Monday, November 07, 2005

Lend Me Your Ears

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.

Until now.

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.


Yvonne said...

AWESOME! I'm excited!! Do I need a pod to listen to a podcast? Will a bean pod work? No?? Okay. (whew)

Great story...and cute drawing to go with it. I loved the part about interviewing Raggedy Ann. I interviewed my Tiffany Taylor doll about her psychotic tendencies, going from pretty brunette to willowy blonde with a twist of her scalp...sounded just a little too MPD to me...of course she just got angry and stalked off the set...or did I throw her across the room because I couldn't get her scalp to turn that day? I can't remember now. hmm.

Anonymous said...

Brenda Dayne is a real nice lady. She interviewed me for an IK article some years ago and was professional and competent. Good luck with your podcast!

birdfarm said...

The podcast thing is very cool. But I hafta say... when you tell these stories, it seems pretty clear why your parents were not exactly surprised when you came out to them.

Sorka said...

Wow That is great! I can't wait to see if how I hear you as I read your blog is anywhere close to your real voice!

Can't wait to hear ya!

Anonymous said...

Go, boy, go! You'll do great.

I'm impressed by how much you did with your parents when you were growing up. You were very fortunate.

I second Jon. You don't sound like a sheep at all.

dragon knitter said...

that sounds entirely too cool, franklin! i'm listening to it as i type, and i'm enjoying this thoroughly! i am going to continue to listen. thanks, franklin.

(and i'm all over hot cowboys, gay or not, they're still great eye candy)

Anonymous said...

Geez, I only get to write stuff. You get to be heard...

I'm thrilled for you. And for me. Because I get to hear your voice, in addition to helping bring a spindle into your humble abode :-)

You want I should send you some profiteroles? ;-)

Crafty Andy said...

Thank you for sharing, It makes me feel like I wanted to be on your show.LOL.

Anonymous said...

I remember the stage and the puppet shows. They were great back then. You have been on many stages and done well on all of them.

I don't think your voice sounds like a sheep bleating.

Keep up the great work. It makes me feel great inside when you write about things that happen went you were growing up. You bring back such great memories.

Anna Fynn said...

I found your blog about five minutes ago (I've already forgotten how), but I'm quite sure by now that I love you.

goblinbox said...

Your parents had to know you were gay pretty much right off the bat, didn't they!


You're so cute. And I'm happily adding this new knitting podcast to my iTunes. Yay!

Jean said...

Forgive me, Franklin: I'm a pedant. You mean, I think, "in mediis rebus".

Love, Jean

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