Intro from Jay Allison: Nine students recently completed the Spring 2013 Transom Story Workshop and they uncovered wonderful local stories. Their work is a real lesson not only in storytelling, but also in story finding. We asked each student to pick one of the pieces they produced during their time here, tell you about how they discovered it, and chronicle their challenges in producing it. They also picked one of the “Sonic IDs” they made, which are good ones. Most of this group had never produced before, so prepare to be inspired by what they accomplished.
I found Eddie Scheer in a story swap. A classmate of mine was interested in a story I’d found, and I was interested in the story he’d been pursuing about Eddie; so we swapped.
I thought the story would be about a man who had spent 40 years as a scientist, but always wanted to be a musician. I thought it would be a story of regret. But then the real story began to conflict with the story I thought I was covering. The more I learned about Eddie, the more I realized he hadn’t traded music for science, he’d actually done both.
I held on to my original story thesis for a long time, several script revisions. And I learned what happens when you try to wrestle a story into what you thought it would be, instead of what it actually is. You can feel it. You try to find places for quotes and they don’t really flow. You write narration that confuses people. Someone reads the script and you still have to explain what you think the story is.
When you start to sense this, it’s a good time to listen to your editors and peers. Let them help you identify what you really have, not what you thought you had. The class did just this. They helped me let go of tape of Eddie’s retirement party, even though it was great tape. They said the story wouldn’t be complete without the Scheerettes. They asked to hear more of his music. With their help, the story got both more focused and more fun.
Late in my interview process, I found out that Eddie has only ever recorded one CD. He calls his CD “Twofer,” because it combines two songs into one track. When he told me this, I knew it would also be the name of this piece. Because his isn’t a story of regret; it is the story of a man who listened to the two sides of himself, who lived a twofer.
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Karen’s Sonic ID
I met this player while going to a local Dungeons and Dragons story for my final piece. I’d never been to D&D, and perceptions of people who play it tend toward the nerdy or odd. But I found the players to be social, funny, interesting. And this particular player was able to convey that; he was able to give a bite-size insight into why they play.