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 “Hunger Pains”
Hunger Pains is the story of Colleen Mendoza, a mother of four, whose three-year-old son, Connor, has Prader-Willi Syndrome, an illness characterized by chronic, uncontrollable hunger. Colleen was the most perfect narrator one could find. She was articulate, honest and openhearted about the challenges and joys of raising this little boy. And she was not at all intimidated by having a microphone in her face.
I initially contacted Colleen through Twitter after seeing an ad for a Prader-Willi charity walk she was participating in. After a couple of email exchanges and a phone call, I made a visit to their home. After that visit I made three more trips to their home. I decided I wanted the story to follow the arc of a day, so my recordings needed to cover waking up to bedtime. That meant there was a lot of tape to wrangle — almost eight hours.
The piece was challenging for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that I endeavored to make it non-narrated. For some, this might have been easy. But I am a writer and I know how to construct stories with quotes and my own interpretation of the narrative and distillation of the facts. Using solely sound and subject narration to drive the piece made me feel a bit out of my depth. But I think it worked.
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