Explorations in Storytelling


Stories mostly

Posts in Audio

My favorite time to call my Mom was at night when I was doing the dishes. I hate washing the dishes and to me, checking in with her was the best possible diversion. So, phone crooked between my neck and shoulder, I got a chore done and, well, listened.

My Mom was a talker. People say that about me, but I'm not even in the same league as my Mom. My Mom could talk about any subject whatsoever. And what was amazing about her, is that in the course of her conversation -- particularly with a stranger -- she could find out their entire life history yet you'd swear the other person never got a word in edgewise.

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Frank Glazer (b. Feb. 19, 1915) was a most remarkable man. A revered pianist — who studied under Schnabel and Schoenberg, gave the first Carnegie performance of Igor Stravinsky’s Piano Concerto, played with many of the world’s greatest orchestras and gave his last solo concert at the age of 99 — was my uncle. This story — with two audio excerpts — was written when he was still alive. He died January 13, 2015.

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This is Ruth, Frank Glazer's life friend. Ruth Gevalt Glazer was my father's sister. This picture was taken in 1927 when she was 16 years old. She is resetting the pins on a sunny, cold day of ice bowling on a pond in Boston. 

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The Rings

As a journalist, some of the best ideas came from the oddest places: an obituary with an unanswered question, a phone call from a "whacko" needing to unload a secret, a misfiled court document. This story grew from a classified ad with only these words: "Found: wedding ring, with date, word and initials engraved inside. Call ..." 

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The Typewriter

All of us have things, material things, that help define us. Mine is the typewriter. I knew this one as a kid. It was my Aunt Ruth's. I used to climb up on the chair of her desk and press down the letters one at a time. It was thrilling. As I got older, I actually made words. And then sentences.

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Ten Days of Winter, 1892

I wrote this piece of fiction for Vermont Stage Company and its 7-performance show, Winter Tales, Dec. 6-10, 2017 at FlynnSpace in Burlington, VT.  It consists of a small glimpse of the life of a young woman living in rural Vermont in 1892.

The story grew out of a real journal I was given in 1999 and subsequent research I conducted on life and conditions in 1892 in Northeast Kingdom, Vermont, which is, to this day, one of the most rural locations on the East Coast. This 3,100 word piece represents a small slice of a large novel that has been growing in my brain.

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Dr. Christ

To know him was to see his smile / feel his warmth, his thick / soft hands, his keen blue eyes / watching, welcoming, /as you spoke, as you answered his / "How are you?" Because, / He really did want you to answer.

He was my doctor. / He was my Dad's doctor.

Dr. Christ.

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June 6, 1944 -- Fred

It seemed an impossible coincidence. Ghostly even.

It was June 5, 1994. For several days I had been sick and banished to the attic room in our house in Akron, Ohio; quarantined, as it were. The world was approaching the 50th anniversary of D-Day and the TV was filled with stories and remembrances and old grainy footage and images. By Saturday, June 4, my mind was overtaken with a fever-induced fantasy of seeing my father amongst the black and white images of the beaches, of the French towns, the visages of pain and fear and hardship of that day.

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Sarah Gibson Blanding, a native of Kentucky, was the first woman president of Vassar College. She was a visionary. In 1946 she admitted male GIs to the school, she strengthened the arts departments, built new buildings and in the early 1960s picketed a Woolworth's because they wouldn't let blacks eat at their lunch counters. In college, during the summers, I worked in her gardens and learned about Faulkner and Welty, weeding and lilacs. Mostly I learned about friendship.

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This story, of my youngest daughter when she was a little over two years old went viral, as they say, when it was first posted on cowbird.com, a wonderful photo story site created by Jonathan Harris. The story brought me some heartfelt and unusual responses including a letter from one woman who said that she named her daughter after mine hoping that her daughter “will have the same life energy as yours.”

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