This American Podcast

Like many of the previous posters, I found myself distracted or wandering at various points throughout these podcasts. 20 Acts in 60 Minutes was much easier to digest, with each story being but a mouthful. Conversely, I found House on Loon Lake to be tough to find a breaking point in, which frustrated me if my listening time ran up on a previous engagement.

But in general, podcasts are a genre that definitely jives with my sensibilities. I am a musician as well as a writer, and while in books I am more than happy to only be using one of those frames of reference, but the podcast can speak to both of those areas of my life. Music is very important in the efficacy of these podcasts. With 20 Acts, the music provided a wonderful segue between acts, which increased that general digestibility. In House, the score was used like those in horror movies to remind listeners that they’re supposed to feel just a touch uncomfortable. Radio and podcasts also have the advantage of using different voices for different characters, which along with insuring that we don’t misread inflection gets rid of tedious “He said” and “she said.”

I saw a nice parallel between these two podcasts and, say, a book of stories and a novel. I’m not sure if these parallels are what I’m supposed to be looking for, but I am as well ensconced in the old world of print that with most everything artistic I like to relate it back to my comfort zone. Like a novel, House required a most extended session of attention paying, but also offered a more complete, in-depth story. And like a collection of stories, 20 Acts gave the listener bite-sized stories that had but a little relation to each other. Of course this is not the first time we’ve talked about patchwork writing, writing that describes the negative space around an idea instead of simply describing that idea itself. I sense a theme. But only because we’ve described the area around it.

-Brendan Sullivan


~ by Brendan Sullivan on February 1, 2011.

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