Intro from Jay Allison: This piece was produced as part of the Transom Story Workshop Fall 2015 session. Listen to more pieces from this Story Workshop class here.
About Ears Underwater
This is the origin story.
I thought I was safe. I had a story subject (not this one) who agreed to an interview on a Saturday. So the night before, I went out. It was Halloween weekend and apparently this sleepy little town was having three huge parties. In Woods Hole! The other Transomers and I nestled beers into our jackets and walked over to the nearby houses. We made small talk with the young scientists who dominate the under-35 demographic here in the fall. That night, I talked to one scientist named Alice Alpert. She told me about her research and I got her contact information to possibly hand off to another Transomer who was floundering and was thinking her story might fall through.
But the next day, my story fell through. So, after many desperate Google searches and wallowing in my own personal pit of despair, I thought to ask that friendly partygoer out for coffee on Sunday. That afternoon she told me about some of the research going on at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Marine Biological Lab and voilà — I had leads. One them was Max Kaplan, the scientist in this story. He was doing sound-driven research and was available that week.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: go out and drink beers with scientists. More generally, always be on the hunt for stories. That inadvertent networking can save you (or a friend) later.
Thanks again to Alice and Max!
Bethel’s Sonic ID
Another Transomer, Todd Whitney, knew this guy could make a hawk sound. So when we stumbled upon him walking in the opposite direction down a tiny stretch of road near Eel Pond in Woods Hole, I whipped out my recorder and asked him to go for it. We edited out a lot of laughter.