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MacLeod, Alistair

The Boat

Canadian Short Fiction Month continues, as promised, with a story that seems obviously designed to be delivered from the lips straight to the ears. There’s so much beauty tucked away in here of the sort you wouldn’t necessarily see on the page, unless you read to yourself with one of the voices in your head.

Critically and academically, it’s the opening of this story that tends to get the most attention. But there’s an incredible rhythm throughout (the magnificence of which I likely don’t give justice), and it’s the ending that really got the chills going in this reader. I’d say more, but that’d spoil it.

And for those who are here on academic assignment, you shouldn’t take this as any sort of criticism against the value or impact of the opener — listen to your teachers or professors. The opening is worth study. But listen through to the end (yes, it’s almost an hour long).

It also makes prominent use of the word GALUMPH, a word that doesn’t see nearly as much usage as it deserves. Coincidentally, when out for a woodsy walk this morning, my co-perambulator noticed a set of tracks in the snow and noted that they likely belonged to “something large, galumphing.” And following so closely on the heels of my reading, left me all kinds of tickled. So we walked on, me in galumph-appreciative reverie, and stumbled upon a dead porcupine.

I’m not sure if that was an omen or, more importantly, what it has to do with galumphing.

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By miette

Miette has been podcasting the best of world literature's short fiction since March 2005, when she was just a pup.

5 replies on “The Boat”

I am so happy to have found you. Discovered you, actually, on the bus on the way home from work in downtown Seattle this afternoon. The sun was shining, Alice was in Wonderland and you were reading chapter 4 to me with the sweetest, warmest voice. I rushed to Librivox to find out if you had other readings I could enjoy and pass along. Ah. And here you are. Bless you! and thank you.

Well, I can’t claim to be DNA, or life on Mars, but as far as discoveries go, I guess you could do a lot worse than me.

Alice in Wonderland was a blast to read; hope you find something you like here.

Miette,
Like Gretchen, I also recently found your podcast. I feel like a child again, being read to in bed with my iPod (except I didn’t have an iPod as a child!). Your selection of literature and vocal quality is just heaven.

Forgive me for being weird, but certain sounds — water trickling, whispering, and soft spoken word — have a physical effect on me, like my spine is being tickled (?). When you speak slowly and breathy (please, I mean this in no ‘erotic’ sense), and I can hear your lips part and tongue form the words, it hits that nerve and I absolutely melt. Continue to read aloud at the level most natural to you, but .. maybe.. even a little softer perhaps, and closer to the microphone, to enhance what your listeners seem to appreciate most about your voice…

To Phil: Here is the answer to Why Don’t I Twitter:

http://twitter.com/miette/status/1245998787

You can “follow” if you’d like, though I’m burying this nonsense here in the comments because there’s something deeply unsatisfying about the language of “followers.”

To Steve: glad you’re enjoying yourself. Though I don’t think I could read much more softly: maybe hold your earphones away from your ears a little? I’ll keep thinking.

xo to both
— Mtte.

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