You’ll have to excuse the fact that this sounds somewhat as if it might have been recorded in a submarine in the icy waters beneath an alien planet; I haven’t been around for a while, and my audio equipment was dusty and had been playing bingo in a church basement, so it was a little creaky when I roused it from its folding chair. But I didn’t want to leave you without at least a shimmer of holiday leer, and think this does the job nicely. I’ve got more guests to post but will be back on the regular beat in January. Meantime, happiest of all of that. Now, have a story…
Usually, when I think about this humble little project, it fills me with all kinds of amourpropre. Even when I’m temporarily removed from my own devices (audiotorily speaking), I can’t help but self-congratulatorily pat myself backwise (I’m flexible) at keeping the motor of this anthology running.
Then sometimes I’m introduced to other projects that leave me licking the dust of underachievement. Tonight’s narrator is behind one such project. You should have a listen to Poetry Scores, and share in the dust-licking awe of it. And as a bonus to all of us, Chris King, the genius responsible, is a Rilke enthusiast of the very best sort. It’s our lucky day.
I’ll be back very soon now, honest.
Tonight’s guest narrator owns and operates The Devastationalist Manifesto, a project I desperately wish would soon revive itself from its two-year hiatus, and not just because I miss the occasional chance for self-gam-gawkery. The project is one of genius, sometimes seemingly singlehandedly keeping the internet’s signal-to-noise ratio from flatlining, and maybe if you help me to strongarm him (GENTLY), he’ll rouse it from its vanWinklery nap.
Reflecting on his interpretation of Alice McDermott, I realise that perhaps I haven’t given her a fair shake, and that should change. This is heartwrenchingly rendered beauty, which, given our narrator, shouldn’t surprise anybody.
I’ll be back in my own voice very soon now, and still have a few guests to post. If you told me you’d read for me and you haven’t, I am probably very disappointed in you, although I just might understand all the same.
Sturgeon’s a presence which should have been established here long ago, and I was grateful beyond expression when tonight’s guest reader volunteered to represent him. That said, I was only told there was “this Theodore Sturgeon story I’ve always wanted to read.”
So, when I was sent a story that I didn’t know, I was allowed to sit back and listen and discover and marvel, as you should. If you really want my experience, be on your third glass of wine before you listen. It’s worth tomorrow’s headache.
Some of you may remember the sweet sounds of Patrick Scott from earlier Miette Bailouts. When I put out the call for guest readers, he was quick to the case. But Patrick’s a busy guy, now that he’s a famous filmmaker, and so when you listen to his lustrous interpretation of Flannery O’Connor, you will pick up the occasional whirr of what seems a loud computer fan.
I’m here to tell you resolutely not to mind this, not to let it interfere with the almost toxic pleasure you might receive from a Patrick/Flannery one-two-punch. If anything, think of it not as a probably loud computer fan, but rather, as a Flannery O’Connor story as broadcast from the other side of the buckle of the asteroid belt.
The next two weeks will be just full of guests, and if you’ve offered a story and haven’t delivered, I will remember this when your birthday rolls around. There’s still time to redeem yourself. You know who you are.
If you know Sam Jones from various internet outlets, you will be neither surprised nor disappointed that he chose to read Walser for his guest stint here. However, if you know Sam Jones from various internet outlets alone, you might not know that his is not unlike the disembodied voice in your head that reads you to sleep, all silky and warm and just sensual enough to make you comfortable, though not quite enough to make your lover jealous. Or maybe I’m confusing you with me, which happens with pronouns.
So, it’s time to drop some buds into your head’s sound detection holes and try not to smile sheepishly when he whispers “… for I do like a certain degree of raggedness and neglect.” And then look up to see if anyone catches you mid-blush. Make no excuses, but barrel down and enjoy the rest. I expect you’ll get as much out of Sam’s interpretation of Frau Wilke as I have. For more, keep your eye on Wandering with Robert Walser
I’m featuring guest readers for the next month or two, and am in search of more guest narrators, although admittedly the bar’s being set high. If you’d like to have a try at reading for the podcast, email me.
The voice you are about to hear is not my own, though today’s guest narrator insists his distinctive lilt can be attributed to “equal parts whisky, speed, and diction practice.” Which means that it’s probably closer to my voice than we’d think at first listen.
And so, I would appreciate no murmured speculation on rhinoplastic nasal blockage or testosterone injections on my part. For the next month or two, I’ll be hosting some featured narratorial guests, as I take care of some necessary business of a personal variety, which may or may not involve the sexual reassignment of my nose. Go ahead, speculate away.
My first guest, George Carr, is (on my authority) among the world’s most dedicated and assiduous close readers of David Foster Wallace, so it was with a blushing schoolgirl’s delight that my inbox received his reading of Everything is Green. It’s a story on the shorter side, when measured in minutes, but don’t let that stop you: every second is greater than itself. And if you’re as in thrall by George’s voice as I am, put your eyes back here next week for more. Enjoy.
I’m featuring guest readers for the next month or two. Stop writing to me with snoopy questions about my health! My health is just fine! Or at least, it is, and will continue to be if you don’t send me into a paranoiac hell of hypochondriasis. Nor am I in prison. Yet. I do have a talented stable of guests lined up, and if you’d like to have a stab at a reading, email me.
I know, it’s been a while. I’ve been trying to Have A Summer over here, an effort thwarted by an adverse reaction to allergens purportedly getting caught up in butterfly currents on the other side of the world. Either that, or it’s the Romantic Lady Writer’s Disease, which would be fine by me, inasmuch as any anachronistic way to go down is fine by me. But I do wish it’d forestall another decade.
But this, coupled with more quotidian gripes involving overworkedness and not-enough-rings-in-the-circus, and there’s been precious little time for fuzzy drinks and cabana boys, not to mention podcasting.
I’m making it up to you, of course, by the quality of the text itself, and the promise that this foul season will be over soon, and the cold nights of blankets and books will be upon us again. In the meantime, you’ll have to excuse the raspiness, or invite me to record in your convalescent cave.
Bloomsday is here again, as you surely know, and as is my ritual, here’s another story from the Dubliners. This is the 7th such reading, and sometimes, the thought of keeping this up for eight more years to finish the collection is one I tend to avoid.
But to keep things spicy in the meantime and extend the celebration, I have recorded a hidden bonus track. Now, before you go randomly link-clicking, if you’re offended at all by utter filth, if you think the things that two consenting grownups do with the bodies of each should should only be done with a chorus of angels humming hymns in the background while doves fly overhead, then go elsewhere, please. If none of this is true, go listen to my joyous retelling of a naughty letter from Joyce to Nora. I mean it. FILTHY. I’m warning you.
Whatever your kinky streak, happy day. Here’s the Bloomsday collection to-date.
I yanked tonight’s story from The Best of American Short Stories 1980, a volume edited by the great Stanley Elkin. If you take one look at it, you’ll see that 1980, while not considered a boon year for American fiction, perhaps should be. Donald Barthelme, Mavis Gallant, William H. Gass, Elizabeth Hardwick Grace Paley, Peter Taylor, and I’m thinking that if Elkin didn’t already have a hell of a gig as the brain behind The Magic Kingdom and The Living End, pulling this collection together seems the stuff of dreamjobs.
I left some residual background noise in tonight’s recording for the sake of achieving verisimilitude with the subject matter. Also, because it’s Bloomsday next week, which means I’ve still got work to do.
Look again at that list of names. What’s a girl got to do to help make 2011 or 2012 another 1980? Maybe a new John Sayles novel can’t hurt…