Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hungry Ears

As recently as only five years ago, I mainly listened to radio when I was out walking or bicycling. Now my listening habits are much more diversified. My, how the iPod has enriched my life. First of all, I much appreciate the ability to build a music library and create playlists.The more music I collect, the more I seem to want. I guess you could say I have hungry ears.

When I am making art, I like to listen to all kinds of music, including world, folk, rock, classical, New Age, you name it. Brandi Carlile, Slaid Cleaves, Alejandro Escovedo, Dar Williams, Unbunny, Gipsy Kings, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, Glen Hansard and Natalie Merchant all have places on my Best Rated playlist.When I am writing, I need instrumental music, and don't mind playing Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" or Erik Satie's "Piano Works" over and over.

But most of all, I rely on my iPod for intellectual content via NPR podcasts. I am hooked on "The Splendid Table" for foodie topics, "Krista Tippett On Being" for ethics, spirituality, psychology and scientific topics, and "New Yorker: Out Loud" for at least a smattering of  their great magazine articles I don't seem to have time to read. "All Songs Considered" helps me keep up with the latest music trends. "This American Life" is sometimes goofy, other times serious, always unpredictable. And I would be lost without the "Sunday Puzzle" podcast. I tend to have way more stuff on hand than I can ever catch up with, but that's a good thing. If I am using the sewing machine or doing housework, listening to such shows really makes the work go faster.

Being retired, I am guilty of taking the need to keep my mind challenged, so the podcasts help to flood my brain with new information, in addition, of course, to reading books, magazines and newspapers. I also enjoy attending lectures at the Jung Center of Houston. Right now I am attending a four week poetry lecture, "Singers of the Soul: Five Poets Who Sing What Matters Most" given by Jungian analyst James Hollis. It always feels great to sit down and listen to his multi-layered interpretations of any topic. When I attend lectures, I have to take notes. Whether I will ever read them again or not, it doesn't matter, it just feels good to make that ear-to-mind-to-hand connection. Maybe I like feeling like a student again, for hopefully we are never done learning!

I also attend lectures at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Jewish Community Center. Last but not least, when time and finances allow, I enjoy attending Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) programs, always a good mix of travel, education and recreation. I hope none of this sounds like bragging -- I don't mean it that way. I am grateful for everything I have mentioned, and just wanted to give humble thanks for the many ways culture and media supply me with content. If you have any suggestions for my "hungry ears", please leave a comment!

collage by KAO: "Grace Notes"

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