In Between

Intro from Jay Allison: This piece comes from a student in the Transom Story Workshop Fall 2013. For many of the participants, this is the first radio work they’ve ever made, which is not an excuse but a cause for amazement. In their two months in Woods Hole, under the guidance of Rob Rosenthal & Sarah Reynolds and the Transom Team (along with renowned visiting teachers like, this time: Jonathan Harris, Ira Glass, and Andrea Seabrook), they learn the skills of recording, interviewing, structuring, editing, writing, voicing, mixing, etc. etc… while creating work for broadcast. The fun part is not that they just learn the rules, but that they also break them creatively. The harmony in these groups, as they help one another, is inspiring. We asked students to write about their challenges and what they did to surmount or circumvent them. They share their own vulnerability in order to help others, which is part of the wonder of these workshops.

Listen to “In Between”

About “In Between”

This piece started off as a story about a fair, the oldest fair for transgender people in the world. I got to attend the Fantasia Fair for about four days this October and collected hours and hours (and hours) of tape. It seemed like everyone wanted to talk. There was Dainna, a long-time Fantasia attendee who lives full time as a woman and who spoke adoringly of her wife of more than 30 years; Storm, one of the few transmen at the Fair who teared up telling me about the first time his daughter called him dad instead of mom; Jamie, who dresses as a women only on special occasions but otherwise lives as a man, husband and father of two teenage sons; Brian, a first-time attendee who was there with his girlfriend Sara.

I wanted to fit all of their stories into my piece, and I actually tried to in the first version of my script. But you know that feeling you get when you put so much work into something, and it’s just, well…not right? Yeah, that’s how I felt when I submitted that first draft. And though it was excruciating to admit to myself that I’d have to essentially start again from scratch, that was probably the best decision I made in this entire process. So I returned to my tape. I listened to my interviews again.

And I kept coming back to Sara and Brian. I was intrigued by the impact that Brian’s coming out as a transperson was having on Sara. They were both so forthcoming about their struggle, and also their commitment. In a way their story represented something totally transcendent to me — it’s the story of how to accept, how to deal with, and how to work through change in a relationship.

So what began as a story about this weird and wonderful fair that takes place in Provincetown every October grew into a piece about love and communication and community.

You can learn more about Provincetown’s Fantasia Fair here.

Vanessa’s Sonic ID

Listen to “Vanessa’s Sonic ID”

Like I said, I had so many interviews at the Fantasia Fair, that I spent a solid three days just listening to (and transcribing) them when I returned to Woods Hole. My sonic is excerpted from a 20-minute interview with one of the fair organizers, Mary Beth Cooper, but I didn’t actually have to edit this story at all. It was a perfect little sonic package.

Listen to More Pieces from this Story Workshop Class

Vanessa Barchfield

Vanessa Barchfield

Vanessa Barchfield is a freelance journalist and independent radio producer. She has a bachelors degree in history from Barnard College of Columbia University, studied journalism in Mumbai, India, was a correspondent for a Latin American newswire in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and spent the past six years working as an editor with the Economist Group and United Nations in Vienna, Austria. Vanessa recently relocated back to her hometown of Tucson, Arizona, where there’s no shame in eating Mexican food at least once a day. You can find more of Vanessa's work at PRX as well as at her website.

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