Posts tagged fiction
Posts tagged fiction
Not much to say here, other than Things Fall Apart is one of those rare books that sticks with me years (decades?!) after I first read it. In honor of the passing of a great writer, I pass along here my favorite quote from TFA, the words of which are terrifying, mysterious and true all at once:
“I am Evil Forest. I kill a man on the day that his life is sweetest to him.”
The audio lit journal WordPlaySound has come out with a new short story of mine in its June issue. It’s a bit of an unorthodox piece for me, in the sense that the story is told from the first person perspective of a non-human narrator. Though it’s never explicitly stated in the piece, the narrator is, in fact, a bigfoot.
Now, I know it might come off sounding like kind of a stunt to write a story like that, and it certainly leaves open the possibility for jokiness and goofballery. But the approach I decided to take was to write it with absolutely no irony — the feelings and emotions of the narrator are as true as those that anyone else might have. My goal was to, at a certain point, have the listener forget that they’re listening to someone non-human and simply allow themselves to immerse in this slightly foreign perspective.
Go here to give it a listen.
I just got word that the audio short story I recorded for WordPlaySound has been accepted for publication next month. Actually, I’m not sure if publication is the proper term for a recording… Maybe I should say my audio short story drops next month. Anyway, the upshot is that people will be subjected my superfluously enunciated podcast diction and my nascent audio mixing skills. Should make for an interesting listen.
A while ago a friend who runs the audio literary journal WordPlaySound asked me to try recording a story of mine and last week I finally had the time to sit down and give it a shot. Here are a few of the takeaways from the experience:
1. Garageband, which is the program I used to mix the audio, is incredibly complex but once you get a feel for it, it’s also maddeningly addictive. The more I toyed with using different tracks and inserting sample loops and varying the volume on the individual tracks, the deeper down the rabbit hole I fell. Then, once I’d learn some other new trick or doo-dad, I’d want to go back and add it to all the previous stuff I’d recorded. The final mix ended up being kind of a Frankenstein’s monster, which likely got better sounding as it went along.
2. It’s super disorienting to record your voice. As a kid, I always thought my voice sounded strange when I’d hear it played back. Such instances were usually limited to home movies of birthdays and Christmas mornings, so at least they were a natural representation of my voice. It’s a different ballgame when you’re recording yourself for the purpose of being played back. I found myself weirdly over-enunciating certain syllables to a point where I sounded like I was talking in this absurdly affected British accent.
3. If you want to improve your writing, read it out loud. This is something I say to my composition students all the time and one of the tricks I use when I’m tutoring developmental writing students in the writing lab at school, but it applies just as equally to advanced fiction and nonfiction writers. Something about hearing yourself read your own writing helps cut right through the most wooden-sounding dialogue and spotlights the weakest turns of phrase. I can’t recommend it enough.
Like any list, there’s always stuff you end up leaving out. In fact, just as I was putting the finishing touches on this post I realized I hadn’t included any Cloud Cult, which, if you know me, is a huge oversight. Regardless, I’m going to stick with the list I originally came up with. So..
Here’s Part 2 of my novel soundtrack.
9. 5 Years Time, Noah and the Whale
10. Last Stop: This Town, Eels
11. There Will Be No Divorce, The Mountain Goats
12. Weighty Ghost, Wintersleep
13. Birdhouse in Your Soul, They Might Be Giants
14. Welcome Home, Radical Face
15. Mighty Little Man, Steve Burns
16. P.S. You Rock My World, Eels