Saturday, March 18, 2017

Listening to the Podcasts By Steve Simpson


I decided to do a small project to help me get to know my fellow writers. Over a few sittings, I am listening to the podcasts while I work on my school art project. I sit in a swivel chair between my computer and my easel and move fluidly from one to the other.
            I’ve never written like this before, a real-time stream of conscience, but I will give it a try. These are my thoughts.
I loved “Camping” read by Rebecca Clifford, I am a lifetime camper, from age three on, missing very few years in between, The first thing I did when I got my driver’s license at age sixteen was go camping. This story brought back wonderful memories of the traveling in a jam-packed car and finding a place to squeeze in among the pillows and sleeping bags. The punchline made me laugh. I had to repeat the story to my friends. It delivered well as a retold story. Very inspiring for my own camping memories.
I had to listen to Dean’s story “A Fishing Tale” twice, it was very confusing to me the first time after a second listen it was all clear to me, I was confused. Not that I didn’t like this story, it was very poetic. But it made me feel deeply melancholy when it was over. It made me appreciate my childhood growing up without a father who was not an alcoholic. This fact now strikes a loud chord of appreciation for me. I must bring this up with my father. It also reminded me of four-foot-tall bags of puffed rice and my fathers failed experiment with powdered milk.
What I hear Is a metaphor for a sad childhood, what am I missing. I’m not sure, I’m going to listen again. I must also add that I really admired “A Brief History of the Spoon”. I would love to take a stab at this concept.
The limericks were brilliant, love the Lions Head best. I grew up in a house where you learned early from my dad create rhyming poetry and songs on the fly. If you dropped and broke a cup on the floor, you would hear a song about it. My dad’s limericks always started with There once was a girl, man, dog, etc. from Nantucket, and you could always guess the second line.
‘Queen West” by Gloria Geller, I imagine this poem came from a stroll down the street one day, I’m not sure if it was sunny or cloudy and dull. Renewal is a double-edged sword, it cuts the way for a promising future but at the same time trims away history. I wonder why the title is not ‘The Ghosts of Queen West’.
I guessed Lenard Cohen before Gloria said his name, odd that he was the first image that came to mind and odd that I never realized before that he always wore a hat. I was a fan but never knew it, I was always throwing a song of his on my mixed tapes, ‘First We Take Manhattan, Then We Take Berlin’. And ‘Closing Time’, my favorite.
Lenny Ashton’s ‘A Memorable New Year’s Eve’ had an important message for me about rejection. No matter how many times I am told, or tell myself to expect rejection, I am still never prepared for it. Why is that? I was expecting to hear the word ‘properly’ at the end, as in ‘incinerated properly’.
When I read something, in this case, listen, I always try come away with a lesson. Something to store in my memory castle that will be of use in the future. The lesson I got from ‘Afternoon on the Patio’ by Jennette was the value of observation. That a single point of view provides so much to see and contemplate. We never slow down long enough to really look for ourselves.
I first heard ‘A Grown Up Job’ at the Short Works ceremony. At age 10, Jennette was working in a field picking fruit, now ten-year-old are complaining about when they can have a cell phone. Has western society bread all sense of value out of our children? It looks that way to me. I am reminded of the abundance of life experience brought to the HPL table.
I had to put down my tools and put my elbows on the desk to listen to Gregory read ‘Four Day Weekend’. I was not expecting an information piece. It requires a different level of listening, one where information must be digested slowly. But at the same time keep up with Gregory’s reading pace. It takes a couple of listens. I liked listening to this podcast, but I had to give it my undivided attention.

What I notice most about this growing collection of podcasts the wizened voices, and how comforting they sounded. The life experience comes through each story. My favorite, if I had to choose, was Dean’s fish story. It confounds me.  

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