922 – Sleepy Adventures in Reading
A meandering look at a textbook from my youth. Because the textbook is seriously dated here’s a couple of looks at expanding the readings, if you have more articles or ideas please share them with me!
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922 – Sleepy Adventures in Reading
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and friends beyond the binary, it’s time for the podcaster that’s here to kinda try to bring you some textbook lulls and pointless meanders tonight, patrons, ‘cause you make that possible. Thank you so much. Let’s get on with the show.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever is keeping you awake. It could be thoughts; thoughts on your mind, thoughts you’re thinking about, about the past, the present, or the future, feelings or emotions coming up for you, physical sensations, changes in time or temperature. Whatever it is, I’m gonna try to take your mind off of that and keep you company.
The way I’m gonna do it is I’m gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night, I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents, I’m gonna go off-topic. Holy cow, am I gonna go…I’m gonna get mixed up, go back. Yeah, you say, what are…did you say creaky, dulcet tones? I’d say no, yeah, no, yeah, I did. Sorry, I thought I’d…yeah, that’s what I said; creaky like a door, dulcet like something sweet. It kinda balances…if it was too sweet — this is true, actually — if it was too sweet, it would be too sweet. You’d say well, it’s an hour of just dulcet tones? Oh, no. That’s not for everybody. The dulcet…The Double Dulcet Cast is a podcast I have not made but I’ve thought about. I tried to call it The Zippity-Doo-Dah Cast but then they said you can’t call it that.
I tried to call it The Super Happy Cast but then I said well, I guess I’d have to find a new host for that. Anyway, oh, what I’m gonna do; send my voice…oh, so if you’re new, I’m here to keep you company as you fall asleep, is the shortest version, and I keep you company by never getting to the point, but let me go into it a little bit deeper. If you’re new, there’s a few good things to know. If you’re a regular listener, welcome back, by the way. I don’t know what it is; you just…it’s so good to see you. I don’t know, there’s something different about you. I hope you know. Yeah, that’s…you’re doing a good job, regular listener. Excuse me while I go to this…so anyway, if you’re a new listener, though…thanks, regular listener. If you’re new, there’s a few things to know; one, this podcast is not for everybody, so give it a few tries.
Almost every reviewer over…I don’t even know how many people said yeah, it took two or three tries. Some people even say they had a strong dislike or much stronger than the word dislike of this show the first time they listened to it. Then for some reason, and I guess we could talk about that, they gave it another try and then they said oh, wait a second, I realized…I don’t know, maybe…I don’t…strong…if you’re having a strong reaction or you’re doubtful, give this show a few tries. Really, you got nothing to lose other than a little bit of time, and see how it goes. That’s the one thing, is I wish the show worked for everybody; I’ll be honest. That would be pretty cool because then everybody would get a good night’s sleep, ‘cause that’s something I believe you deserve. But so, what was my point in here? I already got mixed up.
Oh, so give the show a few tries. That’s one thing if you’re new. The other thing is while you give it a try, don’t try…don’t…you don’t need to try. This podcast is best consumed in an inactive way or a low-activity…like, if you’re trying to get the podcast to get started to put you to sleep or trying to make sense of it or trying to follow along or trying to see what I’m up to, you’re gonna be…it’s better if you look at it in a fuzzy way even though…not…creaky, dulcet tones are not known to be fuzzy. Well, they are a bit fuzzy, technically. Yeah, you say well, they are fuzzy. Just kinda view the podcast in a out-of-focus, loose way, like sand sieving through your hands or like if…hand…sand or water flowing through your hands. You say well, oh, okay; it kinda drained out. It never formed anything.
That’s kinda how I form my words and my thoughts and my concepts. That’s another thing. The other…the last thing is, this is a podcast you don’t really need to listen to. Oh, no, that’s…kinda goes with that, but the…oh, that this is one of the few sleep podcasts that’s not…I’m not here to put you to sleep; I’m here to keep you company while you fall asleep, so that might be another reason why the podcast works in a little bit different manner. I’m here to be your bud; your bore-bud, your bore-sib, your bore-cuz, your bore-bae, your bore-bestie, your bore-bruh. Whatever it is, I’m here to keep you company as you fall asleep. I don’t know, I like to walk at your side. That’s another thing to know. The next thing is the structure can throw new…oh, and if you’re thrown off and you say, well…that’s a normal reaction.
I think I kinda did normalize that but I wanted to double-normalize it because yeah, you say, well, the other thing I don’t like about your show, Scoots, initially…and I’d say, okay, that’s totally fine. Yeah, that’s why I’m here to talk to you about it, is the structure of the show. It can throw new listeners off a lot and you may…I’m gonna kinda tell you why, and maybe that still won’t throw…still won’t make it make sense, but just kinda hear me out and then you can kind of adjust as needed. The show starts off with a greeting; ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and friends beyond the binary so that I establish that everyone’s welcome here and that it’s just trying…I’m trying to create a safe place. That’s the first part. Then there’s business.
Believe it or not, that’s what keeps this show coming out twice a week, is the business which is about four or five, six minutes or something. Then there’s an intro. The intro is about twelve to eighteen to twenty to nineteen to seventeen to fifteen to thirteen minutes or so. You say, the introduction to the podcast? I say yeah, the introduction to the podcast. It’s kinda where I just…ideally, it’d be really…if it was a regular podcast, it would be efficient, right? I’d say this is The Double Dulcet Cast where we talk about something sweet and we talk about it again, and then we…it’s actually not tech…we only call it The Double Dulcet Cast ‘cause then we talk about it in-depth in another way. Then we double your dulcet and we do that all over again with something else. Today, we’re talking about what is smiling.
Oh boy, for the next thirty minutes, we’re talking about smiles here on Double Dulcet Cast. Maybe that’s what tonight’s episode will be about. I think that’s what it’s gonna have to be about now. But so, yeah, that’s interesting. But so, where was I? The Double Dulcet Cast talking about smiling. You say Scoots, you’re gonna be stretch…I say oh yeah, I’ll be stretching that. Not a subject I have a good familiarity in but actually, tonight we’ll be…we’ll come back to that. Remind me of that one ‘cause tonight we’re talking about a textbook from childhood that I may have read before. Oh, what was I trying to tell you about, though? Oh, structure of the show. Oh, the intro. Oh, so the intro…oh, I already went off-topic when I was trying to explain what the intro is which is what happens in the intro.
The idea of the intro is oh, if it was The Efficient Cast like The Double Dulcet Cast, they’d say this intro’s short and sweet because it’s The Double Dulcet Cast, and that would end it after they said we’re gonna talk about this, we’re gonna talk about it again, then we’ll talk about it this way. Let’s get on with the show. That would be The Double Dulcet Cast. Sleep With Me’s intro serves kind of a dual-purpose; it welcomes new listeners…or triple-purpose…maybe even more, but it welcomes new listeners, gives you kind of an idea what to expect which is tough to adjust to the first time ‘cause usually it doesn’t…everything I’m saying now won’t make sense ‘til you listen to it a third time. You say oh, it never made any sense. That’s one purpose of the intro.
The second purpose of the intro is that it [00:10:00] feels like home to regular listeners. They say oof…you know when you sigh out and there’s some sort of…you never hear about this. No one ever glorifies this type of sweat; relief sweat. There’s a type of sweat when you feel relief or that you notice after you’re relieved. I don’t know if it’s the relief…if the sweat is related to the relief or it’s like oh, I felt…I was sweat…I didn’t notice that sweat ‘til I was relaxed, because now I’m home. That’s another purpose of the intro, is oh, it’s different every time for the regular listener, but ideally, there’s that undercurrent. Oh, here I am in a place that…where Scoots doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but he tries to create it. One day, he’ll have a podcast where he glorifies relief sweat. That’s the next purpose.
Then the third purpose is it gives listeners a chance to unwind and wind down, whether you’re starting your wind-down routine outside of bed or in bed, because…I mean, personally, I start mine outside of bed and then I start winding down, so by the time I get in bed, then I have…it’s just…this is something I’ve been trying out for the past years or so, or maybe less. But so, I don’t know, for you, you could kind of discover it. Some listeners start it before they even brush their teeth, while they’re sitting on the couch or whatever, and then they bring their phone or they put it on…they pick up on another device where they left off. Kinda see how it goes for you. Some listeners get in bed and they’re getting comfortable, but the twelve to twenty-minute intro, it gives us a little separation from the day, let’s you…do relax and say oh yeah, I’m home now.
Scoots is trying to create a safe place for me. Just see how it goes, and there is 2% of listeners that don’t need that. They just skip right ahead to about twenty minutes and start playing the show there, so you could see how that goes. There’s listeners that listen all night, though normally I say if you listen all night, there’s no way for me to design a podcast, a free podcast, to listen to all night perfectly. It’s easier if you become a patron just ‘cause it’s just tough to design a eight-hour…it’s just not feasible. But there are people that it works for. They just play it all night, or there’s people that listen in ten-minute chunks. You can kinda see as you go, but the intro is that…it’s a long corridor. You say whoa, this is the longest entryway of…and I say oh, yeah. I really want you to know you’ve arrived. I call it the endless entryway.
It does have an end, but it’s interesting; the end of the entryway is at the entrance. I guess that’d be the entry…if I called it the entryway, I would think there would be some…should be some ents like those tree beings waiting for you. Or they say well, that’s the open…that’s the entrance to the forest. We call it the ent-ryway, where the ents enter. But how did I get so mixed up? Oh, the entrance ends. Oh, it ends at the…the entryway ends at the entrance. I guess that does make sense, but it ends at a beginning. I guess that is the way this intro ends. Then there’s some business. That’s how, again, how we keep the podcast coming out on a regular basis, then there will be…not quite a story. I’ll take a look at a textbook from high school that I had and see what I could recall from the authors and stuff in there.
It’s interesting ‘cause it’s kind of a high school textbook. You say wow, this was from the 80s. It was a limited purview of…you say wait a second, this is all…but whatever. Yeah, so I’ll take a look at this textbook and then there will be some thank-yous at the end. That’s the structure of the show. I mean, that’s mostly it. The reason I make this show is because I truly believe you deserve a good night’s sleep and that your world and our world will be a better place if you do get a good night’s sleep. That’s one thing. The other thing is I’ve been there; I know how it feels tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep. I got all those issues. If I can be here to help you, it’d be my pleasure. I’m really…would be honored to do so. Give it a few tries. See how it goes. I really appreciate you coming by and checking out this podcast, this show. I really hope…I really yearn and I strive and I hope we can help you fall asleep, so thanks again for coming by, and here’s a couple ways we keep this show going.
Alright everybody, it’s Scoots here and we have another Did I Read This? episode. This one, I’ll probably…maybe extend it out over a few different episodes. This is an interesting one; it also is a journey into my past, I guess as all Did I Read It? episodes have been, or the one we’ve done. But this could also be called Adventures in Did I Read This? Let’s see, let me start the meander with…I mean, you listen to this podcast; you know I’m always on the eye…I always have my eye out for interesting things. I don’t tend to be much of a collector but I’m always like…especially when I’m on the street and I see a box on the street or I’m at a flea market or a used goods store, garage sales…those are all great places to find stuff for the podcast. At some point, and I don’t know which one of those things it was, I found…well, I found…first, I found one textbook from high school…I’m assuming it’s a high school textbook.
It could have been a middle school textbook, and it caught my eye. I said wait a second, is that…was…did I…did we use that textbook in school at some point? Even when I…and this is no offence to my school system or whatever, but even when we had it in high school, it was a…it was dated. Not only was it well-worn, but a very well-made textbook. Construction-wise, this is a really well-constructed textbook. But even then, it was dated. I mean, I don’t even know about the content. I’m just talking about the cover. That’s another reason why I said wait a second, I know that textbook from somewhere, and I still have not confirmed it. Maybe I sent a picture to some people I went to school with, but I…and I haven’t…I picked it up and I said oh, maybe one day my daughter and I could read some of the books from there. Also, I just remembered that I also found one from my grammar school, so I guess this could be a really ongoing series for sure.
We may have to…this is a very thick book, so we may have to break it up into many categories. What’s interesting is I found it in California. I went to school in New York state, so it was definitely a national textbook. The front cover is…I’m holding it in my hand…is…it says Adventures in Reading. Then on the bottom right it says Heritage Edition. Then the picture is of a long-jumper, like in the Winter Olympics which is interesting. Maybe it’ll be referred to in the book. Maybe it’s a big story. The long-jumper’s in a red snowsuit or whatever you call that, a long-jumping suit. His mouth is open and he’s long-jumping. He’s doing that thing where you’re parallel with your skis. He’s number 37 in Intersport. His suit is red, he has maroon mittens on, and is…then his suit has some blue decorations on it. He has a dark blue hat on and white goggles, and then dark red boots. That’s the cover.
The side says Adventures in Reading, Heritage Edition by Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich. Then the back says…it says the same thing but it says Center for Curriculum Development. When I open it, this book was…it doesn’t have anybody’s name in it. It does have two dates that somebody wrote, like a due date that they checked it out from the library; July 1st, 1983 and July 8th, 1983, but it doesn’t have any other identifying things on it. It just has a…maybe it was a school library book ‘cause it just has a Date Due thing taped to the inside of the book. Then it has a blank stamp like you would fill out in school when you check the book out. But it looks like this book was…it does have some drawing on it, so it was checked out to students at some point, but no one signed it out. That says, This book’s the property of: State Province, County, Perish, School District, Other. Book number, Issued To, Year Used, Condition, Issued, Returned.
Mine was always…my textbooks always went through a hard time. Pupils who this textbook is issued to must not write on any page or mark any of it in any way. [00:20:00] Consumable textbooks excepted. Teachers should see that pupil’s name…I remember when they used to call students pupils…clearly written in ink in the spaces above to every book…in every book issued, the following terms should be used in recording the condition of the book; New, Good, Fair, Poor, or Bad. I don’t know how many textbooks my parents had to pay for. Okay, so this is the Adventures in Literature Program, so this was an English literature book. This is the whole program. We only have one book, I think. Adventures for Readers: Book One. There’s a teacher’s manual, a textbook, and a reading/writing workshop A. This is not what we had; this is just a…whatever.
Adventures for Readers: Book Two; teacher’s manual, a test booklet, reading/writing workshop B. Oh, then Adventures in Reading; that what we have. Teacher’s manual, test booklet, reading/writing workshop C. Adventures in Appreciation. I could definitely use that adventure. Teacher’s manual, test booklet, reading/writing workshop D. Then Adventures in American Literature; test manual, test booklet, and Adventures in English Literature; test manual, test booklet. Then we get to the next page which has a drawing across two pages. It shows kind of like two or three cows and then two Roman-looking people guarding…I don’t know what they’re doing. They have shields. They have different things, and the cows are eating grass. One cow’s looking at the two Roman guards, we’ll say.
Then it says Curriculum in Writing, Fannie Safier, formally a teacher of English, New York City schools, New York, New York, Center for Curriculum Development. Then it says Adventures in Reading, Heritage Edition. It has the company’s little thing, Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich. New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlantis, Dallas, and London. Then it was copyrighted 1980. I don’t know what grade this was for, but I did not…I wasn’t in…wait, was I in…? I grew up in the 80s but I don’t think I used this book in the 80s. But we’ll see. It says All Rights Reserved. I’m not gonna read very much from the book; I’m just gonna use it as a ‘what do I remember’ thing and look at some of the pictures and stuff like that. Again, the 80s were not the same as things are now, or the 90s. This book was probably in use at least in…where I grew up in, in the 90s. It does look like it’s high school level.
Then it has all the acknowledgments of the stories from the book; that goes through there. Design and production, the cover. Oh, Top European ski-jumper, Willy Purstz, P-U-R-S-T-Z. Then it has a list of critical readers and contributors. Okay, and then it has the continents. Okay, I definitely read this in high school because I can remember already…I’m seeing some very important and impacting books and people. Let’s see, I wonder if we should…wow, there’s a lot in here. Okay, yeah, I remember this is high school. I remember the teacher who taught it. One of my favorite teachers who I did a episode about, because I owe…I still owe him a letter of apology, but he was a great, great teacher; Mr. Sabnik. I’ll say it ‘cause he was one of my favorite teachers even though I’ll probably…at one point, what…he liked me but then I kind of wasn’t a great kid. I had a lot of angst and stuff.
When he tried to mentor me, I kind of wanted to be left alone even though…it wasn’t his…it was me. But I definitely have positive memories of this and a lot of these stories because then…this would have been for me, freshman year of high school maybe, or sophomore year of high school. Oh, probably freshman year, as I’m looking at some of these stories, ‘cause we did…the other thing was, I can see multiple of these stories me and my friends made movies of. I feel like…now I’m getting a…this is interesting. There’s short stories and they cover different things like plot, character, points of view, setting, theme, practice in reading and writing, then non-fiction, essays, practice in reading and writing, biography and personal recollection, poetry, diction, imagery, figurative language, sound patterns, structures, tone.
Types of poetry; lyric, narrative, dramatic, practice in reading and writing, then drama, practice in reading and writing, some Romeo and Juliet, then practice in reading and writing, then a epic poem, then a couple other maybe epic poems, then a novel, then a guide to literary terms and techniques, and that’s it. Then it opens with a little thing about short stories. Study of short stories…I’m trying to paraphrase…begins with plot, organized patterns of events in the story, sometimes as simple as in our first story which Scooter mistaken…already lead to a couple tangents. Then sometimes, the plot’s more complicated and there may be more than one action to follow. Occasionally, a plot is structured to lead to a surprise at the end, like a story very similar to Emmett Otter’s…story that Emma Otter’s jug band Christmas was based on.
Some stories, the plot is the most important element and readers keep reading to find out what’ll happen next, but in most stories, characters are…oh boy, characters versus plot. Generally, the story focuses on a main character, though things can…that’s not always the case. Another element is point of view. Point of view is like a camera in the movie; a lens through you that you the reader view the action. There’s first-person point of view from the central character in the story, some are told from third-person point of view as if it was seen by an objective observer, still other stories are told by an omniscient…is that omniscient…all-knowing narrator who tells not only what happens but also what the characters think and feel. Also, short stories have a setting, a time and place of action. Some are out there, like our first story. Others are more regular like a neighborhood.
Finally, short stories do more than excite or amuse. That’s a quote. They have themes, an idea about life. Occasionally, the theme is expressed directly through the author, but generally, it’s not directly stated. It must be inferred through other elements. All the short stories in this unit are examples of the short story’s art. As you explore basic elements, you’ll gain skills that help you read the other stories with greater insight and enjoyment. Okay, and this was definitely the beginning of the school year, I think. This story is fifteen or sixteen pages. The story is called…I accidentally, once upon a time, titled an episode…I think it was Nuns in Space, Season 1 with the title of this story, and it was one of the lowest-performing episodes of that era because of the title of the story, and I didn’t realize it. This is after I’ve been doing the podcast for like, three or four years.
More recently, there’s…this has become more…at least in…what is the year? 2020, there’s…was a revival of this. There’s a revival every couple years. This comes into a different artistic take on this story. It’s by Richard Connell, I believe. It’s called The Most…The Game with the Most…The Game That’s Not…Watch Your Step Game…The Most Watch Your Step Game is one way to say the title of it. Also, there’s many other ways you could say it. But that’s just the way I’ll say it here because…[00:30:00] so, this story…it’s interesting that it was the first story because what happened was…I don’t know if we read it at the beginning of the school year or not, but right after we read this story…we were still…even though I was…I guess I was a freshman in high school, that me and my friends still played a lot.
We didn’t necessarily play with toys at this point…maybe we kinda did, but we definitely…one activity we did was we’d go over to my friend Charlie’s house and we’d shoot movies. He had a camcorder and we’d make movies a lot. That actually continued over a few years. We made a movie based on this and actually, I don’t think…I don’t know if I was there for it ‘cause I can remember watching it, but I’m not exactly sure if I was there when they made this, ‘cause I don’t remember being there. I definitely remember watching the movie, so maybe I’m just thinking of it. We made other movies in this time frame all the time, or maybe we shot it over a couple weekends. Charlie was normally the one that ran everything. I didn’t do any…I would do basic acting if I was there, but I remember covering the basic elements of this, or watching the movie. There was a banquet scene, there was running in the woods-type stuff, and there was over-the-top rich guy stuff. This was a book about…well, we don’t need to get into the plot.
Let’s go to the questions though, ‘cause…it’s like a story…and I just…oh, let’s do the…there’s pictures, too; drawings. There’s one — the first drawing is of a tropical island and someone sleeping near the shore. There’s also a lot of definitions; chateau is a castle, a large country home. Astrakhan is the curled fur of young lambs, gargoyle, we kinda know what that is, Purdey is a famous English manufacturing company. Let’s see, debacle…we kinda know what debacle is. Sometimes I have my own mini debacles. The second scene is two people dining in a fancy dining room with candles and a lot of things on the walls, maybe a bit like a lodge. Au revoir…au revoir, right? Is that how you say that? Until we meet again. That’s in French. Then there’s two people hiding out in different ways. That’s another drawing. Playing hide and seek, yeah, that’s what this book’s about, is playing hide and seek, or this story.
Then Madame Butterfly, an opera by Puccini, and Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor, 161 – 180. Okay, so it’s for study or discussion. Let’s see, so this tells a story between two main characters or two characters. Why would their struggle be less interesting if they were from different…if they had different careers? Two part of the stories tell what’s to come, the discussion on the ship between two characters and their observations, and then what they see and hear as one of them goes for a swim to the chateau. How do these episodes hint at what’s coming? This is paraphrasing; it’s not…just ‘cause…if you say Scoots, that’s not what they said in the book. Yeah, I know. Yeah, there’s discussions. Some of the discussions are important for two reasons; they provide information about what’s coming up and they provide a contrast between the characters. What information is provided?
What is a contrast? I wonder if we had to…we probably had to answer these questions, but these are good for class discussion, I think. I mean, this is…I definitely liked reading these stories and we probably read them out loud in class, too. Talk about some of the unfolding events in the story and how did you feel? Near the end of it, there’s…one character takes action. What is that action? That would be interesting when you read it in class and then they ask what is that action? People would just be like, I don’t know. I’d be like, ‘cause you were just not paying attention. That happened to me multiple times, mostly in math, though. Why do you think the author changes the point of view at this point in the story? The conversation at the beginning of the story reveals one of the characters’ attitudes. Do you think his attitude changes course in the story? Give evidence to support your answer.
Okay, and this is something I always talk about when people talk about the podcast, is C-O-N-F-L-I-C-T ‘cause it’s important even in a bedtime story podcast. Important element in stories, novels, and plays. It’s dealing with two different forces going in different directions or points of view. May take place between individuals and non-sentient beings or some natural force. I would say it could be even…it’s even more than that. Sometimes there’s external conflicts and sometimes there’s internal ones. The most obvious one in this book is between the two characters. Are there other ones? Are there any internal ones? Then it talks about suspense and foreshadowing; building interest through a story. This is interesting ‘cause this is the kind of stuff that I think all…this is the kind of education and understanding that I think is really important.
I don’t know if…I guess my daughter’s not in high school, but to think about oh, these are the elements of the stories, and I guess this really impacted the podcast. Again, this was a great teacher in a great class. The quality, the readers want to know what happens next. The author creates suspense about one of the characters. Sometimes they plant clues earlier in the story to hint about what’ll come later. The planting of those clues is called foreshadowing. How is the major action of this story foreshadowed? How does the foreshadowing help create suspense? A really good…this…yeah. Let’s see, sometimes you may be able to derive the definition of an unfamiliar word by using context clues. This is language and vocabulary…or supplied by other words. The one thing said, the appointments were of the finest linen, crystal, the silver.
The word appointments means equipment or furnishings and you can see that in the context. Use context clues to try to identify these. When he looked up from his plate, he found the other person studying him, appraising him narrowly. His hands were closed as if there was something tangible that someone was trying to take from his grip, something tangible. Those are a couple. Then for composition, most of the suspense in this story is related to the external conflict, and the reader wants to know what’s gonna happen. Write a paragraph that could have been part of a longer story. This maybe was where we got the movie idea from, though I don’t remember much about the movie other than a couple of sequences. Introduce something that comes up and create some suspense about the outcome. You may also…you may write about something external or internal; nature, people, whatever it is.
Then about the author; so, Richard Connell, 1893 to 1949, began writing at an early age. My first writing was in the newspaper, my father edited in Poughkeepsie, New York, I covered basketball games. I was ten years old, got ten dollars a game. Went to Harvard, wrote for the Daily Crimson and The Lampoon. After college, I worked in New York City for a newspaper, then advertising, and then in 1990…1919, he went freelance. Once estimated he sold about 300 short stories to magazines and wrote several novels and many screenplays, but this is the best-known story. It has appeared in numerous anthologies and been adapted many times. Okay, so this goes into Did I Read It? The next story is called The Lady or the Forest Friend…Tony the forest friend that’s on cereal, T-I-G-E-R.
The only reason I kind of remember this story…I have no idea what this story is, but I think this is one of the stories where it doesn’t end and you’re supposed to…you imagine how it ended. But that’s only…my memory may be fragmented. It’s by Frank R. Stockton. I’m not gonna read through the story. There is a vocabulary word; amphitheater. There’s one [00:40:00] picture of what looks like people in Roman or Grecian garb discussing things. It’s not as long as the other story, but let’s see if we can…let’s go into the study or discussions, ‘cause I don’t…I really don’t remember this other than that maybe we were supposed to imagine how it ended. I’m just trying to imagine what our assignment was in class where we were supposed to write our own version. But let’s see; the…oh yeah, so I was right. The author kinda challenges you to guess the outcome of the story.
From what you know of the princess — but I still don’t remember — which do you think she would point to; the lady or Tony the forest friend? At one point you’re told the solution to the question lies in understanding the nature of the princess. Think of it, fair reader, as not as if a decision of the question depended upon yourself, but upon the princess. Does the answer lie within the story or in the individual reader? Okay, and then they talk about plot; sequence of events or actions in a story, whatever the characters do, whatever they say, whatever happens, whatever they think, and what happens to them. Often before the plot begins, there’s a section of exposition. The exposition is the introduction. Sleep podcasts are heavy on exposition. It presents information and it helps readers understand the situation of the story.
In the Lady or the Forest Friend Named Tony, the T-I-G-E-R, the exposition’s given in the first eight paragraphs. What information is provided? The action of the story generally evolves out of C-O-N-F-L…is it external or internal, or what ones are presented of both in the story? What is the central one? Complications are introduced that make it difficult. What complications does Stockton introduce into his story and how do they add interest as the story becomes more complicated and moves to a climax? Climax is the highest point in the story. That determines the outcome. What is the climax of this story? Then the final part of the story is resolution. As resolution moves down from the high point, it usually settles the conflict. How do they handle the resolution? The plots of many stories follow this pattern; exposition, conflict, complications, climax, resolution.
If you’ve already read the first story in this book, identify those points in the story. Irony; there’s several kinds of irony. All of them depend on the contrast between appearance and reality. A very common kind is verbal irony which is a way of saying or writing one thing and meaning the opposite. You say…oh, like if you’re cold and you say oh, it’s…what a lovely day, you’re being ironic. Writers often try to use irony for unpleasant things or characters. By trying to pretend that you’re taking them at face value, you try…the writers are trying to make you see what they’re really like. They use the term poetic justice in an ironic way in this story, hoping the readers will understand that. In addition…in order to understand a writer’s irony, we first must decide what the facts really are or if the way seems…things seem. Are they different? Explain why each of the following statements is ironic.
If the irony is not clear, re-read each statement. In this one, people are refining culture. Perfect fairness is obvious. Find other ironic statements in the story. Okay, here’s the composition. They leave it up to you to decide what happens. Write your own version of the ending. Probably, we did that. I don’t remember…I mean, I kinda remember it. To make your ending effective, you might want to show…so, do that. Yeah, at some point I’ll re-read this and then say…’cause I really don’t remember it at all, other than it’s like some choice. Let’s see, Frank Stockton was born in Philadelphia, 1834 to 1902. His parents thought he would be a doctor. He became a wood engraver in ‘67. When he was thirty-four, he began to put more and more time to writing and engraving. Then he contributed to children’s stories, to magazines, then started writing for adult magazines.
The most famous story, Lady or the Forest Friend Named Tony the T-I-G-E-R appeared in 1882 in Century Magazine and it caused a great sensation. You know what? I’m gonna pause and just read the beginning of the story and see if it triggers anything for me. Okay, so I read the story and it kinda…I do remember it now. It has a couple good layers to it. It has a king who’s constantly…who’s very solutions-oriented with everything else, and then he has a simple form of justice that he thinks is fair but it’s more based on randomness. Then he wants to get in the way of his daughter’s romantic relationship and he complicates it in a way that’s a total lose-lose situation for his daughter and more or less for her boyfriend. But then the last layer is really where it’s brilliant because the person has to randomly choose; okay, if I go through door on the left or door on the right…and on the door on the left is a portal where you’d go live in somewhere else forever.
For example, the big farm, and you’d be relaxed there. The other door is like hey, you’ll have this other opportunity to move somewhere else and have a life with this…you get…go have a career and a relationship somewhere else. It’s just interesting that the…then kinda the daughter gives a secret sign, and that’s kinda really where the last level…it’s like, well, is she telling him…which way is she telling him to go? Does she want him to be happy or just move away, kind of? That’s pretty cool. The third book is…or the third story is by someone that’s had a great influence on this podcast through their novels which is Kurt Vonnegut, and this one’s called Tom Edison’s Shaggy Dog. They also have…there’s also Thurbur in here, and I kinda feel like in other humorous…this era.
It’s Tom Edison’s Shaggy Dog, and it has two people sitting on a bench; one person try…in a suit trying to read a book, and then another guy with a Hawaiian shirt and clashing pants and red shoes talking up a storm, kind of like a airplane thing where the person that sits next to you won’t stop talking to you, and the dog is licking the guy’s knee…ankle. I don’t think I remember this story yet. Let’s see, it mentions Horace Greeley, Henry Ford, a wizard…Edison was known as the Wizard of Menlo Park. Then it shows two kids conducting a measurement…electronic measurements on a dog’s ears. So, I don’t remember this story, though. It’s probably ‘cause of the next one, but…so, let’s go to the study. The Shaggy Dog story is a joke that spun out of a long, rambling tale. Oh my gosh, I’m gonna read this word for word; The Shaggy Dog story is a joke that spun out to a long, rambling tale.
It is intended to lead the listener and generally involves absurd, unreal events. What is the Shaggy Dog story? I’ll have to read this one, but not right now. At what point does Bullard begin to realize that he’s been taken in? What is the joke the stranger pulls? This is interesting; a story within a story. This is what Vonnegut taught me later, a couple years later or maybe a year…maybe this was later this year when I first read Hocus Pocus, a story within a story. Sometimes an author chooses to tell a story within the framework of another story. This is a big part of Sleep With Me. In its simplest form, the framework can introduce a group of people discussing a particular topic and say oh yeah, that reminds me of this story, then the inner story begins. In such a story, the inner story is usually the much more important one.
In other stories…that just reminds me of the Thurbur story, [00:50:00] The Night with the Bed, but that’s one of his famous…’cause he’s coming up next. In other stories, the framework plays a more important role. For example, in this story, it’s two stories that are equally important. The framework story and the story within a story reinforce one another and each story adds meaning to the other one. In what way are the framework story and inner story related, and how does the story…then there’s allusions. One of Bullard’s mannerisms is transformation of well-known sayings to suit his own beliefs. He changes Horace Greeley’s famous statement; go west, young man, go west. Go at ‘em, young man. Vonnegut depends on the reader recognizing that which would have been tough. To appreciate the humor of the revision, one needs to know the original.
Here are some other well-known sayings that appear; opportunity knocks only once, darkest before dawn, dog’s a man’s best friend, let sleeping dogs lie. For composition, write an imaginary narrative of how was the wheel invented, or imagine some other invention or…and treat your narrative as a…I don’t remember doing this so maybe we skipped this story. Kurt Vonnegut was from Indianapolis, went to Cornell, Carnegie Institute of Technology, and the universities of Tennessee and Chicago. He was in Dresden which he wrote about in his books Mother’s Night and The House of Five. He has a bunch of other well-known books; Cat’s Cradle, Sirens of Titan, Breakfast of Champions. He’s published more than 100 short stories, many of them science-fiction. Tom Edison’s Shaggy Dog is from Welcome to the Monkey House, the collections of his stories. That’s one.
Then the next one, so I definitely remember reading this next story because it…which is interesting ‘cause I guess…as from…after freshman year to the adult…to adulthood and even into adulthood, I’ve read much…I have read a decent amount of Thurbur, but I’ve read much more Vonnegut than Thurbur, though they’re very…well, they’re not very…they’re…some of their sensibilities are similar, but I’m not an expert. But so, this book…and this was made into a movie in the last five years. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and there’s never been a fictional character that I’ve ever identified with more, especially at the time. That was like, this is who I am. He just came at the exact time; I was like, this is what my life is like. I live in my head most of the time. If you haven’t read this short story, I highly recommend it. It’s by James Thurbur, the Secret Life of Walter Mitty. In some sense, I still live this way.
There’s some…let’s see, there’s some pictures. There’s one of Walter Mitty driving and he’s imagining…he’s like, fixing…he’s using…it looks like he’s using a pen to fix some sort of equipment to help somebody, and everyone is cheering him on and amazed, and he’s like man, I’m smooth as I fix this thing. Let’s see, there’s coals to Newcastle, a saying that is used to indicate unnecessary work. Newcastle is a famous city for coal production. Carbonundrum, initiative, in referendum. Carborundum is a hard, abrasive material. Initiative is the citizens introducing new legislation. Referendum refers to the right of the citizens to vote on the laws. The association in Mitty’s mind is one of sound, not of sense. Then there’s another picture of Mitty kind of sitting on his easy chair and imagining himself a hero, a dashing hero, and people looking on, and him saying okay, I’m gonna dash to heroes.
Circus Auprès de ma blonde is a French song, inscrutable, which…that’s a good SAT word for inscrutable; unknowable or mysterious; I-N-S-C-R-U-T-A-B-L-E. Okay, so this is the discussion part, study or discussion; Walter Mitty…contrast Walter Mitty’s life with his secret life. Why does he feel he wants to escape from his real life? Each of his daydreams is sparked by some detail from everyday life like where…what he drives past. Explain how his daydreams grow of actual events. What kind of person…what kind of people does Mitty surround himself with? The final incident shows Walter Mitty dreaming himself…in the last act of heroism. How is this…but also not…he’s got a certain mentality. Is this final daydream of Mitty an adequate summing up of the story? Why or why not? Readers have found The Secret Life of Walter Mitty both funny and S-A-D. How is it both funny and S-A-D?
Then the stuff they want to teach us here, one is direct and indirect characterization. A writer can develop and reveal a character through physical description, through action, through thoughts, feelings, and speeches, through comments and reactions of other characters, through direct statements, giving the writer’s opinion of the character. The first four methods are indirect methods of characterization; they show or dramatize the character. The last method is direct characterization. It tells rather than dramatizes. Within a single passage, the author may use both direct and indirect. Thurbur uses three of these methods to develop the characterization of Mitty. Tell which ones he uses and examples. Dramatic irony; irony contrasts a real with what only seems to be real. A writer may say one thing and mean another. This is a kind of irony which was discussed on Page 24, verbal irony.
Another kind of irony is dramatic irony. Dramatic irony contrast depends on the difference between the characters and what the readers know. Mitty has the fantasy about being a hero but they know that it’s not true. Find other examples of dramatic irony. Language and vocabulary; recognizing mock jargon. Jargon is a special language for a group of people, especially people in the same job like engineers, lawyers, carpenters, doctors. Often such language is necessary to communicate complex ideas, but sometimes they need it to…they use it just to impress people. Incomprehensible speech; they poke…this book pokes fun at the jargon of groups. Can you find other examples of mock jargon? Oh, I definitely remember this; I don’t remember this sequel, but write a sequel to this book. They kinda lead you…let Mitty have one more daydream of glory, show how a detail sparks that daydream.
At the end of the story, have it interrupted. Or if you like, write a short story about another character. That’s probably what I did. Then James Thurber, 1894 to 1961 achieved success as a writer and a cartoonist. He’s one of America’s most highly-regarded humorists. His short stories are so funny. I mean, holy moly. The Night the Bed Fell…what’s the one about his coat? The Night the Bed Fell is probably…or yeah, I would start with that one. That might be one of the more famous ones, too. He’s one of America’s…part of his success lies in being funny and serious at the same time. His writings and drawings are populated with people trying to cope with modern life and puzzled, compassionate dogs who observe things. Grew up in Columbus, Ohio…Ohio State University, later wrote about the early years in a book My Funny…My Life and Hard Times.
He wrote for newspapers in Columbus, Paris, New York, worked on the staff in New Yorker Magazine and was associated with The New Yorker for the rest of his life as a editor, then a writer. Essays, cartoons, and stories for the magazines, and became one of the best-known contributors. Much of his work is collected in books that…yeah, some really great books. He wrote about…he also did non-fiction. He has this great series about soap operas that I think are really informative about podcasting. He’s collaborated on plays, and some of his best [01:00:00] satire appeals…appears in fables of our time and further fables. He’s also wrote children’s books like The 13 Clocks. Okay, the next one I have no idea. All the Years of Her Life. That’s by Morley Callaghan, and it has a person standing in front of a shop window with his arms crossed and a suit.
Then it has a picture…a close-up picture of a woman, then it has a woman sitting at a table drinking tea with a younger person looking on. Let me just see; did I read this? For study or discussion; there’s two major characters in the story; Alfred and his mother. Who was the main character? I don’t remember. One way is to identify the climax. Looks like Alfred got caught doing something he wasn’t supposed to and his…is Alfred understanding his mother for the first time? Talk about what person Alfred is. What methods does Callaghan use? How does Alfred’s mother handle Mr. Carr? Maybe he took something from the…yeah, there’s the local five-and-dime type store. Alfred’s mother is mainly seen through Alfred’s eyes. How does his understanding of his mother change? Then it talks about…the lesson from it is static and dynamic characters. Characters in fiction are also often static or dynamic.
Static; they stay the same, dynamic; change in some way. Alfred changes in this story. At that moment, his youth seemed to come to a close. There’s something…I’m kinda paraphrasing. Does that change make Alfred a better person? Is Walter Mitty a static or dynamic character? Wow, that’s a good question. What about if a character’s in the game? For composition, create a dominant impression. Alfred begins to understand his mother’s inner nature as he watches her pouring herself a cup of tea. She’s a little bit down. Note how Callaghan…Callaghan…Callaghan creates a single impression of Alfred’s mother through careful selection of details and well-chosen modifiers and verbs. Which words were particularly effective? Then it wants you to do that. Morally, Callaghan…Callaghan…morally, Callaghan was born in Toronto, went to the University of Toronto and then Osgoode Law School.
Between college and law school worked as a reporter, met Ernest Hemingway who encouraged him to write. First short stories were in literary magazines, then larger magazines like The New Yorker, also included in a lot of best short story collections. That’s kinda interesting. I guess I didn’t realize that that would take up…that’s only forty-five pages I read through of 600 books, so I’ll try to figure out a different method for next time of going through this, but that was interesting. Yeah, like I said, a couple of those books…stories definitely had a main impact, and I’ll read a couple of the other ones for my own pleasure. Thanks, and goodnight.
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