A Private Possession

Questions That Have Been Asked, at Varying Levels of Frequency, of Miette and Her Podcast:

How did this get started?
It was supposed to be a joke; I published the first episode in Movable Type without knowing what I was doing, and of course before you know it pings get sent out, trackers get propagated, people start listening, and I can’t stop. Then, because I’m a little compulsive, I became somewhat addicted.

Why addicted? Do you love yourself that much?
No more so than any other woman as attractive and dazzlingly brilliant as I am. Additionally, don’t forget that stories existed before there was written language to capture them, and besides, oral storytelling is a fast dying art, one that forces you to slow down, to pay attention, to recapture forgotten languages, to pay homage to ways in which words can be delivered, and to meditate on a word, or a phrase, or a whole story. I talk a little more about this in the first episode. But mostly, yes, I love myself that much.

You’ve been going on for almost a year four years now. Are you going to stop any time soon?
Get lost! At the moment, I quite love reading these stories aloud, as in doing so I look at them more astutely than I do when I arbitrarily and quickly plough through a collection of short fiction. And since I don’t plan to stop that any time soon, I don’t know why I’d stop reading them into a microphone and sharing them with you.

Aren’t some of these stories under copyright? How are you getting away with this?
My absolute greatest hope for this podcast is that you might be introduced (or re-introduced) to a new writer or two, and, when that introduction has been made, you’ll rush out and buy that writer’s books.

I hear a dog barking on some of your podcasts. What kind is it? Why don’t you edit that out?
That’s two questions.
Oh yea. What kind of dog is that?
A girl dog. She sheds an awful lot. She doesn’t bark all that much, and I’m not quite sure why she always wants to do so while I’m recording; I think it’s her way of trying to contribute.

That question a few questions up? About copyright? Well, you didn’t really answer it at all.
Huh, funny that.

Why do the quality of some recordings sound even worse than others?
When I got started, I was recording using an iTalk straight into my iPod (the sound engineering equivalent of reading into an old cassette recorder in a football stadium), and living on a very busy street. These days, I’ve improved the recording technology (but only just a little) and live in a much quieter space. In general, I should hope that the quality continues to improve with time. But I make no promises here, and as a rule, would rather spend time reading than sound geeking. Still, I’m open to suggestion.

Are there other podcasts that involve other people reading to me?
Why yes there are; those I know of and listen to can be found on the right side of this page, under the header of the (perhaps rather obtusely titled) “Other People Who Will Read To You.” If you’re looking for more, you might also try this new site I’ve heard about. It’s called Google.

Why don’t you edit it out when your dog barks / phone rings / email beeps / postman twice rings?
Because if I were reading you a story from across the room, or in bed, or over the telephone, or on the sofa, or anywhere else in the atom-based world, and the dog barked, well, we wouldn’t edit that out, would we?

Will you read (x story) by (x author)?
Probably. I do have a few parameters that I use in deciding what to read, but I do take requests, and fulfill on most of them. Ask me and we’ll see. If I don’t own the story, you may have to send me a copy.

Can I read something for your podcast?
Possibly. The rules here are slightly more strict (you need to be a damned good reader), but again, get in touch and we’ll see. There is the occasional reading here that I didn’t make, always by damned good readers.

You keep saying “get in touch” but you never publish your email. What the hell?
That’s what I say, “What the hell?” each time the spammers catch on to a new email address. But try your luck with miette at this domain.

Where do you live? Where are you from? Is that a (Midlands / Yorkshire / Scottish / Kansas / Indonesian) accent?
That’s three questions, but I’ll take care of them all: None of your business. You should be more interested in the biographies of authors whose stories are being read here anyhow.

How do you make money off this?
About two pennies per year. Not enough to pay the bills, but enough for a doctor’s visit in Europe.

Okay. But can I pay you a truckload of money to promote my company in your podcasts?
Get. In. Touch.

Why’d you choose this particular story to be immemorialised with your Frequently and Infrequently Asked Questions?
Because my author index is filling out well, but still y-less, until now. And Steven suggested Yates (and thank you for it!) as a way to nip that problem.

God, are you going to blather away forever? Will you stop with the questions and get on with today’s reading already?
Your wish, my command:

55 thoughts on “A Private Possession”

  1. This page is going to live as the ABOUT section of the site, from here-out, because I’m lazy, or efficient. Any questions feel free to add them below, as will I if any arise with enough frequency to justify with an answer in spite of my efficiency (laziness)

  2. Good! Because the dog will continue to bark and the telephone can be hard to silence, though I should admittedly watch my mouth more than occasionally…

  3. Congrats on 100 episodes! Love your podcasts! You refer to receiving emails–where might I find your address? I’d love to send you a real thank-you note.:-)

  4. I’m a fairly recent subscriber via iTunes. I very much enjoy your stories but I’ve had a problems with serveral of them being cut off at the end a tad prematurely, in the middle of a sentence or what I suspect may be a few lines early.

    Any ideas?

  5. I’ve heard by way of grapevine that this happens on all podcasts sporadically; I’m not sure why… the theories abound. I’ve started to add a couple of seconds of silence to the end of recent podcasts in hopes that this no longer happens. Keep me posted– there are few things worse than a story robbed of its ending. xo — mtte.

  6. A real honest-to-god FAQ!: a few people have asked about my theme music, and enquired as to where it might be downloaded. I’m fortunate to have a few talented songwriters dear to me, who either like me enough to lend mine their ears, or are total pushovers. Either way, I’m lucky enough to have two themes that I rotate based both on mood of podcastresse and theme of podcast. Maybe they’ll write more; we should be so lucky. But if you want to download them, you won’t be able to control yourself from falling in love with:

    If you’re listening to the earlier recordings, you’re probably hearing this haunting lo-fi intro to a song called Martian, written by Philip Shelley.

    Miette’s Theme, the jingle that’s by my reckoning associated with most readings by this point, was written by the much-missed Dream Smith, who was kind of guy who, when you’d say “I’m going to start reading stories to the internet,” would turn around and say “oh, you need a theme song. Give me a week” and then proceed to send you something that to this day, you think Steve Albini must have secretly produced, the way it leeches onto your skin from the inside. You can download the theme if you want. Everybody should know Dream’s music, which is being archived and can be downloaded over here.

    And if these end up sampled in the next Britney mashup and you make your millions from them, I’ll turn up at your door, ready to collect.

  7. I would like to recommend “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It has to be my favorite short story… no matter how many times I read it it still gives me the chills!

  8. I really like your podcasts.
    Great book selection, I enjoy listening to them.

    And I still would very much like to know where you are from! I’ve checked your FAQ and I understand you don’t really fancy answering this question, but you see I’m learning English (it’s not my first language)and therefore I listen to your podcast not only because of the books, but also in order to improve my language, so I was wondering what accent you had… That’s also sort of important for me, because I am going to be a linguist. I’m assuming you are British, so maybe you could at least tell me if I’m wrong?

    Anyways thanks for your work. 🙂

  9. Miette,
    I’m so grateful for this podcast. The stories you read and your introductions to them have gotten me through hours of monotonous data collection and tissue culture. And I feel like I’ve learned or been enriched or something afterwards, which is a nice, unusual feeling.

    If I had truckloads of money, I’d give you some — but as it is, I can only offer to help you with your tissue culture.

  10. Hello Miette – I was listening last night as I was going to sleep and you mentioned wanting to know what/how/when people listen to podcasts — so here’s my ritual for yours: after reading something particularly tame, like an Alexander McCall Smith book (he wrote the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, among others…check out his serialised 44 Scotland Street for an Edinburgh series), I make sure the fan is on and then start one (or more) of your longer podcasts to lull me to sleep with your calming voice…I usually put the iPod on sleep timer to have it go off after 30 or 60 minutes….right now I’m visiting my parents who have been staying in Andalucia (La Herradura/Almuñecar, Med Coast), so it’s nice to help with the jet lag….anyway, where did you get your accent? Welsh? NZ? I can’t quite nail it, but it’s beautiful. I also like it when your dog barks or your phone goes off, it’s amusing and obsolescent… 🙂 I think you should read some Gogol, now that you’ve wonderfully lampooned with him with the Caracas story….I once played Madman in and adaptation for the stage of Diary of a Madman….a wonderful story.

    —-With peas, (visualize Whirld Peas)


  11. Hi Miette,

    I’m writing from Toronto, Canada and I believe your podcast is outstanding. I chuckled as I heard your comments on Tissue Culture. I am a physician but also have a PhD in Human Genetics: During my doctorate I spent many hours, weeks, years doing tissue culture and didn’t have an ipod then. Instead, I would borrow books on tape from my library to get me through the dull hours spent at the scientific bench. Tissue culture is a sterile technique of growing cells in a special medium on round, covered, plastic dishes inside a sterile fume hood. We would usually blast the radio loudly to drown out how boring the process was of splitting cells and growing them to do experiments. Thank goodness my tissue culture days are behind me. So, to your listener who is enjoying your podcast while “tissue culturing”, take note: keep listening, remember sterile technique, and, most of all, you won’t be doing it forever!

    Dr. Dave

  12. i just stumbled (i’m a bad speller) on your podcasts and dog barking and all ….find them intigiging and highly addictive ….” more Please!”
    ? what happend to the woman that stepped out in the rain onto her balcony.

  13. Hello Miette! Thank you so much for these stories. They are wonderful and get me through long hours of data entry. I am so very grateful. Your voice and accent are so charming.

    I was thinking back to my high school English days, and remembered these stories. Just thought I would throw them out there as suggestions as they are all great.

    “A & P” by John Updike
    “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst
    “Rape Fantasies” by Margaret Atwood
    “Lamb To The Slaughter” by Roald Dahl

    Thanks again. You are appreciated.

  14. Hello Miette! Thank you so much for these stories. They are wonderful and get me through long hours of data entry. I am so very grateful. Your voice and accent are so charming.

    I was thinking back to my high school English days, and remembered these stories. Just thought I would throw them out there as suggestions as they are all great.

    “A & P” by John Updike
    “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst
    “Rape Fantasies” by Margaret Atwood
    “Lamb To The Slaughter” by Roald Dahl

    Thanks again. You are appreciated.

  15. Hello Miette,

    I just recently found your podcast and I’ve spent all day listening to your wonderful voice and your marvelous stories. I think I’m in love with you; I’m hart broken because I’m thinking that, after reading some of your comments, you may be a lesbian. If you are it is a great loss for mankind. I don’t know what you look like, but I know that you are beautiful.

    I love your accent. Is it Scottish?

  16. Miette,

    I can’t thank you enough for the fantastic PODCAST. I just started listening, but now look forward to each show.

  17. Hello Miette,

    I work a monotonous programming job, whilst loosing a piece of my sanity with every keystroke. But your podcast, along with your lovely speaking voice, has brightened my otherwise gloomy cubical imprisonment. Those words you speak flow as honey through my squishy head phones; trickling down through every nook of gray matter. My only hope is to linger onwards waiting for that sequential dose of exhilaration provided by you.

    Best of wishes,


  18. Hello Miette,

    I have been trying for several days now to download your Cornell Woolrich short story in two parts “It Had to be Murder” onto my iPod, but every time it downloads the most recent story in the subscription. Is this still available, and how do I go about getting it? I have scrolled to the specific parts 1 and 2 and clicked “get episode” but it never appears in my library. Please help!


  19. Miette… I received my first ipod for Christmas 2006 and within a month I had discovered your site. You and your stories are now a distinct part of my life. Surely you know there are many grateful people like me in the world who are delighted by your voice, your story selection, your love of literature and your generosity of spirit. In short, we are a huge fans.

    I would like to humbly recommend the short stories of the deliciously and wickedly talented H.H. Munroe, better known as Saki. Favorites of mine are:

    Sredni Vashtar
    The Reticence of Lady Anne
    The Lumber-Room
    The Open Window
    and there are many many more gems.

    Would just LOVE to hear you read them.

  20. Hi Miette.

    I found your site after looking for the text of the story ‘Gods’ by Vladimir Nabokov. When I listened, as I walked up a hill where I live on the border between Wales and England, I pictured you for some reason as a character in a short film by Kristof Kieslowski.

    I am going to buy a cheap mp3 player, download your entire oeuvre, and slowly work through it.

    Argh my paragraph breaks are not showing for some reason.

    Anyway here is a list of my favourite short stories, it would be great if you had a chance to read one of them:

    Stories that squeeze my brain: Cloud, castle, lake by Vladimir Nabokov; A clean, well-lighted place, by Ernest Hemingway; The swimmer, by John Cheever; Teddy, by JD Salinger.

    Fable-type stories: Funes the memorious, by Jorge Luis Borges; The distance of the moon, by Italo Calvino; Harry Belten and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, by Barry Targan.

    Uncategorisable stories: Ping, by Samuel Beckett (it makes absolutely no sense to me but I love the rhythms)

  21. Love your voice, I’d second something from Roald Dahl, but you’re reading pieces I wouldn’t read on my own, so I’m inclined to continue listening to you choose these stories I wouldn’t read myself.
    I listen while doing library work- shelf reading, shelving, moving books to storage.

  22. What a delicious treat your podcast is. My wife and I both enjoy it. The Ilf and Petrov was an unexpected treat. They don’t get much play anymore.

    Don’t mind the dog. Please continue.

  23. hello Miette,
    I have been listening since October 2005. I struggled through your early work with its interesting sound! and your sound now is superb. Sadly the story’s have for the most part been above my intellectual level. You make me feel very small as you wax so lyrically about how a story has touched or moved you, but for me sadly the earth did not move. maybe I need more action or adventure than you. I will hang on in hope that I may change and learn. Thank you and good Luck
    Graham Pollard.

  24. Hi

    Love your recordings. Any place we can download from your very first one and get them all?


  25. Hi,

    I discovered your podcast recently (on iTunes) and love it to pieces. Being a frazzled insomniac of a third year student, who barely has time to feed her bibliophilia, your podcast really helps. I’ve actually been inspired to start a podcast myself on my own blog…even if it isn’t really an ‘official’ podcast due to no RSS feed and zero funding.

    I really do love your stories. Thanks for keeping my fiction addiction alive! More power to you and good luck!

    – N.C.

    (BTW, you can listen to my first “podcast” on the link I left. =P sorry to be so very, very presumptuous but I couldn’t resist. It’s sort of like giving your demo tape to an artist you like, I think.)

  26. Miette, love your podcast. Your voice is very soothing. I am in California and I listen to you at work, while editing contact lists or other tiresome aspects of office work. In particular, around 4:00pm, when I am eager to get home. They help me slow down and get that last bit of work done.

    I am also having the problem where I think the podcast cuts out early, and quite frequenly at that. I hope it gets fixed soon!

  27. Miette, love the sound of your voice. Would you please read another by Flannery O’Connor? “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” would be great. or any other you like.

  28. Miette,

    I don’t know how you feel about Joyce Carol Oates, but I’d love to hear you read “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” Thanks!

  29. Hey Miette,

    Just prolly the 1000th comment saying this is a fantastic initiative, thanks for taking your time to do this, and looking forward to many more podcasts.

    Danke schon!

  30. Hi Miette ,
    Thanks for the soothing podcasts, I’m a big fan of audio books, and your podcasts are just as enjoyable.
    By the way, regarding your accent, I was born in Sheffield yorkshire, and while working as a Driver for Whitbreads Brewery,I Delivered far and wide, my guess is you come from the area around (Hull-Beverley-York), people say I’m quite good with accents, let me know if I’m close.:-)
    Take Care. Regards Steve (Isle of Wight).

  31. Hi Miette,
    Thanks for taking time to read these stories – i listen to you while I paint. love your voice and attitude 🙂 please keep reading stories or i will never finish that would be famous artwork!

  32. Good Evening Miette!
    I just wanted to say “Thanks” personally for expanding my ongoing quest for being well read in short story literature. I student teach now and start full time teaching English at the end of December and I have been using your podcasts to keep me up to speed with some authors I am unfamiliar with. I even hope to use your podcast in my classroom when relevant to a story we are reading.
    As far as requests, I am a big fan of Raymond Carver’s “A Small, Good Thing.” Amazing story, yet short.
    Thank you again for everything and maybe someday you’ll allow me to read the novella of Mice and Men! At least, for your enjoyment!

  33. I’ve been thinking about doing this too. I’ve had stories I never see for people to listen to that I’d love for them to experience, especially by a particular dead author who deserves some recognition or even original cognition.

    But I worry that I’ll be infringing on copyright and stuff…I mean I don’t care if YOU are doing something illegal…I just want to know if IIII were to do it if it would be illegal. ‘Cause I wanna jump in the game, y’know?

  34. I would love you to do “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner…and anything else by him. That story, however, is one of my favourites. Poor Emily, so misunderstood. My husband suggested Ambrose Bierce, but “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” isn’t exactly a bedtime story! Still, it would be a good one to do. Do you do poetry? Your voice would lend itself so well to Dickinson…LOVE your site. Thanks.

  35. Well Jennifer, it took a while, but this one’s for you:


    (given the nature of this story, “this one’s for you” seems a creepy dedication, but, uh, you asked for it)

  36. Dear Miette,

    I am happy to count myself as one of your many avid listeners and fans. I found your podcast quite recently and am working my way through them all at an alarming pace. Your story selection is impressive and I enjoy your delivery immensely.

    I wanted to recommend a short story that I feel is an almost perfect example of its genre and one that I feel would suit your performance style very well. It’s called Bullet in the Brain by Tobias Wolff. I’m including the text below for you to look over when you get a chance. Please excuse the slightly odd format of the text, I got it from the internet …

    Again, thanks for a lovely time.


    Maritxu de Alaiza
    Los Angeles, CA

    Bullet in the Brain
    Tobias Wolff

    Anders couldn’t get to the bank until just before it closed, so of course the line was endless and he
    got stuck behind two women whose loud, stupid conversation put him in a murderous temper. He
    was never in the best of tempers anyway, Anders – a book critic known for the weary, elegant
    savagery with which he dispatched almost everything he reviewed.
    With the line still doubled around the rope, one of the tellers stuck a “POSITION CLOSED” sign in
    her window and walked to the back of the bank, where she leaned against a desk and began to pass
    the time with a man shuffling papers. The women in front of Anders broke off their conversation
    and watched the teller with hatred. “Oh, that’s nice,” one of them said. She turned to Anders and
    add, confident of his accord, “One of those little human touches that keep us coming back for
    Anders had conceived his own towering hatred of the teller, but he immediately turned it on the
    presumptuous crybaby in front of him. “Damned unfair,” he said. “Tragic, really. If they’re not
    chopping off the wrong leg, or bombing your ancestral village, they’re closing their positions.”
    She stood her ground. “I didn’t say it was tragic,” she said. “I just think it’s a pretty lousy way to
    treat your customers.”
    “Unforgivable,” Anders said. “Heaven will take note.”
    She sucked in her cheeks but stared pas him and said nothing. Anders saw that the other woman,
    her friend, was looking in the same direction. And then the tellers stopped what they were doing,
    and the customers slowly turned, and silence came over the bank. Two men wearing black ski
    masks and blue business suits were standing to the side of the door. One of them had a pistol
    pressed against the guard’s neck. The guard’s eyes were closed, and his lips were moving. The
    other man had a sawed-off shotgun. “Keep your big mouth shut!” the man with the pistol said,
    though no one had spoken a word. “One of you tellers hits the alarm, you’re all dead meat. Got
    The tellers nodded.
    “Oh, bravo, “Anders said. “Dead meat.” He turned to the woman in front of him. “Great script, eh?
    The stern, brass-knuckled poetry of the dangerous classes.”
    She looked at him with drowning eyes.
    The man with the shotgun pushed the guard to his knees. He handed up the shotgun to his partner
    and yanked the guard’s wrists up behind his back and locked them together with a pair of handcuffs.
    He toppled him onto the floor with a kick between the shoulder blades. Then he took his shotgun
    back and went over to the security gate at the end of the counter. He was short and heavy and
    moved with peculiar slowness, even torpor. “Buzz him in,” his partner said. The man with the
    shotgun opened the gate and sauntered along the line of tellers, handing each of them a Hefty bag.
    When he came to the empty position he looked over at the man with the pistol, who said, “Whose
    slot is that?”
    Anders watched the teller. She put her hand to her throat and turned to the man she’d been talking
    to. He nodded. “Mine,” she said.
    “Then get your ugly ass in gear and fill that bag.”
    “There you go,” Anders said to the woman in front of him. “Justice is done.”
    “Hey! Bright boy! Did I tell you talk?”
    “No,” Anders said.
    “Then shut your trap.”
    “Did you hear that?” Anders said. “’Bright boy.’ Right out of ‘The Killers’.”
    “Please be quiet,” the woman said.
    “Hey, you deaf or what?” The man with the pistol walked over to Anders. He poked the weapon
    into Anders’ gut. “You think I’m playing games?”
    “No,” Anders said, but the barrel tickled like a stiff finger and he had to fight back the titters. He
    did this by making himself stare into the man’s eyes, which were clearly visible behind the holes in
    the mask: pale blue, and rawly red-rimmed. The man’s left eyelid kept twitching. He breathed out
    a piercing, ammoniac smell that shocked Anders more than anything that had happened, and he was
    beginning to develop a sense of unease when the man prodded him again with the pistol.
    “You like me, bright boy?” he said. “You want to suck my dick?”
    “No,” Anders said.
    “Then stop looking at me.”
    Anders fixed his gaze on the man’s shiny wing-top shoes.
    “Not down there. Up there.” He stuck the pistol under Anders’ chin and pushed it upward until
    Anders was looking at the ceiling.
    Anders had never paid much attention to that part of the bank, a pompous old building with marble
    floors and counters and pillars, and gilt scrollwork over the tellers’ cages. The domed ceiling had
    been decorated with mythological figures whose fleshy, toga-draped ugliness Anders had taken in at
    a glance many years earlier and afterward declined to notice. Now he had no choice but to
    scrutinize the painter’s work. It was even worse than he remembered, and all of it executed with the
    utmost gravity. The artist had a few tricks up his sleeve and used them again and again – a certain
    rosy blush on the underside of the clouds, a coy backward glance on the faces of the cupids and
    fauns. The ceiling was crowded with various dramas, but the one that caught Anders’ eye was Zeus
    and Europa – portrayed, in this rendition, as a bull ogling a cow from behind a haystack. To make
    the cow sexy, the painter had canted her hips suggestively and given her long, droopy eyelashes
    through which she gazed back at the bull with sultry welcome. The bull wore a smirk and his
    eyebrows were arched. If there’d been a bubble coming out of his mouth, it would have said,
    “Hubba hubba.”
    “What’s so funny, bright boy?”
    “You think I’m comical? You think I’m some kind of clown?”
    “You think you can fuck with me?”
    “Fuck with me again, you’re history. Capiche?”
    Anders burst our laughing. He covered his mouth with both hands and said, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,”
    then snorted helplessly through his fingers and said, “Capiche – oh, God, capiche,” and at that the
    man with the pistol raised the pistol and shot Anders right in the head.
    The bullet smashed Anders’ skull and ploughed through his brain and exited behind his right ear,
    scattering shards of bone into the cerebral cortex, the corpus callosum, back toward the basal
    ganglia, and down into the thalamus. But before all this occurred, the first appearance of the bullet
    in the cerebrum set off a crackling chain of ion transports and neuro-transmissions. Because of
    their peculiar origin these traced a peculiar patter, flukishly calling to life a summer afternoon some
    forty years past, and long since lost to memory. After striking the cranium the bullet was moving at
    900 feet per second, a pathetically sluggish, glacial pace compared to the synaptic lighting that
    flashed around it. Once in the brain, that is, the bullet came under the mediation of brain time,
    which gave Anders plenty of leisure to contemplate the scene that, in a phrase he would have
    abhorred, “passed before his eyes.”
    It is worth noting what Ambers did not remember, given what he did remember. He did not
    remember his first lover, Sherry, or what he had most madly loved about her, before it came to
    irritate him – her unembarrassed carnality, and especially the cordial way she had with his unit,
    which she called Mr. Mole, as in, “Uh-oh, looks like Mr. Mole wants to play,” and “Let’s hide Mr.
    Mole!” Anders did not remember his wife, whom he had also loved before she exhausted him with
    her predictability, or his daughter, now a sullen professor of economics at Dartmouth. He did not
    remember standing just outside his daughter’s door as she lectured her bear about his naughtiness
    and described the truly appalling punishments Paws would receive unless he changed his ways. He
    did not remember a single line of the hundreds of poems he had committed to memory in his youth
    so that he could give himself the shivers at will – not “Silent, upon a peak in Darien,” or “My God, I
    heard this day,” or “All my pretty ones? Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?” None of these did he
    remember; not one. Anders did not remember his dying mother saying of his father, “I should have
    stabbed him in his sleep.”
    He did not remember Professor Josephs telling his class how Athenian prisoners in Sicily had been
    released if they could recite Aeschylus, and then reciting Aeschylus himself, right there, in the
    Greek. Anders did not remember how his eyes had burned at those sounds. He did not remember
    the surprise of seeing a college classmate’s name on the jacket of a novel not long after they
    graduated, or the respect he had felt after reading the book. He did not remember the pleasure of
    giving respect.
    Nor did Anders remember seeing a woman leap to her death from the building opposite his own just
    days after his daughter was born. He did not remember shouting, “Lord have mercy!” He did not
    remember deliberately crashing his father’s car in to a tree, of having his ribs kicked in by three
    policemen at an anti-war rally, or waking himself up with laughter. He did not remember when he
    began to regard the heap of books on his desk with boredom and dread, or when he grew angry at
    writers for writing them. He did not remember when everything began to remind him of something
    This is what he remembered. Heat. A baseball field. Yellow grass, the whirr of insects, himself
    leaning against a tree as the boys of the neighborhood gather for a pickup game. He looks on as the
    others argue the relative genius of Mantle and Mays. They have been worrying this subject all
    summer, and it has become tedious to Anders: an oppression, like the heat.
    Then the last two boys arrive, Coyle and a cousin of his from Mississippi. Anders has never met
    Coyle’s cousin before and will never see him again. He says hi with the rest but takes no further
    notice of him until they’ve chosen sides and some asks the cousin what position he wants to play.
    “Shortstop,” the boy says. “Short’s the best position they is.” Anders turns and looks at him. He
    wants to hear Coyle’s cousin repeat what he’s just said, but he knows better than to ask. The others
    will think he’s being a jerk, ragging the kid for his grammar. But that isn’t it, not at all – it’s that
    Anders is strangely roused, elated, by those final two words, their pure unexpectedness and their
    music. He takes the field in a trance, repeating them to himself.
    The bullet is already in the brain; it won’t be outrun forever, or charmed to a halt. In the end it will
    do its work and leave the troubled skull behind, dragging its comet’s tail of memory and hope and
    talent and love into the marble hall of commerce. That can’t be helped. But for now Anders can
    still make time. Time for the shadows to lengthen on the grass, time for the tethered dog to bark at
    the flying ball, time for the boy in right field to smack his sweat-blackened mitt and softly chant,
    They is, they is, they is.

  37. I love you! I’m a lazy reader–long story. Anyway, after hearing your read Diary of a Madman…I request that you add to you list: A Hero of Our Time by Lermontov. Thank!

  38. Just one recommendation; it’s a short short story.

    When They Learned to Yelp by Dave Eggars from
    How We are Hungry.

  39. Miette,

    I LOVE your podcast! I’m a long-time audio book listener and am thrilled to have found your website. Your reading is beautiful and I find myself transported into the story in a way that is almost magical. Keep up the great work– what a gift you give us all.


  40. Miette,
    I suppose you can say i stumbled upon your your pod cast.(I misclicked a search, and the rabbit trail led to you). Any case, like I remarked on Learn out Loud, “Miette‘s voice is like the irresistible, feather filled comforter of my cozy queen bed on a stormy February morning. Try as you may, there is just no escaping.
    Miette is simply fantastic!

    So while we are throwing out requests, be it fall on deaf ears, I would really love to hear you read The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
    Any case, I am a 1st time listener, and you got me!.. we should have dinner sometime!

  41. Miette,
    My fifth graders listened to your reading of Shirley Jackson’s “Charles”. They loved it. Today, we wrote about naughty children’s exploits in school and had a wild gushing of ideas where I’m usually grateful for drips. You and S. Jackson awakened muses I’ve been nagging at for months. Thank you and bravo.
    You may have other child – friendly work that I haven’t listened to yet. I hope so. I already hear you reading Sharon Creech’s “Love that dog”. Your voice is now enough in my ear that I can read silently with it pacing me pretty well.
    It seems that you would find Scheherazade to be a kindred spirit. My favorite of the 1001 is Maaroof the Cobbler. I can only guess how you would treat Fatimah and her honey cake, but I can hear you saying “Plenty, plenty” for Maaroof, and that is my favorite part.
    Thank you for sharing your gift with me and picking wonderful stories.

  42. A sexy and soporific voice yet with a Leeds/Hull accent-an aural impossibility! (Am I getting warm re the roots?)

  43. Thanks so-0 very much for your podcasts. I am an instructor at Noble High School in North Berwick, ME, USA. I discovered your site while developing plans for my literacy support classes taught to teens. I was wondering if you had a list of podcasts by short story title; creating a list by clicking on the author is tedious and time consuming. I appreciate any help in this matter. I am so grateful for your readings! Thank you,

  44. I listen to your stories every night. I’m a Miette addict. Love how the Yorkshire shows up when you’re into drama and intensity. Sounds like you’ve been in Canada for a while.
    Thanks very much.
    Paul H

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