038 – Daily rituals part 3 – Real English Conversations

Introduction
Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from Betteratenglish.com. In this episode of Real English Conversations, you’ll hear part 3 of my conversation with Kyla. We are talking about the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. In this part we talk about the routines and practices that many creative people have in common.

Now before you listen I have to warn you: this is a particularly challenging conversation. Here is why: because both Kyla and I read the book, we have a lot of shared information in our heads. When speakers have a lot of shared information, they often leave out details. They know that the other person already knows the information, so they don’t have to say it.

If only one of us had read the book, this conversation would have been very different. We would have had to do a lot more explaining, and mention a lot more specific details.

What does all that mean for you? As you are listening, don’t worry too much if some things are unclear, or if you feel that you are missing information. To help you out, I have marked the particularly challenging parts in colored text in the transcript. And at the end of the transcript, I’ve included a short quote from the book so you can read the part we are talking about.

If you want to read along as you listen, you can download the full transcript, including a bonus vocabulary lesson at betteratenglish.com/transcripts.

After the conversation I’ll be back with five questions you can use for speaking practice.

OK, let’s get on with the conversation!

Conversation transcript
Kyla: That’s right, exactly. And the amount…it seems a real recurring theme in the book is three hours. The amount of people that did, that worked for three hours a day that got all their…even – even the ones that didn’t have jobs that had their time completely open, a lot of them seemed to work for three hours. And the rest of the time would be, you know, visiting and going for long walks and…

Lori: Yeah, that was –

Kyla: …having luxurious dinners.

Lori: That was another really striking one – the role of walking.

Kyla: Yes.

beethoven 60 beans of coffee per cup

Beethoven was one of the many creative people whose daily routine involved strong coffee.

Lori: Because you had these people, like you say, they would work their stretch of – of three or four hours. I think– I think Beethoven is an example of this. He would– he would work, get up in the morning, drink his coffee. I think he was the one who counted the [coffee] beans. [laughs]

Kyla: He counted the beans! Yeah. [laughs]

Lori: How many was it in each cup?

Kyla: 60 or something?

Lori: Yeah.

Kyla: Was it 60? [laughs]

Lori: That sounds right. Yeah, he measured up precisely 60 beans for his coffee and would work. And then he would take these long, vigorous walks armed with note paper to jot down ideas, I guess. And I think it was also Beethoven who would, during his work periods when he would feel stuck, he would get up and go walk outside for a little bit and found that , kind of, unlocked his creativity.

Download the transcript for the rest of this Real English conversation, the vocabulary lesson and bonus discussion questions for speaking practice.

037 – Daily Rituals 2 – Real English Conversations

Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from Betteratenglish.com. In this episode of Real English Conversations, you’ll hear part 2 of my conversation with Kyla. We’re discussing a book that we both really liked. It’s called Daily Rituals, by Mason Currey.

The book describes the daily routines and habits of 161 creative people, people like writers, painters, musicians, philosophers, and scientists. Now, while I love the book, I don’t recommend it for English learners at lower levels. This is because it has a lot of quotations from sources that are very old, and some of that language is very difficult. But if you are an upper-intermediate to advanced learner of English who needs to read English literature from different periods, it might be a great place to start. The chapters are very short — sometimes only a half a page. That means you can have the satisfaction of finishing a chapter without having to spend too much time. And it’s easier to do deep language analysis and study if the text is not too long.

Right then…in this conversation you’ll hear a lot of American English idiomatic expressions and a bit of slang. There are also many examples of a politeness strategy called “hedging.” Remember, this was the first time Kyla and I ever spoke, so we were being careful not to be too direct. Listen particularly for language like “kind of,” “sort of,” and “I think.” Hedges like these keep us from sounding to direct or firm in our opinions.

As always, you can find the full transcript, including a bonus vocabulary lesson at betteratenglish.com/transcripts.

OK, here comes the conversation!

CONVERSATION TRANSCRIPT
Kyla: Well, I was just going to say, that book came out of blog posts, didn’t it? Like, was he blogging? [note: you can find the original blog here]

Lori: I believe the story is, he’s – he’s a…he’s actually a published author; quite a prolific author, I think, in– in, like, magazines and things like that. And he did have this blog that, I guess, started out just as some kind of personal interest.

Kyla: Right.

Lori: And then someone got in touch with him saying, “Hey, do you…this would make a really cool book,” and so he did the extra work too to turn it into a book. And I’m glad he did because it’s really fascinating.

Kyla: Yeah. [laughs]

Lori: [laughs] Really interesting.

Kyla: It is —

Lori: Um…

Kyla: Well, it’s — oh, you go ahead.

Lori: No, no. Go ahead.

Kyla: I was– I was just going to say, it actually kind of makes me really…”Why wasn’t I a writer?! It seems like they have it so easy!” [laughs]

Lori: [laughs] Is that based on– on reading about the habits of writers in the books or the book, I’m —

Kyla: Yes. Yeah, exactly. That was…by – by the end of it, it was just like, yeah.

Lori: That’s funny you had that reaction because I actually thought that writing seemed really, really freaking hard.

Kyla: Oh, yeah. [laughs]

Continue reading…

036 – Daily Rituals 1 – Real English Conversations

INTRODUCTION
Hi English learners! Lori here, your teacher from Betteratenglish.com. In this episode of Real English Conversations, you’ll hear me talking to Kyla, a fellow musician. We met up to talk about a book that we both really like. It’s called Daily Rituals, and was written by Mason Currey.

But as it turned out, Kyla and I had a lot more to talk about than the book. In fact, we didn’t even start talking about the book until several minutes into the conversation. So you’ll have to wait until part two for that. In this first part, you’ll hear us breaking the ice by talking about guitars and practicing and other things we have in common. This was a normal thing to do because it was the first time we ever spoke to each other.

You’ll be hearing lot of informal American English, including tons of phrasal verbs. I think the best way to really learn phrasal verbs is in context, so I’ve highlighted most of them for you in the transcript, along with the other vocabulary.

As always, you can find the full transcript, including a bonus vocabulary lesson at betteratenglish.com/transcripts.

OK, let’s get this conversation started!

CONVERSATION TRANSCRIPT

Lori: Okay, great. Yeah! It was really, really cool that you– you stepped up to the plate and got in touch about– about talking about this book. Continue reading…