Woodrat Podcast call for submissions: Platonic love

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.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

24 Comments


  1. Well, I hope people send stuff in! If not, I will just rant about romance being the tool of the patriarchy for 45 minutes until I break down in sobs. And nobody wants to hear that.

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  2. Dave, I have to say…

    Just the thought–the very, extremely comical thought–of you ending a solitary rant (about romance as the tool of the patriarchy? really?) in sobs is enough to keep me waiting for the 14th. Of course, on the off-chance (*grin*) you get a batch of excellent submissions, that would be worth the wait, too!

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence! As it happens, I’ve already received at least one very one very good submission (I say “at least” because I haven’t looked at my email yet this morning), so y’all will be spared, I think. I will probably talk about my own experience with platonic love, which has been almost entirely positive, and while I hope to avoid ranting, may briefly lament the lack of imagination that keeps even supposed nonconformists and creatives from deviating too far from society’s scripts. I may even do some decrying and deploring. We’ll see.

      Needless to say, I’d love to hear a nun’s perspective on this, but if you can’t do it, I understand.

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      1. You’re frighteningly astute: the moment I read the prompt, I thought, “Oh, dang, this is too good to pass up…” The problem is making a vocal recording, actually; not just the technical aspects of it, but the fact that it adds time to producing a piece. If I write something, it may just stay “written,” and leave the podcast debut for another time.

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        1. Maybe you could find somebody to read and record it for you? I mean, they don’t have to be there in Korea; they could be anywhere in the world.

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  3. My poem in its draft form is ready, and I will tweak it soon. But I am worried about the quality of my recording. Last time I sent a poem for Qarrtsiluni you had to clean up quite a bit :(

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    1. I don’t mind cleaning up recordings with too much white noise or whatnot; pops from being too close to the mike are another issue. But if it’s a good reading and a good piece, I’ll almost certainly be able to make room for it. So far I am not getting inundated with submissions.

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  4. Well, somebody just sent me one for a listen today, so I suspect you are going to get a batch!

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  5. I sent your suggestion/plea to my lover, Dave. Not sure his submission will qualify as “platonic”.

    : )

    (laugh)

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  6. I’m changing my blog name to “Tool of the Patriarchy”

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  7. I’ll send something. Although a soundfile of your sobbing might have some novelty appeal.

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    1. I’ll see what I can do. One way or another, I look forward to your contribution. I can tell you from what I’ve gotten already that you’ll be in great company!

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  8. Dave,
    I’m teaching Samuel this semester, and that led me to start something on the classic example, David and Jonathan. Supposing I can finsish something passable and record it on time is that acceptable, even though, if they were two heterosexual men, it does not fit your mandate?

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    1. I think it would fit, inasmuch as a great many contemporary readers have a hard time reading of such a close friendship and thinking it was anything other than sexual. Yes, please send!

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      1. I’d often thought the same but hadn’t heard it expressed until now.

        Reply

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