Have you ever listened to The Daily, a podcast offered Monday through Friday by the New York Times? I’m not an avid follower, but if you haven’t heard the episode from June 26, I heartily recommend it. Send your spirits soaring if they need a boost and if not, well, lucky you!
Maybe a silver lining that this time home has given me is podcasts. In the past after returning home from a day of substitute teaching, I’d want silence as I chopped vegetables for salad or otherwise prepared dinner and unwound. Occasionally I experience tinnitus which a day surrounded by school sounds exacerbates. It’s merely an annoyance, I know, and sporadic, a function of being over 60 and my history of lots of loud music, but post-school silence is golden.
I’ve awakened to a poem in my inbox for years, a quiet aubade and a habit begun over a decade ago when April brought National Poetry month. Now, however, I not only read poems delivered by the Academy of American Poets and the Writer’s Almanac (also available as a podcast) each day, but I savor the sound of The Slowdown with Tracy K. Smith which she began during her tenure as United States Poet Laureate. I sit with my pen poised over my notebook and know that I’ll find something to set me writing. My journaling has blossomed with her morning reflections—five miraculous minutes.
I anticipate Friday mornings and the new feature that The Moth has incorporated into its weekly line-up, “All Together Now Fridays.” This podcast first aired in 1997 and features extraordinary storytellers. Every episode concludes with: “Have a story-worthy week.” I love that! During this enforced stay-at-home time, it offers the Friday shortened version, under half an hour, and closes with writing suggestions. Usually I’ve heard something from the storytellers that throws me into my own experiences, and I’m writing away by the conclusion. I love the FULL Moth broadcasts, but Fridays are my fix.
I listened to the June 26th episode of The Daily this morning, intrigued by both the title, “A Bit of Relief:The Long-Distance Chorus,” and the blurb that introduces a 22-year veteran Staten Island music teacher of chorus for fourth and fifth graders. I am late to this party, and I know online versions of graduations abound, but there’s something special about Gregg Breinberg.
“And such as it is to be of these more or less I am,
And of these one and all I weave the song of myself.”
—from Walt Whitman “Song of Myself”