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Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast

Updated 6 days ago

Rank #73 in Books category

Arts
Education
Books
Courses
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Curl up and fall asleep to the world's greatest short stories, the known treasures and the once-forgotten, purred to you as only Miette can.

Read more

Curl up and fall asleep to the world's greatest short stories, the known treasures and the once-forgotten, purred to you as only Miette can.

iTunes Ratings

123 Ratings
Average Ratings
81
23
6
4
9

Bear bedtime stories

By rose_and_horn - Mar 18 2019
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I love this podcast so. Miette, where have you gone? Will you ever return? I do hope so.

Best bedtime podcast I’ve found

By Stuck in the heat - Nov 28 2018
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This is the best bedtime podcast I have found. The stories are interesting enough to listen to, but she reads them in a way that is relaxing enough to fall asleep to. Makes me feel like a kid again, when the nice babysitter would read a story. Too bad she doesn’t make them anymore. Thanks for the ones you gave us. Hope you’re well Miette.

iTunes Ratings

123 Ratings
Average Ratings
81
23
6
4
9

Bear bedtime stories

By rose_and_horn - Mar 18 2019
Read more
I love this podcast so. Miette, where have you gone? Will you ever return? I do hope so.

Best bedtime podcast I’ve found

By Stuck in the heat - Nov 28 2018
Read more
This is the best bedtime podcast I have found. The stories are interesting enough to listen to, but she reads them in a way that is relaxing enough to fall asleep to. Makes me feel like a kid again, when the nice babysitter would read a story. Too bad she doesn’t make them anymore. Thanks for the ones you gave us. Hope you’re well Miette.

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Cover image of Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast

Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast

Updated 6 days ago

Read more

Curl up and fall asleep to the world's greatest short stories, the known treasures and the once-forgotten, purred to you as only Miette can.

A Rose for Emily

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So, my “identity” was stolen recently. And not for the sake of sordid members-only internet sites or international travel or a weekend of Spitzering other scandalous activities that, if you’re going to have your identity stolen, would constitute Theft in Style. No, my identity was used to buy clip art and stock photography and website services, which is about as exciting as cutting school to go and get a root canal, sneaking out of the house late at night to mow the lawn next door. You get the picture.

So a personal note to identity thieves in training: when you’re done with me, at least return me with a few heavy anecdotes and a thrilling punked-up haircut. OK?

Jun 01 2008

32mins

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While the Women are Sleeping

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I’m sitting here desperately trying not to listen to the U.S. Presidential Debate that’s streaming into my earbuds, because the entire thing seems like such hot-twisted-metal train wreckage that the hairs on my neck get singed just listening to it. And I like my neck-hairs.

And I know that the next month is going to be full of the same, so to spare your hairs, neck-and-other-wise, I’ve recorded a nice long one for you, replete with what I see (through admittedly hazy eyes) as thematic portents to what I’m listening to. Consider this my own personal bailout to you.

You’re welcome.

Oct 04 2012

1hr 10mins

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Lawyer Kraykowski’s Dancer

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A few days ago I was driving down the street behind a car which, as was warned by prominent display of rooftop sign, was being operated by a Student Driver… a sign which really wasn’t necessary, given the stammering mid-intersection braking and sideview-mirror clipping taking place all the way down the road, and I had this great idea that it’d be a real public service – a true exercise of civic duty – if other drivers could collectively contribute to driving lessons, by driving like raving lunatics around students, just to get them on their toes and on the lookout.

The fantasies were pretty grand, actually, as I patiently crawled alongside the road behind him, and I was just about to peel around him and slam on the brakes, when from nowhere and with no warning, the student hangs an unannounced left turn and smashes right into a car parked not ten feet away from us.

It occurs to me now that this student might be reading this, and if so, listen, man… there’s still hope for you.

The first time I ever drove I blew an engine. While driving in the middle of a major metropolitan area. And this was about a year before receiving a license. But you know, I was motivated by a determination not unlike that of the star of tonight’s story, although maybe without the desire to receive a beating.

So you stay focused, and stay clear of lawyers.Oh, and while you’re at it, do stay away also from any vehicles I happen to be driving.

Feb 05 2008

34mins

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The Hyannis Port Story

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I was talking to the resident genius here about false memories and the publishment thereof, when an idea emerged, an idea with such potential for industry salvation that there’s no choice but to document it here, in the interest of knowledge open-sourcing, or whatever.

The idea involved all these made-up memoirs floating about these days, and what a shame it is that they all have to be disparaged, refunded, yanked from shelves or production processes, and so on, especially in times of economic struggle. The idea is to take a fraction of the shelves of the Memoir section at your local bookstore, and refashion them into an entirely new genre: the Memwasn’t. Or the Fauxmoir. Whatever. The name’s beside the point.

But, think it over. It can be an inspiring game for authors, coming up with the most sensational, most unbelievably believable fake memoir imaginable. And at some point, there will be more and more of these books, and maybe no shortage of great ones, and people will be ardently buying and reading them, and the language will evolve and what we know as Fiction will be known as Memwasn’t (or whatever), and we can have stimulating arguments about Literary Fauxmoirs vs Genre Fauxmoirs, and we’ll all be happy again, and rolling in no shortage of books.

So there you have it, for any underemployed marketing brains just waiting for an idea to get you back in the game. All I want’s a credit at your awards speech. And to read all your fake memoirs… make em scandalous.

Jan 12 2009

35mins

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The Quilt

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This was going to go up during Banned Books week, but then I got a nasty visit from Uncle Rhinovire, and then there was the trip to the Akvariet and then it hit me that neither a short story nor the oral presentation of one qualify, really, as a “Banned Book,” although for reasons that will become evident, this story has been pretty broadly banned (read: it errs on the side of racy).

But that said, I’m happy to take your vote on what our young heroine saw beneath the quilt. A hint: I’m pretty sure it was not, in fact, an elephant.

Oct 21 2008

32mins

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The Interior Castle

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I’m more than a little eager to introduce this bit of Jean Stafford– in fact, the last time I was this eager, I was about to jump out of an airplane, an activity I was undertaking using age-faked identification, which was, to the best of my memory, the only time I’ve ever vomited directly onto the feet of an airplane pilot (the pilot then said this wasn’t the first time his feet had taken ablutions this way). And wait, I don’t mean to conflate Jean Stafford with my own underage retching.

Well, actually, I mean to do exactly that. The pain as rendered in tonight’s story is as visceral as words can create, and while I know your constitution can take it, I wanted to give you a chance to brace yourselves. Which is not to say that this is a story about pain, or one of those gruesome hyperviolent boy’s club tales that are all the rage* in certain circles. It’s not even a story about coping (although there’s plenty of that). You’ll have to listen to get the whole extent of the way she handles the body-mind wrestling match. But again: brace yourselves.

For those of you who just listen and don’t bother with my introductory pap, perhaps now is a good time to put your eyes to the above. I’m not fooling!

And about those round food monks mentioned in the story’s introduction, my mind will explode if it doesn’t implore. What do you think?

*a pun.

Dec 02 2009

1hr 1min

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Strawberries

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A few weeks ago, there was a hurricane that you might have read about (unless it blew a rock on top of you and you decided to live beneath it, in which case, my sympathies). During this hurricane, I was away on what was supposed to have been a Caribbean holiday of a few days, which turned into one of a few days plus a few days more plus a few bonus days. Not a bad way to ride out a storm, especially when one is stranded with a good book. Photographic evidence:

I returned to find great areas of my city in all kinds of shambles, but I have every confidence that readers of these pages are already doing what they can to help, so I won’t indulge in (much) proselytising.

Instead, I’ll swoonily admit that had I not been stranded on a Caribbean island with Familiar (BUY: AMZN, INDIEBOUND), I might’ve ended up parched with an atrophied and shriveled brain, wasted and prone to mirage. So you might say that we owe my health, and by extension this podcast, to that book.

So to celebrate, here’s a short piece by the same author, originally published in print by Salt Hill.

Nov 16 2012

13mins

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The Boat

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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.

Feb 16 2009

57mins

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The Vane Sisters, Vladimir Nabokov

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It had been some years since I’ve read any Nabokov, which I can only blame a youthful use of mind-shrinking substances or a two-mile-long to-read list. But recently, I made a full-length audiobook of Dustin Long’s Icelander, whose completion set me on a mission. I’m not going to shill Icelander too much (ahem, only five bucks! And I get a piece!), but there was no way for any reasonable person — or even myself — to finish it and not start thumbing through the old master’s treasures, all of which I’ve loved plenty at some point or other. You’ll see what I mean if you listen to Icelander (ahem: Iambik Audiobooks, who released it, features plenty other Miette-approved titles in its inaugural selection).

So there I was, splayed out on the floor surrounded by cracked copies of Pnin and Pale Fire and Ada and all the rest, just madly paging through a title, locating its place within the vast underworld of my memory, enjoying the moment of recognition, then putting it aside and grabbing the next… and then I reached for the stories.

One of the nicer books in my library of the beaten and battered is a lovely hard-cover of the collected stories, and toward the end of it, the Vane Sisters, which proved to be the reminiscent equivalent of a half-ton of Madeleines force-fed by aliens. Not only had I forgotten how imbued this story was with everything I love about literature, but in its way, it seemed to be a sort of Ur-text for Icelander. No fooling: if you’ll pardon the connect-the-dots of the subject matter, this was not unlike being poked in the neck by the very ghosts the story conjures. Spooky stuff, for a girl on the floor of her own dusty library.

Two clues to solving the story’s puzzle:

1> You may need to listen to it twice.
2> You may need to see this, the final paragraph, to make sense of things:

I could isolate, consciously, little. Everything seemed blurred, yellow-clouded, yielding nothing tangible. Her inept acrostics, maudlin evasions, theopathies – every recollection formed ripples of mysterious meaning. Everything seemed yellowly blurred, illusive, lost.

#####

PS: Wanna hear some of Icelander
by Dustin Long? The entire first chapter is ready for your ears.

#####

Okay, done shilling. Back to Nabokov:

Oct 27 2010

40mins

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Two Gallants by James Joyce

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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.

Jun 16 2011

26mins

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Feathers

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Oh-h-h-hhhh ladies! Oh men and oh boys and girls, the sexiest man alive is BACK. Patrick has been threatening to start up Patrick’s Bedtime Story Podcast, and with a voice this smooth, he might have to do it, much as I’d miss his occasional guest posts here. I’ll warn you that there’s an outburst of laughter in the middle of this that I didn’t have the heart to cut out, and also that he does a killer bird caw, and that Olla’s voice is a little on the saccharinely fey side. It’s that good.

I don’t get the chance to kick back and listen to another’s purring drone very often, but when Patrick delivers the musing about Fran’s hair, there was a little patter in this dark heart o’mine.

And if you think all babies are angelic beauties and that children are some sort of personification of happiness, this may help set you straight — and in that sense, it’s a morality story. Hope you like. More from me next week.

Jul 09 2009

41mins

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I Stand Here Ironing

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So I have this tendency, as you may have noticed, to take a sharp left at matters of personal divulgences, which is a difficult thing to pull off today, given the severity and somber-ity of a story like this one. But so, okay, here you go, three very revealing facts about my own self to accompany a story of introspect and plaintivity and other words existent and non-.

Number 1: I (your Miette) have never owned an iron. So god only knows if, in my delivery of tonight’s monologue, I am at all able to capture the sorts of things that go through a woman’s head while performing such an act.

Number 2: It is my opinion that “She blew shining bubbles of sound” is perhaps one of the finest phrases ever to be shucked from our language, and the fact that it exists in this narrative makes me think the entire thing’s worth another close listen by all of us.

Number 3: I’m not kidding in tonight’s blathery introduction about the naughty naked puppets, though I won’t tell you where people who get here by that route are being sent. Now, I suppose, they’ll just come here. I win!

Okay, your turn?

Enjoy a fine listen this actual autumn. I’ll yam at you next week with something fresh out of Canada, and I’ll bet money that you’ll love it.

Sep 22 2009

30mins

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Sex and/or Mr. Morrison

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A disclaimer for you on this happy June that will become self-evident soon enough: I love this story. I could read it a thousand times over and give you a thousand different insights. I love it in the peepish and borderline obsessive way its narratrice experiences love. Love it, in its own words, “as a mouse might love the hand that cleans the cage, and as uncomprehendingly, too, for surely I see only a part of him here.”

(Except the story doesn’t have a gender, so swap the pronoun for the more appropriate in that quote.)

I first read this story while obdurately at the beach with a friend on a cold, wet day. The only other beach-trawler was an Australian man, whistling and playing football by himself and wearing nothing but a floppy hat. This guy belonged perfectly with this collection of stories.

In fact, if story’s author is one whose writings (long and short) you haven’t yet read, I can tell you authoritatively that they’re perfect reading for rivers and hammocks and beaches and other June-type reading.

Speaking of June reading, by this daymarker it’s just about Bloomsday…

Jun 02 2010

29mins

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The Truth and All Its Ugly

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Whenever an internet missive or twit crosses my screen with Kyle Minor’s name attached, I open it up in awe of his apparently continual reading and writing and thinking acutely about the finer side of the bookish life. I don’t know whether this relentless pursuit of the craft can be had without a truckload of drugs, but I also think the drugs necessary for his task probably haven’t even been concocted yet.

Tonight’s story was originally published on Fifty-Two Stories, and is here with the permission of the author, a fact that I am laying down right now in case Fifty-Two Stories happens to have an intellectual property lawyer in the family with some time on his or her hands. And actually, Mr or Mrs Fifty-Two Stories and all sister and parent companies, if you’re reading this and you do come from legal blood, we should get married.

For the rest of you, you could get your brain into top form fast by looking closely at the right 3/4 of Kyle Minor’s legendary reading list. Here’s his web site, if that’s your bag.

May 09 2011

38mins

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When I Was Miss Dow

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This story was brought to my attention a few months ago, making its way inbox-ward on the anniversorry of my trip down Amniotic Lane, timing not unintentional. Now, I would share with you my thoughts on why this was selected as a Birthday Story, but that would involve psychographic profiling of the sender’s right eyebrow and a frame-by-frame comparison of my genuflection style to that of the author. And that’s just for starters.

In other words, not nearly as fun as speculation, and besides, I’m not about to give you all the information you’d need to know to perform such a task. But I will ask you this: have a listen (and keep your jaw taped up off the floor — this is a good one) and a think about it, and see what comes up. It could be worse, after all. We could be discussing politics.

Sep 08 2008

42mins

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The Cask of Amontillado

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So I read in the news today about the Indonesian macaque monkeys who’ve learned to successfully catch fish, and how exciting this is for biology, and how it’s a living and breathing example of the adaptation of a species to its conditions and environment, and really it was all astonishing stuff to read.

But for some reason all I could think was that these monkeys are capable of catching fish with their bare hands, and in the modern on-demand way we’d expect of them, when it takes me hours of unraveling knots and tying knots and waving a stick around in the water before, if I’m very very lucky, I manage to land anything more than ingredients for a muck-and-weed juice drink.

And then I snapped out of it and thought: huh, jealous of monkeys. Well, why not?

In other news, a killer thunderstorm knocked the power out twice before settling into the atmosphere needed for Poe regaleritics.

Jun 11 2008

22mins

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At the Anarchists’ Convention by John Sayles

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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…

Jun 08 2011

29mins

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The Specialist’s Hat

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So it was decided that I needed a table, but in thinking about the sort of table I might need, for the purpose the table would serve, it was further decided that the table needed to have certain bench-like properties. A hybrid, as we say in these times.

The problem is, as you may have heard, money in my country is not worth very much these days and table-benches are beyond my budget, and while there’s a new president whose first order of business, as you may have heard, will be to give me a new hybrid table-bench, I know better than to rely on economies and politics, and I went and gathered what I needed to fashion it myself.

Now, I’m not the handiest of people, and I’m actually fairly dangerous when put in front of power tools and sharp edges and, you know, screws and such, but I built the damned thing, which grew increasingly complicated from the initial idea of Top and Legs, to include such delicate bench-like features as Rabbited Feet and Lots of Slatted Inserts and Dependence on Measurements, and no shortage of other over-ambitious features for an unhandy sort. But it’s built. It’s wonky as all-hell, and if you’re ever over at my house and I invite you to sit on it, it can probably be safely said that I’m not your biggest fan. But it’s built– it’s my civic duty to let you all know that, wonkily or not, I’ve done my civic duty. And now it’s time to sit back and read more stories.

Nov 12 2008

44mins

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A Handful of Dates

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The question that’s been asked a few times of me now: why don’t I read more African writers? Actually, it’s been asked more than a few times… enough times, in fact, to warrant the sort of qualifier most accurately described as MANY.

So, many times it’s been asked of me, and many times I’ve answered that I, in what sometimes seems to be my inestimable ignorance, am aware of far fewer African writers than I should be. And, in the equally inestimable ignorance of the publishers of many of the short fiction anthologies from which I ply stories to read to you… well, you guessed it.

And rest assured, this is an acknowledgement that makes me wish I were flexible enough to kick my own ass, because a story like tonight’s makes me think I should. But I’m not (flexible enough), which is where guys like Isaac are useful. So thank you Isaac, and if others of you want to introduce me to something new, send it along.

Mar 21 2008

26mins

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Sir Henry

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I have a good excuse to spare you my blathery scrawl about the show-stopping beauty in this story — the hot cats at Electric Literature have done so in a flashier way, and before you even tap the PLAY button on your baubly mp3 players, you ought to watch this:

Nice, right? Apparently an artist named Luca Dipierro is to blame.

But it’s time to forcibly extract the candy from your eyes and cram it in your ears. Here’s a story.

Feb 27 2010

30mins

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A Little Cloud, by James Joyce

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I know, I know, I’m late for Bloomsday, and at this point, I thought you’d have forgotten.

My friends, why haven’t you forgotten?

I mean, you surely know that the world is breaking the sound barrier with how fast it seems to be going to wherever this cozy handbasket might be taking it, wherever it is handbaskets go.

But there you are, thinking about Bloomsday, and wondering to me where your podcast was. I was a little bit flattered, but mostly, this has sent me on a big personal trip round the block of introspection, which is in a really run-down part of town.

I began recording these pieces in early 2005, when I was underemployed and uninspired and ensconced in a world that I thought was being carried faster than the speed of sound straight to a place of agnostic hell, &cet. I was young then, and thought that maybe instead of fighting back against an oppressive and terroristic government, we could instead insert earbuds and drown ourselves in literature, or something. I swear it sounded almost anarchistic at the time.

And I can’t even repeat it today, because I’m old and it’s saccharine, but the sentiment is the same. If you need to plug your ears, have a podcast. Here’s some awfully apt Joyce.

Jul 25 2016

33mins

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A Mother

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Much love from my hidey-hole, where I spent the bedtime hours in recitation from the beginning of Ulysses in celebration of the hour at hand. But elas, my audience of one was sound asleep by mention of the snotgreen sea.

My own sinus was breaking waves with the same, as it often is these days, but thanks to the magic of audio editing, it is my hope that the sinusital intonations aren’t noticed much. (If one of the many sharp and violent nasal aspirations or other gaggery have sneaked into this recording, please alert me privately? Please?)

(Buy the Whiskey Tit book I’ve published, if you don’t mind.)

Jun 17 2015

31mins

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Counterparts

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In my many years of Bloomsday readings, I’ve neglected to tell you about my first run-in with the text.

It was more years ago than I’ll ever admit, when I had recently moved to New York, and had almost immediately found myself a nice new literary teenage boyfriend. We had only been dating a few weeks when he had given me a copy of Ulysses with the naughty bits highlighted (I later learnt that this was a hand-me-down from his brother, and he had never read much Joyce beyond Portrait, but if you’re a teenage boy looking to get laid, let me assure you that this will do it).

I wanted to impress him, because that’s what you do to teenage boyfriends, so I took him to a staged reading of Dubliners at a bar with a pinhole-sized black-box theatre in the the back. This event didn’t come particularly recommended to me, but in was in the Village Voice, and on Avenue B, so I felt it would be sufficiently edgy enough.

We arrived surprised to find a two-drink minimum required to attend. Now, we were neither seasoned nor legal drinkers, so we ordered four draft beers up front and downed them within a few minutes, to hide future evidence of any wrongdoing. Admittedly, the reading wasn’t so great as I recall– black turtlenecks, very somber, very serious, a deathly production. But two pints down amateur gullets coupled with the snoozer of a show worked its magic, and midway through Eveline (the fourth story in), my guy began snoring.

I spent some time kicking him awake before succumbing myself, and the next thing that entered my consciousness was the polite applause of the audience as the show was wrapping. And while these years later I have better judgment for those who hope to become laid by me, and a more acclimated constitution for a few pints, I remain convinced that it was a shit performance, and not beyond my then-inchoate acumen. At least, we can hope.

Jun 16 2014

25mins

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The Housekeeper

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Hello and would you just look at the calendar and where has the time gone?

I would make excuses for the lapse in months or tell you what I’ve been up to, but that would be projecting, and if you want to know these things, I’m sure you’ll just ask.

In any event, the theme of tonight’s story hits awfully close to home, so maybe if you listen you’ll understand a little more why I keep creeping back.

A week or so ago, the delightful Joanna Walsh wrote a lovely screed about reading more women writers this year, to which I respond with an approving ROAR and attach herein what I hope is the first of many such in the months to come, in the name of the incomparable Elizabeth Bishop.

Here’s more chatter about #readwomen2014. Read more women. And read more men, too, I think, and more people who don’t quite easily shoehorn into either classic gender.

ps: Some background noise, yes. I’ve moved house, and recording space, again, which means I need to throw my equipment against the walls to get the acoustics just right.

Jan 15 2014

13mins

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A Painful Case

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I’m sitting on what may be the most beautiful beach in the world, trying desperately to avoid dropping my computer into the chasms dug in the sand by last night’s hatching turtles, and trying even more desperately to explain to you why it’s been so long since I’ve flooded your Eustachians.

But the beach is no place to explain these things, and Bloomsday’s no day for self-absorption. I’ll come back soon on something nominally resembling a schedule, but in the meantime, Happy Bloomsday and keep your ears clean.

Jun 16 2013

25mins

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Water Liars

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In the Wells Tower profile of Barry Hannah I reference in the spoken introduction to today’s story (which you should treat yourself to), written before Hannah’s 2010 death, the following is offered:

Hannah is not a writer to be read idly, with half a head or heart. His work thrives in his sentences, the best of which require a couple of readings to fully wring their satisfactions. The syntactic rigor and strange music of his fiction occasionally get him classified as a difficult or, less appropriately, a postmodern writer, and are probably why Oprah Winfrey hasn’t called him yet.

It’s too bad Oprah didn’t jump at a chance to call him, I thought, then: it’s too bad I didn’t jump at the chance to write him a letter. Maybe it’s the sentiments of annus novus, or maybe it’s just the blade of edge needing sharpened. But, having recently driven through the parts of the country Hannah writes about, I can assert that “a lot of porches and banjos” wouldn’t be such a bad thing at all.

Jan 09 2013

11mins

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Strawberries

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A few weeks ago, there was a hurricane that you might have read about (unless it blew a rock on top of you and you decided to live beneath it, in which case, my sympathies). During this hurricane, I was away on what was supposed to have been a Caribbean holiday of a few days, which turned into one of a few days plus a few days more plus a few bonus days. Not a bad way to ride out a storm, especially when one is stranded with a good book. Photographic evidence:

I returned to find great areas of my city in all kinds of shambles, but I have every confidence that readers of these pages are already doing what they can to help, so I won’t indulge in (much) proselytising.

Instead, I’ll swoonily admit that had I not been stranded on a Caribbean island with Familiar (BUY: AMZN, INDIEBOUND), I might’ve ended up parched with an atrophied and shriveled brain, wasted and prone to mirage. So you might say that we owe my health, and by extension this podcast, to that book.

So to celebrate, here’s a short piece by the same author, originally published in print by Salt Hill.

Nov 16 2012

13mins

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While the Women are Sleeping

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I’m sitting here desperately trying not to listen to the U.S. Presidential Debate that’s streaming into my earbuds, because the entire thing seems like such hot-twisted-metal train wreckage that the hairs on my neck get singed just listening to it. And I like my neck-hairs.

And I know that the next month is going to be full of the same, so to spare your hairs, neck-and-other-wise, I’ve recorded a nice long one for you, replete with what I see (through admittedly hazy eyes) as thematic portents to what I’m listening to. Consider this my own personal bailout to you.

You’re welcome.

Oct 04 2012

1hr 10mins

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Houses (Guest narrator: Patrick Scott)

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When Patrick Scott has been known to bail me out of a slump in the past, he’s done so with his passel of Old Reliables: Raymond Carver. Flannery O’Connor. Russell Banks. The indisputably great, in other words. So when this time, he sent this recording of a piece by a speculative fiction writer I’d never heard of, my thoughts closed the loop to a circuit with “well, this ought to be interesting” on one end, and “Patrick’s lost his mind in the clamour of his visions of pretty knicker-clad girlies dancing seductively while dressed from the waist-up as sheep.” Patrick, you see, is to be trusted.

And so I pressed an ear to the computer to discover a piece of fiction that might have been conceived when There Will Come Soft Rains had a few bourbons and squeezed the thigh of The Truth and All Its Ugly. That piece then grew up to have its own personality, of course, and is imbued with an innate charm that wells up through its apocalyptic bleakness in a way that shouldn’t even be possible.

Hope you like it, and I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with my own set of pipes in just a couple of weeks. This should give you plenty of time to check out some of Mark Pantoja’s other writing, as well as Patrick Scott’s additional seductions on Zoochosis.

Sep 08 2012

27mins

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Clay, James Joyce

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In some parts of the world, it’s Bloomsday already, and in yours, it may be at the end of a summery Friday work-day, so perhaps The Big Day will greet you just as you’re weeding through your feedreader with an icy drink by your side while you dip your legs in a pool full of barely-clad beauties, or something.

But even if your drink of choice is presently milk, and the only thing you can actively do with the human form in its natural state at the moment is admire from an envious distance, happy listening and Happy Bloomsday. If you’re still catching up, here’s the Bloomsday collection to-date.

Jun 15 2012

19mins

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Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

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It’s been a while since I’ve last read, for reasons whose details I won’t serenade you with, but which have to do with huge, overwhelming, life-changing projects that ultimately will leave me with more time to do this more often (I’ll need a little luck, if you want to drop some in the mail), but which, at the moment, have me submerged and often feeling not unlike drowning (or what I imagine drowning is not-unlike. I’ve never actually drowned.)

Then I received an email from Evan Munday at Toronto’s Coach House Books, asking if I had interest in reading from Heather Birrell’s latest collection. Let me assure you now that a response of “WOULD I‽” does not come across to full effect in email if not accompanied by a look of wide-eyed promise and a rare display of teeth (even with the interrobang). Some of you might remember my enthusiasm at reading Birrell’s Trouble at Pow Crash Creek (from I Know You Are But What Am I? a couple of years ago. I promise you that the new collection, Mad Hope, is, impossibly, even more beautifully wrought, more intellectually finely tuned, and more gut-wrenching. You’ll see what I mean when you listen.

(Thanks Evan and Coach House for the book. Thanks Heather for the collection. Lest you think this is shilly, I was under no obligation whatsoever to read from the collection. Like most makers of book-derived things on the Internet, publishers send me books all the time, which I often read and sometimes like, but which are rarely suited for the little sanctum I’ve got here. Happy weekend!)

May 25 2012

35mins

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Breaking Camp (from Danvis Tales)

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If, while listening to tonight’s story, you come to the dialogue and have no idea about what I am talking, you won’t be alone. I staggered across tonight’s author by way of the great Hayden Carruth, whose introduction to Rowland E. Robinson’s Danvis Tales ranks among the most incisive layer-peeling short pieces of literary commentary I’ve read. And I assure you I’ve read a few. He says of the dialogue:

Robinson was an instinctive linguist; he understood the value of listening carefully and recording faithfully. And we may say as a matter of course that he applied the same care and fidelity to the larger aspects of his material, syntax, and speech rhythm…

… the most telling elements of Robinson’s skill are the least demonstrable, his sensitivity to the syntax and rhythm of colloquial speech. Notice the interplay of long and short breath-units in these sentences, and the mixing of grammatical structures, clause and phrase, different verb moods, and so forth. Only a very complicated chart could reduce all these elements to a form of linguistic analysis, but they are what account for both the verisimilitude and the esthetic liveliness of this speech. The truth is that Robinson’s dialogue, which is the largest and most important part of the Danvis Tales, is invariably better writing than his descriptive and narrative passages in the standard overblown English of his day.

So give it a chance, even if you have to suffer through my not entirely successful attempt at the colloquial speech of this time and place. “Folk tales” are not exactly my genre and narrative style of choice, but reading through these has been a welcome reminder of why I should slap myself on the hand with a ruler when I pigeonhole myself this way. And I’d slap you just the same; I care that much.

Mar 12 2012

11mins

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The Night of the Ugly Ones

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Sometimes a story catches you by title alone. I have a real soft spot, personally, for “The Night of the” stories, no matter the medium. Hunters, Iguanas, Living Dead, even Comets (to a lesser degree)… all of these things weaken my articulated joints. Tonight’s story is no different in that regard, but all kinds of different if those Night stories are your precedents.

And if a great story isn’t enough to kick you in your more callipygian regions and get you to work, according to his NYTimes obit, Mario Benedetti is responsible for more than 80 books. If you move now, maybe you can catch up. Maybe I should stop soliloquising and give you your story already. Here’s Mario Benedetti.

Oh, wait, I’m not done. Over at Iambik, we’re giving away audiobooks this week. You should enter to pick up my most recent if you haven’t already, as I’ve got a couple of new ones in the works. Also, because tonight’s is a short story, and won’t nearly keep you cozy. And now, really, Mario Benedetti.

Jan 31 2012

10mins

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Illusion by Jean Rhys (Redux)

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Sometimes it just kills me how many stories I’ve read here. A lot, that’s how many. And as much as I’m endeared to those earlier lo-fi bootleggy recordings, there are some stories which just aren’t served by the lack of quality, and some stories that, after this many years, should be read again anyway.

So, here’s a bonus for you, thanks to Mel U of The Reading Life, and one of the internet’s most enthusiastic readers of Jean Rhys.

In related news, this article about Global Warming affecting the intelligence of reptiles has been floating around the internettish circles. A scary thought, to some, but I take great pleasure in the thought that someday salamanders may fit themselves with earbuds and join our clan of the literarily satisfied.

Now, about Jean Rhys…

Jan 12 2012

13mins

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Indiscretion

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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…

Dec 15 2011

24mins

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The Young Workman’s Letter (Guest narrator: Chris King)

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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.

Visit Poetry Scores and Confluence City and don’t forget to thank Chris for the story.

I’ll be back very soon now, honest.

Nov 11 2011

28mins

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I Am Awake (Guest narrator: Philip Shelley)

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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.

Oct 27 2011

26mins

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The Man Who Lost the Sea (Guest narrator: Shig Vigintitres)

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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.

Oct 14 2011

29mins

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Enoch and the Gorilla (Guest Reader: Patrick Scott)

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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.

Oct 07 2011

17mins

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Frau Wilke (Guest narrator: Sam Jones)

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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.

Sep 20 2011

12mins

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