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  4. What a great post! Thank you for this inspiration ... I have an assignment now for this dreary Monday morning. I actually subscribed to Brooks Jensens magazine Lenswork for several years but never listened to his podcasts. Off to find them.

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  5. I've never listened to a podcast-it's evident you are truly inspired tho! These photos....wow

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  6. That 5th picture...wow! I am glad you are finding so much inspiration. Thanks for the links too.

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  7. This is something that I have yet to delve into. It would be really useful on car or bus journeys, especially ones for our hobbies, I will seek some out. Your photography is stunning as usual Sarah, and well done on that marathon car journey xx

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  8. "Conversation" was what kept me engaged initially as I dove into blogging. It has fallen off some these last months, and I find myself less engaged...which has been bumming me out. I am eager to engage in conversation - though haven't EVER listened to a pod cast...not kidding. I'm more of a watcher than a listener - don't seem to have figured out how to fit listening in to my 'down' time... Anyhow - I am someone who is really touched by your photography, love your instagram themes and look forward to more conversation!

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  9. I see there are a couple of others out there, like me, that have never listened to a pod cast. So glad that you've found inspiration as you listened to them. Oh, and love, love, love all the snow images.

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  10. I don't know how much of the podcast I would hear with all of the beautiful scenery distracting me!

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  11. I've never listened to any Podcasts (I must be behind the times) but it sounds like a nice way to learn new things.
    Loved your pretty photos here today even though they were (winter) shots they still were quite beautiful. I'm not a fan of winter but I do enjoy a beautiful winter scene like these.

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  12. I've only listened to a few podcasts - mostly on mindfulness and health. However, I want to explore the sites you've mentioned. I'm very interested in inspiration for photography. I particularly love 2 of your photos (though all are wonderful): the person with red scarf on the rock and the ice going into the distance.

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  13. Chilly photos but great post. I am glad that you have found new inspiration.

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  14. Gorgeous country in these photographs...I love the one of you standing on the rock or is that Mallory? I've listened to pod casts on and off but you have inspired me to drag out my ipod and check out these new ones you suggested....

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  15. Gorgeous photos and Podcast info . . .

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  16. My sister got me listening to podcasts, there is an endless supply of information and also inspiration on them. One of my favorites is the last episode 'Magic Lesson' you mentioned, so good. I am going to check out Brooks Jensen the next time I want to listen to a podcast. Your snow images are gorgeous! The blue sky makes such a beautiful background for the stark white snow. I really hope you don't have that much snow yet. :)

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  17. I havent listened to podcasts in a long while. Those photos are magnificent, well done and greetings.

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  18. Sarah always love your enthusiasm and continual seeking for new ideas. Your photos here are amazing and I will definitely check out your podcasts. something I have been thinking about a lot lately but have not yet investigated. Will check these out for sure. Thanks for all of your innovativeness!

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  19. I just love that picture of the broken ice, like a mosaic atop the cold water. Your writing and photographs continue to be enticing. I just got Gilbert's Big Magic in audio book format. Started listening a couple days ago. Quite invigorating. Thanks for always sharing so openly.

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  20. Beautiful photos and writing. I think your landscapes are always profound.

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  21. I appreciate the podcast recommendations! I used to listen to many on my commute when I was driving a lot. Now they add up but I don't get time to listen. I will do better. LOVE your photos!

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Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)