Monday, May 09, 2005

Absent-Minded


Sorry to miss a couple days here--the staff took an unexpected weekend vacation, hoping to bag a couple of new stories from different readers on the way but coming back empty-handed. Nevertheless, we have plenty of stories "in the can" and others in the works...

A few reminders about this site, in case anyone ever reads these little announcements:

"Stories to Go" is totally free, free of ads and free of inducements to do anything but go to your local (not chain and not online, if you can avoid it) bookstore or library to obtain the books whence these stories come.

Therefore, although we are very happy with the work of our friends who read for us, none of us is a professional reader and we make plenty of mistakes and never edit and our studio is low-budget, if nonexistent.

All of these stories are read "cold," that is, with no rehearsals, no preparation other than clearing our throats, and quite often without ever having read the story before (or having read it so long ago, we've forgotten it). Most of the stories are chosen pretty much at random, going for the shortest ones in the books, often surprising ourselves by how good (or mediocre) what we've just read is. So these stories aren't necessarily the best, or the ones we'd choose for an anthology, or even the most representative selections from our chosen authors.

The authors we read depend a lot on what we have at hand and are not meant to be a democratic sampling of the world's innumerable authors, ancient or modern. Since we are sadly monolingual and limited to English, we rely on authors writing in English or authors available in translation. We realize we are not the multiracial multilingual multicultural melting pot literature really is, but we do the best we can with our small library (yes, we own all these books).

Don't be surprised if the miniature story descriptions we provide sometimes "give away" more of a story's plot than you might ordinarily want or need. Nevertheless, hearing a story is different from reading a story, and when hearing a story without having read it before, it often helps to have some general idea of what the story and its plot are about and what they entail, since it's easy to get lost in the sentences when you can't flip back a page or two just to check something. If you really want to be completely surprised, don't read the summaries! (They are not provided by our guest readers, by the way, but by our understaffed staff.)

In general, it takes us about twenty minutes every other day to maintain this site, so the content here is no more than that which twenty minutes can allow. Although our "readership" doesn't even approach that of truly popular podcasts, we are incredibly pleased to find people from all over the earth coming to this site. We are totally surprised to find ourselves sometimes being talked about out there (or in there) in cyberspace, and we are enormously grateful for the kind words and "return customers." This was a site that happened with absolutely no forethought, just a whim to experiment one chilly day last March, and we don't know how much longer we'll last, but in the meantime, we very much enjoy this opportunity to (re)introduce the post-literary world to some wonderful literature. Thanks again!

3 comments:

Satsuma said...

I believe I speak for many current and future visitors -- my thanks for the gift of this site. As someone with both a long train commute and persistent insomnia, I am now traveling and resting more easily because of Stories To Go. Please keep on.

Scoot said...

How incredibly kind of you to say that. Having heard so few comments, even from friends, it's very nice to know someone out there likes us! We hope your commutes continue to be more enjoyable...

Anonymous said...

I also would like to thank you for the site. It's lovely to be read to; it puts you back in the pleasant mind-set of your childhood, in a way. The cold reading just enhances this aspect & it's a warm human touch, i think.


That said, I do have a few criticisms, however, & i hope you take these in the best possible way.

First, i'm listening on Windows media, & not all the stories show up with a time. It would be nice to know how long each story is.

Second, some of the stories seem to end abruptly, or are cut-off. You can't tell from the reader that they are reading the last sentence of a piece, & there is no dead air at the end to signify it, either. This is very frustrating to the listener.

Third, not all voices or reading styles are made for listening to, & this is the toughest thing to relay but, the reader Scoot, although he is cute as hell, is not an ideal reader.

Part of it has to do with the reading style -it makes the voice the focal point instead of the story & it's hard to concentrate on the work. It also makes every story sound the same because it is so distinct.

The other part has to do with the fact that a flatter voice in lower tones, & read in a neutral way, is easier on the ears of the listener.

Finally, it would be great if there was a master index or listing of the works.

Again, thanks for the site & thank you for introducing me to many new works!