This is for cantarina1 's prompt, and is part of the December Days meme. If you feel like it, you can prompt me too, here. Image isn't mine - linking back to where it's from.
I love podfic for so many reasons. These are only a few. First, the community around it seems to be really cool, a lot of awesome people. I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people through podfic, such as nickelmountain
/ I like that the community is pretty socially aware, and friendly, and open to experimentation. I think I'd like to get to know the community better. My early days in podfic
Last year I fell head over heels, deeply, for Dean, Sam, Jensen and Jared. With podfic, they were with me a lot of the time - some of the most amazing, best stories of the fandom going with me, holding my hand, inspiring me, fascinating, shocking, turning me on, making me fall for the characters and the fandom more, too, getting to know them better. It was meaningful, still is. It was about them and about fandom and about myself.
I react to the fic in my ears. I have laughed, gasped, stopped to just breathe with scenes that had a lot of impact. On the bus, on the street, at the shop, at uni, at the library - I'm that freak. But it's fun to care about what I'm listening to, and why not allow myself to smile or laugh or even cry, without having to explain myself to people. And it's good to have an option to have this thing going that is mine, and disconnected from where I am or what I'm experiencing. You can call it a safe word, only it's often for things I never consented to to begin with. You can call it escapism, but that's only partially true. IMO. Perhaps call it a lifeline (sometimes). More personal reasons
Podfic is mobile home, comfort, a place to hide, something that reminds me of part of myself. A sanctuary of subjectivity. A sort of resistance, even if just for me. Gives me strength to deal, gives me a sort of armor sometimes.
There's a particular street where I'm always sexually harassed and/or harassed for being fat. When I have to walk there, I need podfic in my headphones. When I'd flee from fights with family, and just wander around outside feeling helpless, I held onto podfic - for balance, for perspective, or just to cope - for good or bad.. Something good before I had to go back and face things.
When I had to go to my mom's house, last time before we stopped talking, I was seriously scared. I listened to podfic. In my mind, I went in with fandom-Jensen, with his caring attitude and that empathic charm in his smiling eyes, holding my hand, and fandom-Jared - bouncy sweet and smart, protective and earnest and silly , holding the other. I made it through that.
A couple of months ago, uni decided to force people to show picture ID in order to get into campus. I don't want to, since it feels intrusive, and I want to be an ally to people whose ID can endanger them, and also - being genderqueer, my ID doesn't have the right gender on it. And I hate hate hate having to present it. So every time I needed to get into campus, I'd have to go through an intentionally draining and somewhat humiliating process with campus police. I started dreading going to uni. Perhaps I'll just skip this class, or I don't have the energy to go through that just to get to the library. Podfic was something to get me there, to give me the energy and comfort to still do it.
One of the reasons it works for me, is - It's an imagined ally, I can pretend to myself that those people would have understood my weird ramblings about gender or whatever, that I have that, have someone like that. It's something to hold onto, and that's meaningful, thta can make the difference. For me. It's the main reason I am still not over, still talking about real-Jensen's attitude about bisexuality. Readers <3
With some readers, it feels intimate - sharing the love for the story or the characters. I love hearing emotion in readers' voices, and I often like it when they are "present" rather than "transparent", like that they share with me something of them. The character's feelings that they identify with, or their feelings about the story. And it's not about how bouncy the reading is - some very subtle readings convey so much beautiful emotion. And then other readers let the story be most noticeable, just give it space, clean. I don't notice their reading, they allow me to dive into the story and forget that it's just fic. Which is very generous, respectful - a gift. Those readers make space for me as a listener to be attentive to the story, the characters, the way the story makes me feel, sometimes. To listen to myself or lose the world in it.
Some readers make all the difference.
Still, I often don't know how to give feedback to readers, especially since my taste is basically my quirks. Probably shouldn't say "I really enjoyed how you stumbled over your words when the plot became dramatic, it was real, sweet, and I identified with you", "I didn't notice your reading at all! Thank you" or even "I've come to associate your voice with good things" - and I'm never sure whether people would want to hear how sexy I find their reading or voice, so mostly just I shut up about that. On a different note -