Words to Drive By “How to Write Your Own Biography”

EPISODE 05: “How to Write Your Own Biography”
When her best friend is diagnosed with cancer an empty-nester takes a road trip, leaving her husband at home.

This past Thursday, I came home to the treat of this copy of Chariton Review in my mailbox. Lest you be misled by the 2018 date on the cover, it is actually the most recent volume that just came out. Apparently they got a little bit behind. I’m interested by the choice they’ve apparently made not to skip any issues. I wonder, will they henceforth be a year behind?

chariton review journal

But I’m not one to talk, I guess, since it took me years to get around to doing a second round of submissions with it.

The characters and events of this story are entirely fictional, but the layout of the home where Jean and her husband Bradley live is based on the home I grew up in. I can see them moving around each other in that house of my memory.

As always, thanks to Greg Gordon Smith, who composes and sound designs this and every episode, and Ted Giffin, who designed the cover art!

You can SUBSCRIBE to this podcast on your favorite player:
Apple Podcasts 
Google Podcasts
Overcast 
Pocket Casts 
Spotify
Stitcher
RSS Feed

Words To Drive By — “My Panda”

EPISODE 4: “My Panda”

Feeling stifled by her household and her giant panda, a woman contemplates escape.

I brought this story into a writing workshop early in my MFA experience, and the professor hated it. However, other people encouraged me, and “I” liked it, so I polished and submitted it anyway, and it found a home at Sycamore Review with people who loved it. It was a good lesson to learn — that everything is a matter of taste! One of the encouraging people was my classmate at the time, the multi-talented artist and writer Katie Burgess, who later made me the cover art you see above.

If you like short fiction, you should download Katie’s recent award winning chapbook for free!

Barrington Smith-Seetachitt (that’s me!) wrote and read this story.  Greg-Gordon Smith composed and engineered, and Ted Giffin created the lovely show art on the player.

Also, you can SUBSCRIBE to this podcast on your favorite player:
Apple Podcasts 
Google Podcasts 
Overcast 
Pocket Casts 
Spotify 
Stitcher 
RSS Feed

Words to Drive By — Monster Leaves Dog

EPISODE 3: “Monster Leaves Dog”
(After the Storms, Part 3)

As a long-married couple prepares to part ways, the husband tries to convince his wife to change her mind.

This story is the third of three interrelated stories called After the Storms.
As with “Room” this story originated with a prompt:

Two characters part ways forever.

We were asked also to think about the questions: “Who and when and where?” “Do they know it’s forever?” “Do they have different feelings about it?” and “What causes the parting?”

I let years pass — literal years! — before I came back and finished this one. As the third story in the trilogy, it felt like writing a flashback episode of television. I enjoy flashback episodes, but they present their own set of challenges to the writer. Often a flashback episode needs to incorporate information the audience has already knows from regular episodes and that can change the source of dramatic tension in the story. If this story stands alone, the main question that unifies the narrative is “can Jerry change Beth’s mind and convince her to stay in the city?” But someone who reads it with the context of the previous stories already knows the answer. So for them the the question is not “what happened?” but “how and why did it happen?” Which tends to be a “weaker” dramatic tension…

… but hopefully still worthwhile! For me, the appeal of a flashback episode is traveling back in time and seeing characters I already know as they once were — before I knew them. In this case, seeing Jerry in “Room” and Beth in “Tribe” each reminiscing about the other made me want to see them together for a little while, and witness the moment that sent them on their separate trajectories.

Greg Gordon Smith composes and sound designs this and every episode. Ted Giffin did the show art.
And Barrington Smith-Seetachitt (that’s me!) wrote and read the story.

Also, you can SUBSCRIBE to this podcast on your favorite player:
Apple Podcasts 
Google Podcasts
Overcast 
Pocket Casts 
Spotify
Stitcher
RSS Feed

Words To Drive By “Tribe”

EPISODE 02: “Tribe”
(After the Storms, Part 2)

SUMMARY: In a dystopian future, a woman juggles memories of her former life with her growing feelings for someone new as she and her nomadic tribe face a dwindling water supply in the desert.

NOTES:
This story was first published in an anthology, *Turning Points: Stories About Choice and Change*.
The story was published singly, but is the second of three interrelated stories called “After the Storms.”

Greg Gordon Smith composes and sound designs this and every episode. He has a website. Ted Giffin made the show art.

You can SUBSCRIBE to this podcast on your favorite player:
Apple Podcasts 
Google Podcasts
Overcast 
Pocket Casts 
Spotify
Stitcher
RSS Feed

Words to Drive By “Room”

EPISODE 01: “Room”
(After the Storms, Part 1)

SUMMARY: In a near-future dystopia, two people check into a hotel room knowing only one will check out.

NOTES:
This story was first published in Devilfish Review (sadly, now defunct). It stands alone, but is the first part of a trilogy of stories called “After the Storms.”

A few years back I took a class taught by one of my favorite teachers,  Richard Rayner. Each week we were tasked to write 400 words from a prompt provided by Richard. This one was: 

A sick man and his younger wife check into a hotel room. He tells her a story and orders drinks which are brought by room service. The man has something to drink, says something, and then he dies.

I don’t remember what I turned in for my 400-word assignment, but it’s safe to guess that my constant and pervasive anxiety about climate change was already seeded in. The hotel room setting is inspired by The Hollywood Athletic Club, where, like Jerry and Beth, my husband and I took a weekend “staycation” one sweltering summer. 

Greg Gordon Smith composes and sound designs for this and every episode. You can see more of what he does on his Vimeo page

The cover art is by the talented and prolific Ted Giffin.

Also, you can SUBSCRIBE to this podcast on your favorite player:
Apple Podcasts 
Google Podcasts
Overcast 
Pocket Casts 
Spotify
Stitcher
RSS Feed