New skills for the New Year

To launch 2024, I purposely avoided making any resolutions—destined to be broken. Instead I tackled a couple of new skills for the New Year, as do most of my writer friends. I continued two projects: One, begun in my hopeful youth, to learn, speak and understand Spanish and Two, of more recent date, to launch a podcast channel, creating a more personal touch for my online e-zine, A Writer’s Journey.

Creating a personal audio presence

Author Peter Green, Author of A writer's Journey podcasts
Author Peter Green
Author of A writer’s Journey podcasts

The opportunity to begin creating a personal audio presence arose through the interest of an East Coast professional actor and voice actor, Fred Nelson, who had learned through a Facebook post about my dad’s World War II experience running a radio station on Guam. He contacted me about participating in a forthcoming podcast series called The Golden Quonset Hut. He was writing this podcast on the history of Guam’s AM radio station from its early origins in Armed Forces Radio to launching a Pacific broadcast empire. and telling its creators’ part in radio history. Eager to spread the word about my dad’s unique World War II part in running that Guam radio station, I joined Fred’s effort. Dad’s station was the was first to report the biggest scoop of World War II, a newsman’s dream. Since then I have helped Fred narrate his historical narrative of Pacific radio.

I had been blogging online over fifteen years about my venture into a second career as a writer. But spurred on by this attention, I realized I had failed to tap a ready audience for interesting audio content. I immediately launched a YouTube channel and laid plans, still a work in progress, to convert my blog into series of audio podcasts on my topic, A Writers Journey.

Learning Spanish: about time

The impetus for my other new 2024 project, learning Spanish, stemmed from an aborted attempt to join the Peace Corps. My architecture school classmates learned about their plan to send volunteer architects to Tunisia to design homes, schools and other buildings. I could even make use of the French I already spoke. But I dragged my feet on that application and missed the deadline. Instead of going to Tunisia as an architect, I was offered a chance to go to Chile. But I changed my mind again and resumed my original plan to work for architects in Paris. Nonetheless, I had a couple of months’ head start at government expense learning spoken Spanish from highly skilled language teachers. Since we have daughters in Texas, I now realize how useful a knowledge of this language could be in daily life, even in an outpost as removed from the border as St. Louis, and I recently resolved to continue. my studies.

At this late date, I discovered from my grandson that the modern way to learn a language is to study online with a remarkable program called Duo Lingo. I quickly found that it incorporated all the best techniques used by native speakers in my college French classes and in Peace Corps training. These online purveyors of numerous languages had employed the finest oral, visual teaching and memory techniques and distilled them into progressive lessons which could be accessed either for free, with ads, or without them at the reasonable cost of a few dollars per month.

A Speaking Request

To top it off, in September I was asked by my local mystery writers group, a chapter of the national mystery writers organization, Sisters in Crime, to deliver in November an online class on any writing topic of potential interest to the group. I settled on an hour-long talk called Anatomy of a Thriller and proceeded to develop thoughts from my evening reading routine, devouring mysteries and thrillers all year long. I pulled together illustrations for the talk and ended up with something worthy of an e-zine article, with the added potential for an illustrated broadcast on my YouTube channel.

While I have mentioned that all this is a work in progress, I’m happy to report that I have progressed with over half a dozen podcasts to accompany my many already written writing adventures. They also exist as a sort of apologia for my published writings, which so far consist of three biographical memoirs about my unconventional World War II family and my Patrick MacKenna architectural mystery-thriller series.

Never alone

I should note that none of this has been accomplished alone. My friends in writing groups were always at my side. They include: members of the aforementioned “syndicate” Sisters in Crime; St. Louis Writers Guild, in which I have occupied board positions and been a member for almost twenty years. I have also participated in regional writers’ conferences staged by Missouri Writers Guild, St. Louis Publishers Association and Killer Nashville. Fellow writers provided tips, encouragement and friendship at every step of the way. The motto of St. Louis Writers Guild is, “You have friends here.”

To sample A Writers Journey podcasts, or text, which amounts to an online e-zine, I would recommend either starting at the beginning, A Writer’s Journey: Ten Basic Skills Every Writer Should Know, or jumping right in with the articles I’ve discussed here, Pub 3.1 and Pub 3.2 Anatomy Of a Thriller. If you’re interested in reading or writing, you’ll be glad you did. There’s find plenty there to satisfy your curiosity about what makes a good book.

Until next time, good words you!

Hasta luego!

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