Banks, Russell

Sarah Cole

Some days, as a podcastress, you find that it’s about a billion and two degrees of sour sunshined degrees outside, measured by the scales of Daniel or Anders either/or, and while the last thing you feel like doing might involve heavy lifting dressed in black, the next to last thing, on days such as those, might involve trying to get discernible sound and meaning to emerge from your throat.

And on days like these, you, as a podcastress, would be grateful for offers from your listeners, to muscle it out for you. And you’d sit back, and listen, and think, “well, this is nice, to sit back and listen, isn’t it?”

Bausch, Richard

Nobody in Hollywood

If I were a state fair judge offering blue ribbons after thoroughly scrutinizing the stories that have been read to you to-date, tonight’s would be a heavy competitor for Most Gut-Bursting Opener in American Short Fiction, specifics of which, there’s nobody can offer sympathy like me. And I’m pitting this as the prizewinning hen against the Great Openers, which you can see for yourself if you look at the archives.

And since I’ve received permission to read this to you (for sometimes, it just doesn’t hurt to ask), it’s time to summon the unprecedented, and strongly recommend your immediate purchase and ardent reading of the collection in which today’s story is found.

Curley, Daniel

Love in the Winter

Given that Tonight’s Story invokes the Mann Act, and given that the Mann Act is bar-none the best Congressional Act of 1910 (and I dare you to find a better one. I mean, Chuck Berry was charged with violating the Mann Act. Frank Lloyd Wright too.) Now, I know it’s been a hundred years and the Act’s been amended to reflect the century’s (uh) progress, but I’m wondering if it’s possible for me to get arrested for the Mann Act (enumeration: I mean, could one be charged with a violation in the original more abstract offense of “immoral purposes?” I’m not talking about anything explicitly belle-de-jourish or… childlike…, OK? What I’m asking is: does anybody know any violations of the Mann Act that have to do with immoral purposes other than those defined expressly in wording of the Act? This is what you, the Internet, is for, innit? To help a stranger be creatively immoral?)

Midwood, Barton

One’s Ship

The news today tells us that a respected literary journal (not to be named here) has just released a list of names they consider to be The Best Young American Novelists, and among them, a full third of these names have not yet had a novel published. And that’s kind of odd. Now, in other forums you might find your Miette boxing soap on matters like this, but here, I was genuinely tempted to call this one of the Best Young American Bedtime Story Podcasts, but instead, replay today’s weather. The gap-toothed grin of fortune talked me out of such brattiness, but still, if my name doesn’t appear on tomorrow’s list of Best Young Designated Hitters, there’ll be hell to pay. Send a nudge to your sources.

Krampf, Carl

My Bludjeon and the Bobbed White

But would you believe that I spent the last couple of weeks dedicated to trying mightily and hard to uncover the identity of tonight’s author before hurling the fruits of these findings to splat on your walls. Maybe I spent the week after mired in self-pity at having failed you… failed YOU, the Internet, whom I adore. Maybe the week after I picked myself up off the floor of despondency was passed by trying, and trying hard because I’d already failed you in so many ways, to make it through this story without losing my beans entirely. Because it’s just that good.

Believe me? I suppose you don’t have to.

Mahfouz, Naguib

The Conjurer Made Off with the Dish

If this podcast was Miette’s Themetime Story Podcast, the theme of today’s story might be ‘coming-of-age,’ or it might be ‘how to make beans in Egypt,’ or maybe it’s ‘reverence,’ or perhaps it might be nothing more than ‘how to charm the socks right off of both feet of Miette.’ Outstanding questions, answers, and requests to come, but this first for evident reasons.

Gallant, Mavis

His Mother

In general, I don’t like to use these few pre-sound-bytes of Web page space to be topical for reasons that I hope are obvious (I’m not here to depress you), but I can’t help but make note of the talking chimps who’ve gabbed their way back to the news. Now, there are plenty of questions here for an autodidactic but still dilettantish (honestly pedestrian) linguist who moonlights as podcastresse– questions such as whether their form of expression can be considered “language,” whether we’re even close to interpreting what they’re communicating, ad putrefaction. But I happen to know a talking chimp, and it’s a good story even if it does take a sharp right turn at wishful-thinking craftiness, but do you want to know the real point, the thing that excites me most and threatens me just a little?

Talking chimps bring us one step closer to reading chimps. And it’s just the tiniest step from chimps that can read to chimps that can podcast bedtime stories.

Today, the great Mavis Gallant, with a deep tip of hat in Hugh’s direction.

Yates, Richard

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:

Elkin, Stanley

A Poetics for Bullies

All week I’ve been in the nether regions, the sticks, the country, the bucolic boonies, the hinterregions of the backwoods, fretting over how much I’d have to read to you upon my return, how many hours I’d have to try my larynx to make it up to you, just how many stories I’d have to penitently tell. I worried whether I’d still be able to read at all, for sources had said that that part of the land is full of heathens, of illiterates, of INGRATES! Fortunately, in fact, the people in that part of the land were full of nothing but good cheer and good will, and I never questioned their ability to read, and I myself returned wtih literacy intact. Whether my oral storytelling skills were preserved as well, I’m not sure– here’s a nice long one to put them to the test.