Fitzgerald, F. Scott

Jemima, The Mountain Girl

Okay, someone was a little smartasinine requesting this one, for reasons that most of you will never know, given that this is not one of those soundbiting autobiographic shows and hence most of you don’t know that my real name is, in fact, Jemima, and I, too, paid my way through school with whiskey. Curious, that.

Even though it was a bit of an elbow-ribbing, request-speaking, this one picked up my mood considerably. I couldn’t read it without cracking once or thrice — if you can do better while listening, let me know and the next request is yours. If you can’t, don’t let me know, just listen to this as proof that Fitzgerald will always be funnier than you, crackups and all.

Wharton, Edith

The Dilettante

I dreamt last night that I made a big squash soup for an even bigger party, a party full of people from the past– people I hadn’t seen in years and didn’t care about when I did see them. I was nervous; it was a recipe I hadn’t tried before and I’d decided after a torturous dreamlike decisionmaking process to add a dash of some sort of smuggled mutant super-habanero sauce to the stuff. It was a pivotal moment in the dream, a Big Risk because of course, I genuinely didn’t want to spoil the soup, and I was lucky: everyone absolutely loved it, was raving about it, left the rest of the potlucked provisions on the table to satisfy their fix for the soup. But later, when the soup was gone, they all turned on me. At first I’d thought it had had addictive properties, and they were mad with the desire to get their fix. But then, as they closed in, it hit me: the soup had made their breath intolerable. They were livid knowing that any attempt at teeth-cleaning would be in vain, that in exhange for a moment of bliss they were scarred for life. They started to pounce on me when I woke up in a cold sweat, wondering if I’d really managed to smell in a dream.

I’ve never been one to appreciate traditional dream analysis, but have fun with it if you want. The Squash? The illegal pepper sauce? Poisoned breath? I share it because it begs to be shared, which is, of course, the same reason I read stories to the Internet. Like this one:

Isherwood, Christopher

On Reugen Island

If I could read your mind (and how do you know I can’t???), after the first few seconds listening to this podcast I’ll bet your mind would say something like this: “I know she said she was sick, but a strepped throat doesn’t do that to a voice!”

And your mind, it wouldn’t be wrong in saying that. If I had to guess — and I’m not a very good guesser, BUT, if I did, I’d imagine you’ve probably gotten used to my voice by now. Maybe grown to expect it? And if I did convince you that THIS was my new-and-ill-begotten voice, well, then you’d be a sucker.

And, dear listener, if there’s one thing I know about you after all these months reading to you, it’s that you’re no sucker.

And so I confess: it is not my voice on this podcast, for my throat has been feeling like it does after I give it a Raw Tree Bark Massage and a bath in Freshly Burnt Gasoline Fumes. In such cases, what’s a girl to do, then, but exploit a poor sucker… err… a most generous, willing friend. And so tonight, let us all give thanks to dream smith, whose retelling of Isherwood leaves me, well, speechless, more-or-less. (And while I’m guilty of a simple pun, it’s true: he’s just that good.)

Enjoy dream smith as much as I do; Miette will be back, in the flesh voice, after a couple of convalescent days. Thank you dream.

Paley, Grace


Well, I didn’t think I’d pull this off. A particularly invidious houseguest in the form of streptococcal has left my coccyx surprisingly unscatched, but the pharynx, well, I don’t recall gargling with rusted staples after my razorblade dinner, but gosh it hurts in there. And so here I sit, throatily challenged to forego my Saturday podcast, but, compulsive as I am, couldn’t stand the thought. And so, after finding the shortest Miette-worthy pod to cast today, I quickly numbed it up with a half pint of raspberry sorbet, then before the anaesthetic thawed, raced through Paley. If I take another bite of sorbet I might even be able to screech out a final whew, but otherwise, for today, that’s all she wrote.

Kafka, Franz

The Judgment

A confession: I’ve been loath to podcast Kafka, only because I wouldn’t know which one would be podcastable, which is to say Kafkaesque enough to be delivered storyhour-style, but not so Kafkaesque as to leave listeners beating themselves with the oars used to row the macabre waters of their own tears. You know, that sort of thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love that sort of thing. I mean, sometimes I am that sort of thing. But that doesn’t mean you should have to be… so you see the problem. It’s not a small one.

Fortunately, I discovered an easy way to take care of this problem. Thank you for the request. Request granted, problem solved. (Whew) Now who’s next?

London, Jack

An Adventure in the Upper Sea

Like Miette?

Love Jack London?

Not getting enough of either today?

Don’t fear, Librivox is here.

(Which is just a plug for the fine goings on there, among which just might be your own Miette, with a few other fine folk, reading the full text of London’s Call of the Wild. Should you not get your fix from today’s podcast alone, this should do you. Do have a listen… you might even find Miette on other recordings; I guess you’ll just have to listen to them all.)


Cortazar, Julio


Last night, I did something I thought I’d never do. I went dancing. And not seated dive-barstool dancing when your picks come up on the jukebox, or late-night loftparty dancing, but proper dancing, at a Dance Club. I’ve never done anything quite like this, and will likely not again, but in those few hours, catching a glowing mid-bounce smile from a birthday girl while giving up the inhibitions of hips and feet, I felt okay, that this was, in some ways, a comparably healthful social outing. No booze or other toxins, our little circle impenetrable to the detritus of humanity surrounding us, and all that exercise, I’d wake up feeling like a billion bucks.

Instead I’m spent, and woke up wondering if I’d become an axolotl, only one with scratchy voice and ringing ears and creaky hipjoints. And how could I think such a thing and not read about it, axolotllic voice notwithstanding.

McCarthy, Mary

Cruel and Barbarous Treatment

Okay, for those who found the new audio setup too sophisticated (and I agree, to an extent; this is proudly a lowest-of-the-no fi podcast experience, but everyone needs to be heard, you know), a compromise: I adjusted the sound software, I -think- to pick up more room noise, to let it breathe. Breathing, in podcasts, is important.

Also, I went and caught a bit of a seasonal headcold, just for this podcast, just so that it might sound more authentic. And because of the natural temperament of Podcastresses with Headcolds, you might note that the dog became possessed for an instant, that I forgot to turn the phone off, that I stammer more than I otherwise might have, maybe even (it could be a fevered delusional memory) live commentary on what I was reading… and that I don’t have the mettle to edit it at all.

Keep writing and I’ll keep tweaking. Miette can satisfy all the people all the time, it’s true.

McCullers, Carson

A Tree * A Rock * A Cloud

Remember the early days, when this was entirely scrappy, when you sometimes heard the dog or the bus passing by or the pins drop (for pins do drop in my house of chaos) more than you heard the reading? Those were the days, eh? Then, a couple of months ago, we upgraded the microphone and suddenly, you heard the voice. Clearer. At that was it, I’d promised myself. This Will Not Be A Compulsion.

And so today, with this podcast, I introduce Much Better Software, with features that include several bars representing channels and things, and those bars, while I’m reading, they move with my voice, which indicates something marginally more sophisticated than I’ll ever admit to knowing about.

Does it sound any better? Maybe a little? Maybe compression ruins the clarity that I tried so hard to achieve? There’s much podcasting fun to come, requests here (and if you have a request, send it), promises to friends to be fulfilled there. But who wants to hear all this? Point is: Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast Now Features Sliding Bar Recording Software! What’s next a jingle??

(One can hope)

Barnes, Djuna


There are times when even the most prepared podcasting events turn to podcatastrophe, when even the most professional podcastress forgets to turn off the phone for a reading, when the most sedulous podcaster leaves pages stuck together entirely underestimates the length of time spent podcasting, when the most meticulous discovers halfway through that the hard drive is filled up with newly downloaded Restoration Comedy with no room for the podcast file, or that Suddenly Traffic Has Taken Off and Who’s Going To Pay For This?! It is for these times, perhaps, that the prescient Ms. Barnes was writing.