Sunday, February 10, 2008

Not Quite There

podcast, audio reading

You do not have to READ anything, you can listen. There are no swear words or obscene images used by me in this audio podcast.

Or if you are inclined you can read the words below and then download the podcast and listen --

Since Tuesday, September 13, 2005 my friend the novelist Paul A. Toth in Sanibel, Florida has been doing podcasts that feature readings, music and interviews of contemporary writers. I am very pleased to be featured on Saturday, February 9, 2008 as the guest author on Tothworld #122.

The piece that I am reading is a work-in-progress titled Not Quite There that centers on the main character of Stoney Quarry. The story is followed by a brief commentary.

Listening to the Podcast:

1. An I-Pod is not required. Any PC or Mac will do.

2. Go to:

3. On the main site, right-click the "Direct Download" link for the episode of your choice and save "file," "link" or "target" (label depends upon browser) to desktop.

4. Double-click the downloaded file. Listen using any media player.

5. I-Pod users should drag the file into their appropriate I-Tunes folder or subscribe via I-Tunes.

6. See the archive for older shows.

Toth's first novel, Fizz, and its successor, Fishnet, are available from retail outlets and major online bookstores. He has read in venues across the country. His short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best American Mystery Stories. Toth's story The Pop Lady Comes on Wednesdays received honorable mention in The Seventeenth Edition of the Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, ed. by Ellen Datlow. He has guest edited for Opium Magazine and Word Riot, worked as a fiction editor for Small Spiral Notebook, and is now a fiction editor for storySouth. Toth is currently working on his fifth novel. His audio work, which often combines story and music, has been widely published, and he produces tracks for Mad Hatters' Review. Two short films, Fizz and Knotted, have been based on his work. The latter was a semi-finalist on and an IFilm Plus Selection.

I first came across Paul's acquaintance several years ago when he was guest editor of Opium Magazine, an online e-zine that intended to feature humorous literate work. I must have met that muster as Paul selected my piece Assam bin Dork to publish... the ezine has changed format and there is no online archive. Since that initial foray Paul and I have bounced around as minor co-conspirators behind the scenes at Gator Springs Gazette.

I had dropped out for at least 2 years from paying any attention to creative writing and online relationships with writers, my writerly friends or otherwise, in focus on 'the business at hand.' Recently I have got back into that swing of my life; we will see how long it will be sustained before business calls again. Paul caught me in this open space long enough to ask if I would contribute to his podcast series.

I dusted off my computer audio equipment and fussed with it and recorded a poem dated from 1976 that had been published as a letterpress broadside by a friend, now long lost touch of, in Chicago, Roby Liscomb of Fathom Press. I was not exactly very happy with that audio recording. I had to get a new sound card (I went for a cheap one at WalMart as the very expensive one I bought when I built my last box fried itself within the first week of service), and my 'good' mike needed a bit of tuning.

A brown-cloth work glove wrapped over and held in place with a rubber band helps immensely on the mike to reduce the irritation of loud S noises... worse now since the front tooth that I broke when I was 19 by hitting myself in the face with a mortar trowel finally decided by 50% of its area – a noticeable chip -- to defenestrate my mouth into the bathroom sink and too quickly went down the drain. I could have gone after it, but I hate plumbing work.

And then there was the need to update my audio editing software. In the mean time I was listening to previous Tothworld podcasts and it got stuck with me to revisit an on-again, off-again project, Not Quite There. Despite the risk that some friends might assume that it is autobiographical; I sat down and wrote more, re-wrote, and then recorded and edited an audio recording that caused me to re-write more. And here we have it. All those years of commuting and listening to Tibetan gong music may be paying off?

And, once the podcast was broadcast my son and I discussed the story and I am off rewriting it again. I intend to kill off the protagonist in the first few pages, let him starve to death, and see what that feels like.

If you do happen to listen to the podcast then first sit back and enjoy the music (not mine), it is kool, I think, and then if you survive to the end please send me a quick note to let me know what you think.


  1. Enjoyed the podcast very much. It's probably true to say that I am not quite there withit and will need to listen again, but I found it absorbing. Particularly enjoyed the word play.

  2. Thank you, dave.

    It was an experiment in the ambiance of voice and once completed I was on to figure out ways to improve upon it. It was fun in the making and I hope in turn fun in the digestion. I have had to listen to it several times myself but am at a point I don't think I can handle another listen right soon.

    FYI: somehow your friend's comment on the unpleasant character of Ezra Pound bleeding over into the quality of his poetry has translated for me into, "If there is shit in the pan then the pancakes will stink." ;-)