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100 Days of Gladness: Day 34

Beats! And How They Help Me Get Things Done.

Me in my beats, getting things done
Photo by author

My earphones are the secret weapon to everything from housework to exercise to having a long conversation with someone who needs me. I love my earphones.

They’re responsible for my being a good partner, one who cleans up the kitchen every night — thoroughly, till it shines. The secret is putting on the right music or podcast in my ears.

For a long time it was “The West Wing Weekly,” a podcast I loved about a show I loved fiercely. The hosts: Josh Malina (who starred in West Wing and hence knows all about it) and Hrishikesh Hirway (who knew nothing about West Wing, but is the host of another podcast called Song Exploder). In addition to great guest appearances by all the stars, the writers, producers, they interview actual political figures in positions portrayed by the actors. It provides delicious background details about the making of the show. Plus, they’re hilarious.

Other favorites of mine (in the podcast world) are “Death, Sex, and Money,” “This American Life,” “Radiolab,” and “In Pod We Trust,” “Poetry Unbound,” “The Moth,” and “On Being,” to name only a few. So. Any one episode could last me an entire kitchen, complete with uber clean countertops and a fully dry- and wet-swiffered floor.

But let’s say I wasn’t in the mood for podcasts.

MUSIC! Jazz pianists Bill Evans. or Eliane Elias, or Keith Jarrett make me happy and productive. Broadway cast albums — Hamilton (OMG Hamilton), all things Sondheim (Pacific Overtures, Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, a Little Night Music, the list is so very long), Fun Home, and many more. These are good to listen to and sing along with, assuming I’m all alone in the house. Great for vaccuuming. Great for reorganizing the office.

And then there are the playlists that I’ve curated to exercise to. Yellowjackets, Jacob Collier, Phill Collins, Sting, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, hundreds of artists--all of whom live in my bloodstream as I move my body to their creations. This is good for exercise either outdoors or at the gym, but preferably in the privacy of my own home know...singing along louder than I realize :-)

There’s something about the way in which music sneaks into my psyche and lifts the air within and around me. My beats enable that in a big way.

The key is to choose exactly the right material for the job. And then to go with it.

What’s your MO? What helps you get the dull jobs done? Let me know.

For today, my gladness is for the existence of great earphones that tune out all the extra sound.

Blessings to you and yours.


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