UPDATE (11/12) — Deadline extended by one day, through Sunday, for all you slackers.
I’d like to produce another episode of the Woodrat Podcast with multiple contributors, like the one for Emily Dickinson’s 180th birthday back on December 10, except this time, I’m asking for original contributions on the theme of Platonic love for an episode to be published in one week — on Valentine’s Day. By Platonic love, I probably don’t mean whatever Plato meant by it, but the modern definition: a close friendship between two people which does not involve sex (but theoretically could, either because they are a heterosexual man and woman, two homosexual men, two lesbian women, or combinations in which one is a bisexual… you get the idea). I’m interested in what happens to love when sex is removed from the equation.
This can be fiction, nonfiction, or poetry (and you don’t have to tell us which it is) and previously published works are welcome as long as you are the author and hold the rights. Recordings must be no longer than five minutes. Please introduce yourself at the beginning — just your name and where you’re from. If you have a blog or website you want people to know about, include the URL in the accompanying email. The piece doesn’t have to have a title, and you can use a pseudonym, or first name only, if you’re trying to keep a low internet profile. You can also get someone else to read in your stead (have them introduce both themselves and you). Anyone is welcome to submit as many times as they like, but I am not going to record people over the phone this time.
Email your recordings as attachments, or upload them to free file-sharing services such as yousendit.com — anything I don’t have register for — and send me the link: bontasaurus[at]yahoo[dot]com. Please put “Platonic love” into the subject line so I will easily be able to find any that end up in my spam folder. The deadline is
Saturday Sunday at midnight EST.
Do not include the text you’re reading from; the recordings have to stand on their own. Besides, if it’s a great piece but a poor reading or recording, it will break my heart to have to say no. I will accept recordings in almost any format except MIDI or Real Audio, and might even be able to import audio from videos (it depends — sometimes the importing doesn’t work so well). The important thing is to have an interesting essay, story or poem and read it well. If you’ve never made a digital audio recording before, see qarrtsiluni‘s suggestions on how to go about it, as well as the recommendations in the comments for this post at Voice Alpha. Make sure your microphone level is high enough, don’t pop your Ps, and most importantly, read in a natural voice with lots of expression. If you’re skilled at electronic composition, you’re welcome to do funky things with the soundtrack and reading, as long as the latter remains intelligible. I’ll also consider original songs on the theme.
I must admit I am a little nervous asking for submissions to something on Via Negativa. What if nobody submits? What if I have to say no to people I really like? I thought about giving more weight to those who submitted early, but then the podcast might end up dominated by Type A personalities, and I want to hear from my fellow slackers, too. Incidentally, since I am asking people to put real work into something for no pay and with no guarantee of success, I should mention that while Via Negativa itself gets pretty decent traffic (currently averaging 600 page views a day), the podcast is unlikely to get more than 250 downloads, mainly because I really suck at promotion. So do it because it’s fun! And remember, even if I turn out to be so bereft of good judgment as to decline your contribution, you can always post it on your own blog — the effort won’t have been wasted. And in the unlikely event that 50 people submit and I have to make the agonizing choice of the best 12 or 15, we can set up some sort of V-Day audio blog carnival, and interlink.