Podcast Episodes 02 Nov 2010 08:12 pm by David !


“NOT WAVING BUT DROWNING,” by Erin McKean. Read by the author.

Everyone knows that the fourth day of ninth grade is when you get your results. I mean, that’s the way it happens in our town; other towns do it differently. Amy, who moved here from Atlanta, said that in the big cities they do it when you’re born, since they have to take blood from babies, anyhow, to test for HIV and that disease that means you can’t drink Diet Coke. (She says she’s going to be shot in a botched robbery, but I think she’s lying. She also said her aunt is on Days of Our Lives, and I don’t believe that either.) But here, in our town, all the parents got together and decided that they just couldn’t take knowing before we were at least in high school. Tim K. says it’s because when you’re in ninth grade, your parents find you so annoying that they can actually bear to think about you dying. Allycia thinks it’s because when you’re our age you think you’re immortal and they want to scare it out of us. That might have been true for our parents, or our grandparents, but I don’t know anyone our age who hasn’t always known that they’re really going to die.

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Direct podcast feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/machineofpodcast

Erin McKean is a lexicographer (look it up). She lexicogs as the founder of Wordnik.com, and blogs about dresses at dressaday.com. She has written one novel, four books about wacky words, and enough email to cover the entire moon with a layer of alphanumeric characters five ems deep. (Erin McKean’s books on Amazon.)

Update: See Carly Monardo’s great illustration for this story!

6 Responses to “Podcast 1: NOT WAVING BUT DROWNING”

  1. on 03 Nov 2010 at 8:47 pm 1.Jerzy said …

    Delightful (at least as far as stories of death go)! Another great case of fleshing out the machine’s consequences on society at large, not just on one character. And I hadn’t heard of the poem before now but I really like it.

    Posting these as podcasts is a great idea; I love the idea of hearing a story read by its author. I just got my book in the mail but haven’t read much yet, and now I’m tempted to hold off so I can listen to the podcasts first. But you can’t lose either way!

  2. on 03 Nov 2010 at 9:26 pm 2.Michael said …

    I just finished this one in the book! I absolutely loved it. Will have to give this a listen when the story isn’t so fresh in my mind.

  3. on 04 Nov 2010 at 11:27 am 3.Seth said …

    Read this last night! Wonderful story, probably one of my favorites in the book.

  4. on 05 Nov 2010 at 6:55 am 4.Brandon Sussman said …

    Usually ordering matters, whether in a single author book or an anthology.

    I am curious why you decided to record in a different order from publication.

  5. on 05 Nov 2010 at 10:13 am 5.admin said …

    @Brandon – it’s because the first story in the book, FLAMING MARSHMALLOW, is already available in audio elsewhere and we wanted to launch the podcast with new/exclusive content. We will largely be sticking to the order in the book as our production schedule allows (some stories have already been recorded and some have yet to be).

  6. on 05 Nov 2010 at 11:17 pm 6.Alexander Danner said …

    I really love that you’re releasing the stories in this way. I don’t really listen to audio books that often, but I do very much like the idea of going through the book one story at a time like this.

    I thought Erin did a great job as a reader, and I enjoyed the story itself as well–off to a strong start!