When I was four or five, my father built me a puppet theater for Christmas. This thing was awesome - a sturdy, free-standing wooden booth with a "stage" at just the right height for holding up hand puppets and putting on a show.
You can't do a show without a cast, so I was also given brand-new puppets of Ernie, Bert, and Cookie Monster. I think Cookie Monster was my mother's creation. He was sewn from blue fun fur and had a slit in the back of his throat so that he could appear to noisily devour cookies (or anything else handy).
I loved the theater and the puppets. But I was a very weird little boy who never used any toy in quite the intended manner. After performing one or two skits for glassy-eyed audience of stuffed animals, I got the notion that the little booth could be more fun as a radio station. I fixed up a pretend microphone using an empty toilet paper roll and some string, moved in two chairs from my kiddie dinette, and hey presto, I was on the air.
My radio shows usually followed an interview format in which I consulted leading experts on a variety of topics. I recall with particular vividness a "What Are You Wearing Today?" fashion segment with Raggedy Ann and Flora the Beanbag Frog. Flora didn't actually wear clothes, but she was still highly opinionated and predicted that "big hats with veils" would be "all the rage."
You would think, wouldn't you, that this presaged a career in broadcasting?* Possibly as a stand-by for Elsa Klensch? But no. I've been in stage shows on and off over the years (high school drama club being, of course, the Head-Start Program for gay youth), but never behind a microphone.
I got a message a few weeks ago from Brenda Dayne, who writes all that fun stuff for Interweave Knits from a little village somewhere in Wales. Brenda's launching a new Podcast audio knitting magazine, Cast On. And she's asked me to write a little something–and read it.
(She said the initial idea to ask me was her son's. If I do a lousy job, will he be sent to bed without supper?)
I think Brenda's idea is terrific: a knitting magazine you can enjoy while you're knitting. Makes perfect sense, no? I've already enjoyed all the epsiodes of Marie Irshad's excellent KnitCast while in media res, and it'll be fun to read my story aloud and imagine that others will get similar pleasure from it. Provided that they can get past my voice, which has a tendency to sound like a sheep bleat. But maybe for this audience, that's a good thing.
The first issue of Cast On (a Halloween special) is up and running, so give it a listen if you're inclined.
Also, a quick note about my schedule. For the rest of the week, I'm going to have to focus on some work for family members, so posts will be a little thin on the ground. But I'll try to make it up to you next week, when new photos of hot gay cowboys will, I hope, be very much in abundance.
*And also a fondness for men in uniform. Which did come to pass. One out of two ain't bad.