Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Boy's Life

A Boy's Life is a podcast I plan on continuing so that I can become better understand the writing process and considerations built into producing a podcast. Ultimately, I am doing this so that I might help students who want to write and produce podcasts become better writers. 

Fellows of the National Writing Project know the power of using mentor texts to help develop student writing.  Well, before asking my students to write and develop a podcast, I had to try it myself.

That said--this has been challenging--just this first episode has taken me three months to write, revise, and produce. I leaned heavily on two podcasts as templates. Yet, I can still hear my mistakes as a writer, as a voice, and as a producer--but I do believe it is polished enough to publish as a podcast. I promise I will get better with practice and revision.

Starting with the famous NWP question--what have you read that is like what you are trying to write? led me to The Memory Palace, and The Tobolowsky Files. Each of those has influenced what I came up with here. I owe thanks to Nate DiMeo and Stepehen Tobolowsky for mentoring me without their even knowing it.

My podcast will run once a month for a year (more if it goes well. I am using stories and memoir I continue to develop about my life as an adolescent in Philadelphia--primarily 1982-1984--when I was in the 8th and 9th grades.

1983. Freshman in high school.
Episode One:
The Gates of Hell

Click the title above to listen to this month's episode.

The music you'll hear comes from the talented Ben Smith. Often featured on WXPN and written about in local magazines and newspapers as among the best in local music, Ben is also a high school English teacher and a Fellow of the National Writing Project. We met a few summers back in a NWP institute.

I asked Ben if he would collaborate with me on this podcast by offering some of his original music or possibly writing something. I also asked if he would do his best to stick with me through the months as I hope to get better at this process. Not knowing how I might chop and dice his music so that it fit into and between my text and voice, he graciously and generously accepted my request, and after reading my script, suggested "The Reprise and the Reprisal" from his former band Missing Palmer West. Of course, Ben retains to all rights to his music. It has been really exciting for me to see what he comes up to complement my writing.

Ben Smith can be found by visiting bensmithsongs on SoundCloud. 

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