All week I’ve been in the nether regions, the sticks, the country, the bucolic boonies, the hinterregions of the backwoods, fretting over how much I’d have to read to you upon my return, how many hours I’d have to try my larynx to make it up to you, just how many stories I’d have to penitently tell.
Not necessarily a festive mistletoe-and-chestnut sort of story, thus, but for those in need, want, or glimmering hope of a holiday story, this unpodcasted tale from the vaults should suffice. Happy days, holly and otherwise!
There’s a common Yoruban idiom, “oruko lonro ni,” which means, more or less, that your name affects your actions, defines your character, determines your destiny. For instance, if you’re named Lady, you’re going to end up exceptionally feminine. If your parents were brazen enough to name you Klepto, you might find yourself in a spot of trouble.
What else is a podcastress to do when a great writer dies? Sheckley wrote hundreds of exceptional stories, hundreds, and though I wouldn’t rate this one his best (I See a Man Sitting in a Chair, and the Chair is Biting His Leg rates high on my list, and very few of life’s experiences top a first glance at Can You Feel Anything When I Do This? (and I’m only just barely exaggerating)).
This morning, as with all mornings, I took She Who Must Bark At The Most Inconvenient Times on an early morning walk, which, given the several feet of snow on the ground (read: a few inches), was less an “early morning walk” than a “mighty difficult time staying afoot for the bipedal member of the walking party, as the bipedal-squared one trounced happily and darted into snowbanks and tried her best to cause the amputation of the fingers on my icicly leash-bearing hand.”
I know, I know. It’s morning. Nowhere near your bedtime. You listen now and get all confused, expecting a glass of warm milk and sugarplum dreams, only to discover it’s ten in the morning and you’ve got to drag yourself to work. It’s just, well, Out Of The Ordinary that I’d be sending a story now. But Boris Vian.
I’ve had a long meeting with myself just now, myself, who has been thinking for months that I ought to read Mann for you. After all, Mann is nothing if not the one empty corner in the squathouse of growing up, and although my romance with Mann ended years ago, I can still smell him at the thought… you know how it is. And so, month after month, I look at his stories, and I Just. Don’t. Know.
Thought Id try an experiment and read something that was obviously designed to be read on the page and not delivered aloud bedtimestorily. But after that bit in Bookforum I’m just so v. curious how all these things sound you see, goodness how sad, and you’ll just have to indulge me.
For years, the only time I’ve ever been the slightest bit jealous of my carnivorous confreres has been in those moments after a Thanksgiving feast, watching them settle into the tryptofanatical haze of blissful near-slumber. The rest of the year I laud my healthful eating habits, but in those moments while sitting sprightly and alert at attention after the traditional Overindulgence In Side Dishes that defines the plight of non-flesheaters at such feasts,
If Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast was a CD**, today’s would be the secret bonus track hidden at the very end. If this was called Miette’s Bedtime Story TV Miniseries, today’s would be the Exciting Second Half that you’d be Staying Tuned for, except without the special effects. If it was Miette’s Bedtime Story Green Salad, this would be the succulent bite of endive to Friday’s sweet pear.