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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Audio for Anxiety - IWSG April 2022

Welcome to IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to all IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to April co-hosts: Joylene Nowell Butler, Jemima Pett, Patricia Josephine, Louise - Fundy Blue, and Kim Lajevardi!

Optional question: Have any of your books been made into audio books? If so, what is the main challenge in producing an audiobook?

I can't answer the question, but I can speak about audio books.

While I'm fine driving locally, I’ve never been the most comfortable highway driver. For that reason, I was most often a passenger while my late husband and I listened to books when we took road trips and invariably my mind would drift. Before I knew it I’d wake up having missed Lord knows how much. But these days, I am the driver and audio books have begun to save me. 

During my husband’s illness--I supposed as a way to pretend we had some control--we kept our lives as normal as possible. We didn’t share what we were going through with others and few people knew he was sick. Unfortunately for me, bottled-up stress manifested itself in a panic attack that occurred long before he died, on a day I was driving alone on the highway. Imagine unexpected dizziness, clammy hands and paralyzing fear of fainting while traveling 65 MPH down a four-lane highway. After the first awful one, they became self-induced. What if I have a panic attack? I’d think anytime I was alone on the highway. Too often, the thought triggered the symptoms. 

Now, as I recreate my life, letting this issue rule me could mean never leaving my area, which is not acceptable. At first, I pondered taking a driving course, but Covid (or more likely fear) dissuaded me. I utilized alternate means of transportation or found back-road options to get where I needed to go, until an invitation to my sister’s surprise birthday party arrived last fall. Getting there meant all highway driving. Neither public transportation nor the word “no” were an option. Enter Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on audio. It's a story I know so well, if I missed a line it wouldn't matter but one I love enough it could divert my thoughts from that damaging and self-fulfilling, What if?

Ever a hero, once again Harry saved the day. With the book keeping me company, I made it to the party and home without issue. Even better, the trip helped me see it's in my power to drive where I need to. I'm not all the way there yet, but thanks to Harry, I’ve taken a few trips, sometimes with an audio book and notably last weekend because I forgot to download one, my longest trip without.

So, while I have not had an opportunity to turn a book into an audio book, audio books have offered a turning point for me.

What has your experience been with audio books? What type of methods would you suggest to calm a reluctant highway driver?