Monday, May 27, 2019

I Have Put It Upon Record [SOLI]

I'm assuming I'm in the majority here in that I hate the sound of my own voice.  Whether it's a video from long ago, hearing it on a voicemail, or my days as a radio morning show co-host, that's not how I think I sound.  So the few times I've been interviewed on podcasts when I was promoting my book, The Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street, it was a necessary evil as far as I was concerned.

That book has been out for over a year and a half, so the promotion for it is over.  So why did I find myself on two different podcasts last week?  Well, because some friends asked me to, and I'm a sucker.

Last week was the first episode of The Watsonian Weekly, the new podcast from The John H. Watson Society.  For their soft open, I was asked to contribute a short book review.  I'm not a technophile, so Brad Keefauver had to walk me through how to record a file on my phone and email it to him.  (How far have we come that people can record on their phone, send a quick email, and it's suddenly part of a broadcast?!?)  This essentially made me my own producer.  Writing a script, timing my segment, listening back to my delivery (shudder), re-recording with a different pace and inflection... It was weird.  

But you know what?  The show came out nice.  It's a different format than one I'm used to for my podcasts.  The Watsonian Weekly is set up as an audio magazine, anchored by Brad Keefauver with different segments by different contributors.  The initial episode only had two different voice on it, my own and Margie Deck, who always brings a good puzzle to the table.

I just listened to episode two this morning, and it's nice to hear more voices this week.  Margie is back with the answer to last week's puzzle, and two new voices make debuts: Elinor Gray with two segments on beekeeping and Paul Thomas Miller with... well I never know how to describe Paul but he's always entertaining!  

There are a lot of Sherlock Holmes podcasts out there, so it's easy to think, "Really, another one?"  But The Watsonian Weekly takes a new angle on this and is definitely worth adding to your repertoire.  Except for my book reviews.  You can skip those.

Podcast number two of the week isn't a Sherlockian one at all.  My cousin, Josh Monken, is a genuinely curious guy.  As long as I can remember, he's been interested in making things.  He worked as a photojournalist for a while, then had his own photography business until the needs of being a husband and father put him in the corporate world.  He's tried his hand at writing a few novels, and has done a lot of Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, all to scratch that creative itch.

But his podcast, What It Takes to Make, is different.  Instead of Josh making something, he's turned the tables and interviews a different creative type each week on what drives their creative processes.  His episodes are far ranging.  In the first six episodes he has interviewed a video game designer, fantasy author, documentarian, children's book author, musician, and me.

Josh is one of my favorite people in the world.  We see each other regularly at family functions, but our kids keep us from really getting to spend a lot of good time together.  So having an uninterrupted hour for the two of us to just talk was great.  And, since he was interviewing me about my Sherlockian hobby, he had to let me talk about Sherlock Holmes as much as I wanted!  

We started by reminiscing about video games and Josh's dad, moving onto talking about our grandpa's love of western novels, and discussing fan fiction vs. academic writing, just how far you let yourself go with fandom before we ever even got to Sherlockiana.  From there it was the importance (or lack thereof) of Arthur Conan Doyle to Sherlockiana, what a Sherlockian group is like, what "scholarly writings" actually means, and plenty more.  

Spending as much time as I do in Sherlockiana, I take for granted that the people I talk with about my hobby have roughly the same baseline as I do.  It was really fun to hear an outsider's thoughts on our hobby and Josh said "Wow" more than a few times to some of my descriptions of Sherlockians.

Even if listening to a Sherlockian talk to a non-Sherlockian isn't your thing, I would highly recommend What It Takes to Make.  It has a conversational interview style that feels like NPR without pretentiousness or pledge drives.

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