The Drum

genre: essay genre: essay

JANISSE RAY Cheyenne

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Cattle auctions, pastures, and an old horse. These make up the world of Janisse Ray's essay "Cheyenne", about an old horse taken in by Ray's family. Ray's piece explores the nature of love, the connections between love and pity, and the discovery of grace. (15:59)

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GEOFF MARTIN Burning Silence

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The repetitive work of a tree-planting camp, the complexity of the forest, and above all, the sounds of that world--these are the subjects of Geoff Martin's essay "Burning Silence". Tasked with tending a loud generator, Martin contemplates how noise and stillness fuel our creativity. (15:04)

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GUY THORVALDSEN Horny For Construction

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Two men work to remove a heavy cast-iron tub from a bathroom. They are both middle-aged; one is a teacher, a writer. In Guy Thorvaldsen's essay "Horny For Construction," working with your hands is full of lessons--about rewards and process, but also about what Thorvaldsen calls "small disagreements with the universe". (15:02)

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VIRGINIA MARSHALL DISPATCH: When Hobos Come Home

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Every summer since 1900, the National Hobo Convention takes place in Britt, Iowa, a tiny town whose two train lines have made it the center of hobo memory for generations. Virginia Marshall's Dispatch from the Convention captures the voices of hobos gathered to name their king and queen, and speaks of the idea of freedom and the reality of borders as they define the hobo way of life. (14:43)

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LAURA JONES Death Fears Him

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Mustang Wanted is one of a small group of young men who hang by their bare hands from the tops of skyscrapers. Without ropes. Laura Jones' essay "Death Fears Him" delves into this subculture, exploring the dangerous and fascinating intersection of risk and fame. (16:24)

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GrubStreet STORIES FROM GRUB STREET'S WRITE IN

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On May 19, 2017, GrubStreet hosted Boston's first Write-In. The Drum was on the scene to record some of the many stories told by recent immigrants and refugees. Here are stories by Yanley Francois, Zach Ben-Amots, U-Melgn ‘Mhlaba-Apebo, Dana Lopes, Carolyn De Jesus, Christelle Narcisse, and Aseret Laparra. Write-In audio was recorded by Ilya Methot and Jordan Fischer. (8:39)

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ALYSIA ABBOTT Letting Him Go

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Alysia Abbott's essay tells the story of romantic risk--the risk of letting someone go in the hope and belief not only that it's the right thing to do, but also that it may be the only way to hold on. A Cat Power song, a striped shirt, and a Ukrainian restaurant all play a role in this tale of love. (7:45)

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CHRISTI CRAIG In Texas

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In her essay "In Texas," Christi Craig recalls her teenaged self facing a dilemma of faith and family. Should she admit to her grandmother that she cannot speak in tongues, or should she pretend she can so as not to reveal her distance from the religion that has always bound them together? Looking back, Craig examines the connections that have endured. (8:07)

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CUMI IKEDA If I Could Try It On, For Size

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Cumi Ikeda's essay explores identity and race through the lyrical rhythms of poetry. The essay asks us to contemplate how we see one another and how we see ourselves--how we exist through and beyond categories. (4:12)

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MARK VANHOENACKER Skyfaring (excerpts)

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Mark Vanhoenacker reads excerpts from his recent book SKYFARING. In a seamless fusion of history, politics, geography, meteorology, family, and physics, the book asks us to reimagine what we--as pilots and as passengers--are actually doing when we enter the world between departure and discovery. www.skyfaring.com (22:16)

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CATHERINE ELCIK What The Doctor Taught Me

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When family crises buffeted author Catherine Elcik with grief and stress, she found solace in the unlikeliest of places: Doctor Who. Or perhaps not so unlikely. For from this television program about time-shifting and agelessness and loss and endurance, Elcik learned powerful lessons about coping with the thieveries of illness and death. In this beautiful essay, Elcik offers wisdom to all of us--Whovians or not. (16:40)

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MELANIE SENN The Art of Drumming Badly

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To hear Melanie Senn tell it, she is not a good drummer. But what matters more than her musical and percussive talent is her skill in telling the story of how she took to the drums--at first as a way to connect to her musician husband, and then as a way to experience delight. In "The Art of Drumming Badly," Senn shares her joy in learning something new and in learning not to care about inhibitions and expectations. (11:17)

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theme: comedy

theme: crisis

theme: relationships

theme: family

genre: essay

novel excerpt

short fiction

poetry

under 10 min

under 20 min

under 30 min

under 40 min
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