Intro from Jay Allison: Participants come to the Transom Story Workshop with the intention of creating change in their own lives. That makes it exciting for everyone. The class of Spring 2012 came from all over the country and Canada to spend two months here in Woods Hole. They were led by their gifted teacher, Rob Rosenthal, and dedicated teaching associate, Sarah Reynolds, along with a roster of visitors from This American Life, Studio 360, PRX, The Kitchen Sisters, and other Transom friends and staff. Most of the nine students had never made a radio story before. When they left, they had made stories as good or better than those you hear every day on nationally-distributed public radio programs. If you don’t believe me, listen to their work.
About “Everyday Carry”
I found Indian George on Craigslist. He had posted a one-line entry under the Pets category advertising that he could makes knives out of the ashes of pets. I called George up and he immediately agreed to an interview. I arrived at his house in New Bedford expecting to find an offbeat and quirky story. After spending several hours with him I realized I had been given a gift – a story that while still strange, was earnestly told and very sad.
George was a generous storyteller. I was amazed by how much he was willing to share and I returned to class with an embarrassment of riches–such good tape! It then became my task to sift through it all. I wanted to include everything. George told great stories ranging from his youth as an artistic kid in a strict catholic school up through the present: trading an elaborate knife for a set of dentures. It was a struggle to reach a point where I felt that I was relating George’s story clearly, without leaving out too much of his incredible reflections and funny anecdotes. It is impossible not to feel protective and sentimental towards your tape when someone has spent hours telling you their life story. This is where critique and collaboration play their most important roles. When your story is filled with parts that you believe you can’t live without, an objective listener can tell you yes, in fact, you can – and the story will be better off for it.
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