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This week on the podcast, a story by my old friend Kris Kovick, read in live performance by Kris herself. I also talk a little about Kris, and also about how I'm now soliciting stories for the podcast.
ABOUT KRIS AND THIS STORY: Kris was a hilarious, bawdy and poignant storyteller, she kick-started the lesbian spoken-word scene in San Francisco in the early- to mid-1990s, at the Bearded Lady Cafe. This story is the chapter "Big Stump" from her novella "America's Least Wanted," which mixes family lore, contemporary personal stories from her own life, and a murder mystery. This chapter is mostly stories about her family from early 20th-century Wilsonia, California. I chose to feature this story because, well, it's a great story, and also because (for me, anyway) it calls up the difference between live performance and recordings. Anyone who sees live performance, whether music or theatre or what have you, knows that it's all about the spirit in the room at that moment, and that moment only. Recordings can't quite capture that spirit, not for anyone who wasn't there anyway. The can capture the words and the ambient sound, but at most they can recall or evoke a spirit, but not capture it. (One of the audio tours available on this site is a story by Kris, and read by Michelle Tea, about putting her dog to sleep. Click on the "audio tours" link on the right hand-side of the blog.)
I'M SOLICITING YOUR STORIES: This episode is a bit of a departure in this still very new podcast. I normally have conversations with different kinds of storytellers. But starting this week, I’d also like to do an occasional podcast episode where I have someone read or tell an original story—it could be fiction, or memoir, or a documentary story, or some experimental form, or something else. The idea is that these stories be “about” storytelling in some way, or that they highlight something about the craft or process of storytelling. It doesn’t have to be as literal as someone telling a story about how their grandma used to sit ‘em on her knee and tell stories. Instead, maybe it’s an unusual format or medium that somehow explores or is an example of the many ways stories are told. Maybe it’s a story told through a sheaf of old letters. Or it could be an audiotape you once made, and listen to now, and it prompts some memory. Or maybe it’s a new spin on a classic radio drama. Or it could be a fictional short story about another life that the main character imagines she might have lived if she’d taken a different turn earlier in life. Or maybe there’s just a terrific story that’s not “about” storytelling at all, and you just think I might like to feature it. So, send me your ideas, or stories, and I’ll consider them. As for recording these stories, if it came to that, you could record them yourself, or you can send me text and I can have someone read them, or I can record you if you live in San Francisco or New York or one of the other towns I visit sometimes. But first, drop me a line with your stories or ideas and we’ll talk about the possibilities. I'm at InsideStoriesOnline [at] gmail. Thanks!