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Listening Journey Essay

2659 words - 11 pages

This has been the most exhilarating, challenging, and enlightening assignment I have ever undertaken. For this assignment, I chose to listen to two podcasts from Symphony Space's Selected Shorts that featured topics that intrigued me, "The private paradise" podcast from April 17, 2011 and the "Tale of terror" podcast from March 20, 2011. The stories in "The private paradise" podcast that I listened to included Sonia Manzano's performance of “My Backyard ” by Peter Lu, Rita Wolf's performance of “A Room of My Own” by Alanna Okun, David Rakoff's performance of “Your Mother and I” by Dave Eggers, and James Naughton's performance of “Visit” by Barry Yourgrau. The "Tale of terror" podcast only included one story, Boyd Gaines's performance of “The Bees” by Dan Chaon. Truly listening was a challenge I did not expect to encounter, but once I was able to do so, it was amazing to see the transformation in my thought processes and responses. The journey of learning to appreciate the art of listening has led me to a path that will enable me to become a better storyteller, librarian, and person.
I never could have imagined the difficulty that I encountered in listening to the two podcasts I chose. Although the stories interested me, I found it incredibly challenging to listen to the stories the first time I listened to them. I quickly discovered that my listening skills are exceedingly poor, as I was not even comprehending the basic plot of the stories let alone picturing the stories. I have attended storytelling events in the past and did not encounter this struggle, which suggests that I rely a great deal on a storyteller's facial expressions, gestures, and other body language to construct a story in my mind. I am unsure of why I encountered such difficulty in listening to these stories at first. Perhaps it is because I have not been practicing my listening skills often enough, especially being in a completely online environment for my studies. Or another reason could be that growing up surrounded by televisions, computers, gaming consoles, and other technologies has made it more difficult for me to focus, as well as made me more dependent on visual learning. Or maybe I have not overcome the auditory processing disability from my childhood as well as I thought I had. Whatever the reason may be, it was a frustrating and challenging experience at first. Fortunately, as I spent more time truly listening, I was slowly able to focus better, and was eventually able to enter the stories.
What I thought about while I listened to each of the stories changed each time I listened to them. It was interesting to see how my thought processes transformed as I slowly moved from hearing to listening. The first time I listened to each of the stories, I was concentrating so much on trying to comprehend the plot, the plot was most of what I thought about. Everything else I thought about while listening this first time was completely unrelated to the stories and the...

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