In my final piece on this mini-series about podcasts, I really hope I’ve saved the best for last!
For those new here, please feel free to visit my previous write-ups on this series.
But if you haven’t the time, it’s okay too. Because this is the one that really speaks to how and why I fell in love with podcasts and audio recordings. And how it has helped motivate me to write.
Summed up here by one simple truth — a truth that has everything to do with the one ultimate vehicle for all human connections – the voice!
When it comes to podcasts, it’s all about “the voice”
I’ll admit I’m a sucker for lovely voices on the air.
But who isn’t right?
On any given day, I would pick for company a sultry Sarah McLachlan-y type voice. Or the sage dulcet tone of a Barack Obama as he narrates his bestsellers like “A Promised Land” (by the way Mr Obama sir, didn’t you promise us a follow-up to that tome?).
But tone isn’t the only thing I’m gunning for when deciding what to listen to.
A great podcast voice should also feel both comforting and safe. A voice that speaks only TO me, not AT me. Almost like having a reassuring warm blanket right beside my ear. Like the one Peanuts‘ Linus Van Pelt is always holding.
A gentle whisper that, on some dreamy nights, can feel like the gentle caress of an attentive lover. .
There should also be many nuggets of truth shared as I hang on every uttered word. But done humbly please thank you, with simultaneously a willingness to be vulnerable, even uncertain about what’s being said.
But most of all, the voice has got to make me wanna come back again and again. To listen to it and never grow weary.
Many of the podcasts I’ve suggested so far in this mini-series have, in my humble opinion, checked all these boxes.
But the one I’m about to share holds a special place for me.
Well actually I should say that it all started not with podcasts, but with an audiobook.
The audiobook that started it all!
I’ve mentioned her on a few previous posts before, but I wish somehow I could meet Ms Emily P Freeman in person. To tell her what her book and her podcast had meant to me. And continues to mean to me.
You see, I was introduced to Emily around the same time I first started my journey as a stay home dad in 2018.
That year there was a free audiobook offer every month on one of my phone audiobook apps. I can’t remember now which month I found out about it. But as soon as I discovered this steal-of-a-deal, I wasted no time downloading the next available free audio book!
Which is how I came into possession of Emily’s audiobook “Simply Tuesdays: Small-moment living in a fast-moving world.”
A faith-based book by the wife of a former youth pastor, it talks about life lived in the minutiae of daily encounters or happenings that can whizz by most of us if we fail to notice them. Like the “Tuesdays” of our lives as Emily wisely points out in her book. (Yes go ahead, find another day of the week that is ‘less significant’ than Tuesday; I dare you!)
And after noticing, to then palpate them so as to uncover gems of wisdom for the age.
A soothing balm
As someone who stepped away from the rat race (more like ‘right off a cliff’!) four years ago, I really needed to believe that the suddenly-endless stretches of time I had more of daily meant something. That value and worth may yet be found in the humdrum pace of a stay home parent that I had unwittingly fallen in step with.
Emily gave me back all that, bless her heart. And her book.
Because of her and the book, my outlook on writing and life was forever changed too. She may never know this, but Emily’s set me on a trajectory that’s taken me now from zero book writing experience to a couple of working drafts of a 300 page book.
And let’s not forget this blog, which has seen me consistently clock weekly posts since April 2019, and now closing in on 400 entries!
And the best part is how Emily continues to give me inspiration beyond her book to her regular podcast aptly named “The Next Right Thing“
Podcasts for the heart and soul
Each time I feel lonely and lost, I would turn on an episode of “The Next Right Thing” which Emily has been running since August 2017.
Here’s how her podcast is described:
“For the second-guessers, the chronically hesitant, or anyone who suffers from decision fatigue, best-selling author and host Emily P. Freeman helps create a little space for your soul to breathe so you can discern your next right thing in love. Because out of the thousands of decisions you make everyday, chances are a few of them threaten to keep you up at night. If you’re in a season of transition, waiting, general fogginess or if you’ve ever searched “how to make a decision” on the internet, listen in.”
Chocking up what now amounts to more than 230 episodes and counting, they are never exactly the same. Some offer outright tips and advice to survive each day. Some are reading soulful verses from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament with a short reflection. Others are full-blown interviews with special guests who understand her followers like me, and our need for serenity, serendipity and how to make decisions for our next right thing.
In the end, every writer needs a space to catch their breath. A time to recuperate from the pressures and demands of this frequently wretched life we chose.
To reconnect with our souls in order to stir us to new insights and creativity.
I must apologise though.
While in previous posts I could, here I can’t name specific episodes that leap out at me in her podcast. Simply because, though I listen and experience her podcast like any others — one episode at a time — “The Next Right Thing” feels like one huge Christmas present that encapsulates my every childhood fantasy love gift.
It’s literally the whole package!
So go on. Give it a try. Start with any episode you like.
For if you’re like me, a writer who constantly craves both an oasis to rest, and a constant supply of inspiring nudges to navigate the often-gnarly and confusing world of writing, then Emily’s podcast could well be your next right thing!