DDOP-14 Orange

Mermaid Shelfie

Description:

My hair smells like an orange creamsicle.

Transcript:

My friend Selena suggested the color orange.

There’s a song that my mother used to listen to when I was a kid… a Leonard Cohen song called Suzanne, though she only ever listened to the covers recorded by Joan Baez and Judy Collins. I never cared much for the song – it’s kind of monotonous and makes me feel like maybe you can only really appreciate it if you’re kind of stoned – but there’s a line in it, “and she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China” that has always captivated me.

To this day the color orange is tied to both the fruit and the tea for me, and I really like the combination of both together.

I’ve always been really nocturnal, and when I was in high school, I loved to be the last one awake at night. I would wait until everyone else was asleep and then creep down to the kitchen and brew a pot of tea – nothing special – just whatever was around. Sometimes plain old Lipton and sometimes something else. (Nowadays I’m as picky about tea as I am about coffee, but then, I took what I could get.)

I would take the tea to the table with a cup and milk and sugar, because I did that then, and a few oranges, and I would sip tea and read books late into the night, or, if I wasn’t in the mood to read, I would fill notebooks with stories.

No, I don’t still own the notebooks. I have no idea what happened to them all.

I love the way even the blackest of black teas, once brewed, is a deep orange-amber-brown color. I love the way tangerines are almost fizzy when you bite into them and their juice bursts onto your tongue.

Oranges are my go-to fruit in winter. I use navel oranges for most things, but we also buy those easy-peel clementines – the ones that are marketed for children – even though we don’t have kids, and we eat them like candy.

I could talk more about orange… I could talk about the Golden Gate bridge and the perfect sunset and how it’s a punch of color when you include it in a bouquet or a vase of flowers, but I think I’ll stick with the fruit.

Oh, except that I’ll mention that my new hair stylist has me hooked on Kevin Murphy’s haircare lines, so now my hair smells like an orange creamsicle all the time, which makes me grin.

Links & References:

Credits:

  • The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock iPad app and Audacity.
  • Bathtub Mermaid album art was created by Rebecca Moran of Moran Media
  • Music used for the opening and closing is David Popper’s “Village Song” as performed by Cello Journey. This music came from the podsafe music archive at Mevio’s Music Alley, which site is now defunct.

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DDOP-13 Teal

SJ Sharks

Description:

To me, teal is the color of ice skating.

Transcript:

My friend Fran asked me to talk about the color Teal.

Originally, I was going to combine it with turquoise, but I decided it would be cheating. Besides, teal it’s a distinctly different color.

To me, teal is the color of ice skating.

I don’t remember learning to ice skate; it’s just something my mother and I always did when I was a kid. I remember skating with her on Deal Lake in New Jersey, and on the foot-thick rippled ice of the frozen reservoir in Georgetown, when they hadn’t yet frozen over the baseball diamond.

I remember weekend trips to the ski resorts in Loveland and Vail where we would skate instead of ski – I lived in Colorado for seven years and never learned to ski – and I would complain because I was wearing itchy thermal socks over tights under my jeans and I would be sweaty and cold and skated out long before the adults were ready to go home.

I remember holding Benjamin’s hand when we skated at ice rinks in Colorado – both of us in those double-bladed skates designed for wobbly children and Donny Osmond.

And I remember, in the winter before we all wanted those sneakers with roller skate wheels attached, that my friends and I would go to the rink at the Y in Arvada Colorado twice a week after school to participate in the open skate.

I never took lessons – none of us did – but we learned to scissor our feet and use the right edges, and do simple spins and tiny jumps even without formal training. We learned to shoot the duck and race around the rink, and sometimes we even wore cute little skating skirts to do it, but mostly we just wore jeans.

After we moved to California, Mom and I stopped skating, until the year before I met Fuzzy. That was the year the Sharks moved to San Jose, and they opened their training center for open skating in order to offset costs.

Mom and I went to one of the first sessions, but the rental skates were horrible, so we went directly to the pro-shop to buy proper figure skates. I’ve never been a particular hockey fan, but the rookies have to work in the pro-shop and when a soulful Russian or Finnish hockey player is holding your foot in his huge hand and asking you, in accented English what size shoe you wear, and saying “You vill com vatch us play, yes?” How can you say no?

And yet, I never made it to a live Sharks game, even though I lived only a short walk away from the Shark Tank for several years.

In fact, the only time we ever went there was for figure skating shows – it was a tradition that I went every year with Mom. But then she moved to Baja Sur, Mexico, and I moved to Texas, where the ice shows never come.

And my skates, my beautiful white figure skates, sit unused on the shelf of my hall closet, their blades protected by rubber guards in… guess what color? Naah, I’ll just tell you: teal.

Links & References:

Credits:

  • The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock iPad app and Audacity.
  • Bathtub Mermaid album art was created by Rebecca Moran of Moran Media
  • Music used for the opening and closing is David Popper’s “Village Song” as performed by Cello Journey. This music came from the podsafe music archive at Mevio’s Music Alley, which site is now defunct.

Contact Me:

DDOP-12 Letter to My Six-Year-Old Self

Red Bike

Description:

Written for Modern Creative Life, a letter to my six-year-old self.

Excerpt:

You ride out to Mrs. Godoy’s house some weekends with your friend Siobhan, and sometimes you spook yourself when you stay later than you’re supposed to and the shadows have descended through the trees on that one stretch of road right before the dirt transitions back to asphalt and you see the lion heads on the old hotel, and the awning of the ice cream store.

I know the shadows are scary, and we both know the Headless Horseman isn’t really following you, but it’s fun to be a little bit scared when you know it’s not real, so enjoy it.

Links & References:

Credits:

  • The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock iPad app and Audacity.
  • Bathtub Mermaid album art was created by Rebecca Moran of Moran Media
  • Music used for the opening and closing is David Popper’s “Village Song” as performed by Cello Journey. This music came from the podsafe music archive at Mevio’s Music Alley, which site is now defunct.

Contact Me:

DDOP-11 Bring Your Own Book

ByoBook

Description:

At my birthday party, we played Bring Your Own Book

Transcript:

20 August 2016 – Bring Your Own Book

Okay, what do a cookbook, a self-help guide, a manual on writing science fiction, an RPG rulebook, the latest of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novels, an S.M. Stirling novel, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s #Hamiltome (that’s the book about the creation of the musical Hamilton), and The Klingon Art of War have in common?

I actually hate guessing games, so I’m going to tell you: they’re the books we used for a game of Bring Your Own Book at my birthday party earlier tonight.

My actual birthday was on Wednesday. I’m older than Nuchtchas and younger than Dave Slusher and Kreg Steppe, and I’m not actually ashamed of my age, I’m just playing with you because I’ve had just enough beer to be slightly silly, and just enough coffee and cake to be hyper, and this is why we celebrated on a Saturday instead of in the middle of the week.

But anyway, Bring Your Own Book. I was part of the kickstarter for this game, which was created by DoBetter Games and published for commercial release by Gamewright. It uses the same model as Cards Against Humanity, which, of course, uses the same model as Apples to Apples – you have a bunch of prompts and you offer up your best response, and the judge chooses the one they find funniest or grossest or most appropriate, or… whatever.

The difference, which should be obvious from the title, is that instead of a second set of cards that you use for responses, in Bring Your Own Book, you literally bring your own book, and use it for the source of prompts.

Depending on the number of people, you have to win a certain number of cards, but, just to mix things up, every time someone acquires a third card, you rotate the books.

If this sounds like a lame birthday, trust me, it wasn’t. While I don’t play video games, and almost never play RPGs (except 7th Sea), I love board games and card games, and we have game nights a lot. We spent much of the spring playing the Firefly board game  – in fact, one of my friends gave me the game mat of the whole damned ‘verse for my birthday this year – and I’ve kickstarted more than I care to admit.

(I’ve also amassed quite a collection of really lovely artsy playing cards, but that’s another story.)

But anyway, Bring Your Own Book ended up being great fun, we finished the night with laughter, and I am now off to bed.

Links & References:

Credits:

  • The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock iPad app and Audacity.
  • Bathtub Mermaid album art was created by Rebecca Moran of Moran Media
  • Music used for the opening and closing is David Popper’s “Village Song” as performed by Cello Journey. This music came from the podsafe music archive at Mevio’s Music Alley, which site is now defunct.

Contact Me:

DDOP-10 Inspired by Turquoise

Georgetown Christmas

Description:

Inspired by the color ‘turquoise,’ I talk about childhood in Colorado.

Transcript:

Mark, the Encaffeinated One, wanted me to talk about Turquoise because he likes the way it sounds. I do too.

Turquoise is the color I associate with the best parts of living in Colorado when I was a little kid. I’m originally from New Jersey – and I’ll never entirely stop being a Jersey Girl – but I lived in Colorado more often than not from the ages of five to ten.

At first, we lived in Golden, on 16th street. My pre-school teacher, Ray Goodheart lived one street over and – this is how innocent the 70’s were – my friends Heather and Kerry and I used to hang out at his house on weekends. It helped that he was living with my friend Ben’s mom.

Weekends at Ray’s were like some kind of Colorado hippie version of Hodge Podge Lodge (extra points if you even know what that is). He had pet ferrets in a run in the back yard, and inside the kitchen he’d taken an old cigarette machine – the kind with the pull-knobs – so it would dispense snack-packs of chocolate pudding, or granola bars, or bags of pretzels.

Ray was the first teacher who had a real impact on me, and we still connect via email or postcards every few years. He used to make us spell words with our alpha-bits before we could eat them, at snack-time, and he had me reading at a fourth-grade level before I even started Kindergarten and doing long-division at about the same time.

(He went on to start a bunch of early learning centers.)

Ben, on the other hand, was the first boy I ever loved, and we were as devoted as two five-year-olds could possibly be. His birthday was two days before mine, and other mothers became close friends, so for a couple of years we shared celebrations. I don’t have a lot of keepsakes from childhood – mostly books – but somewhere I have a tiny silver and turquoise ring that he gave me.

The year I turned seven we moved to Georgetown, which was an amazing place to be a little kid. It’s only about an hour from Denver, if that, but it’s a cute mountain town that has only become more of a tourist destination over the years.

There, my association with turquoise came from the rock shop a few blocks away from the country store – think mercantile – that my mother owned, or from the Navajo family who sold jewelry and blankets and the most incredible burritos and tostadas I’ve ever had. Their tortillas actually remind me a lot of the Oaxacan tortillas they serve at the street fairs in La Paz, Mexico. Or, I guess, the Oaxacan tortillas remind me of the Navajo ones since I had the Navajo version first. They owned a small clapboard building up the street from us, and I think they had an apartment in the back. They had a daughter my age, but I don’t remember her being in school with us.

My mother and her then-husband were going through a lot of rough stuff back then, but she did a really good job of keeping me in a kind of bubble, protected to the point that there was barely any awareness, and since he worked in Denver, and we only really saw him on weekends, the two of us were much more a part of the community than he ever was.

My favorite parts of life there involve winter, which is kind of ironic since I make no secret of my loathing for snow, ice, and cold.

But winter in Georgetown meant that they’d turn the baseball diamond in the park into a skating rink, and my friends and I would go skating after school, and then walk home to our parents’ businesses and sip cocoa in the back rooms, or there would be Christmas Market or Fasching (which is sort of a German version of Carnival.)

All of those festivals involved food booths and music in the town square, and all of those things that made me feel like we were living in the Rocky Mountain equivalent of Stars Hollow, and while leather goods and silver jewelry (the Ajax Silver Mine was right there) were commonly sold, what I remember most were the many, many different rings and bracelets and belt buckles and… whatever… that were made with Turquoise.

Links & References:

Credits:

  • The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock iPad app and Audacity.
  • Bathtub Mermaid album art was created by Rebecca Moran of Moran Media
  • Music used for the opening and closing is David Popper’s “Village Song” as performed by Cello Journey. This music came from the podsafe music archive at Mevio’s Music Alley, which site is now defunct.

Contact Me:

DDOP-1609 Real Mail

Postcards

 

Transcript:

So, here’s the thing. I write the content first, but when I record, I don’t typically stay exactly on-script. Most of the time, what you hear and what I wrote are fairly similar. Tonight? I kind of rambled.

About a month ago, a friend of mine mentioned a project she’d signed up for: Jennifer Belthoff’s Love Notes project. Basically, you are assigned a pen pal for three weeks, during which time you send a postcard a week, and you’re given prompts as jumping-off points.

I’m a sucker for writing memes, so naturally I signed up. While I loved the fabric postcards I received, what I loved even more than the project itself was the guarantee of real mail. Once a week, I was going to receive a postcard – not an ad, not a bill – a postcard. An honest-to-god, handwritten postcard. From a real live person.

I’ve been a sucker for real mail ever since I was a little kid and, in an effort to keep me from driving my grandparents crazy one summer, I was presented with a book called Free Stuff for Kids. It was basically a collection of different things that kids could request by mail. Most of them were free; some required that you pay for postage; nothing was over a dollar.

By the time I’d sent the first five envelopes out, and received the first two items back, I was hooked. I signed up for a pen pal, and we wrote back and forth for a couple of years, until each of us moved, and we lost touch.

At the same time, my grandfather had taken it upon itself to keep a regular written correspondence with me, going so far as to carefully print his letters to me on wide-rule paper so that I could actually read them without help. (I was only seven; I hadn’t learned to read cursive yet.)

I’m very fortunate that I come from a family of letter-writers. Sure, we use email and text for immediate things, but real letters still get sent back and forth, and, having been inspired by the Love Notes project, this summer we’ve been sending postcards back and forth, as well. My godmother, who is also my aunt, and I have been exchanging postcards this summer – she keeps sending me cards collected from trips to Point Reyes, even though she’s writing them from her husband’s family’s summer house in Amagansett. Then again, I’ve been sending postcards featuring the La Paz whale shark from my house in Texas. It’s all good, right?

A bunch of us who participated in the post card project began sending ‘extra’ postcards to people we thought would appreciate them. My friend Debra surprised me with one, and I sent one to her and one to our mutual friend Becca. A few days ago, I got a card from Becca  – a picture of a coffee cup – she said it reminded her of me, and so she had to send it. I haven’t yet found the perfect card to reply with. But I will.

On and off this summer, I’ve also been reading letters – Some of Alexander Hamilton’s letters to both his wife (Eliza) and his sister-in-law (Angelica) are included in the “Hamiltome” the book of essays about the making of the musical Hamilton. (The book also includes the annotated libretto – it’s a fascinating read.) The other letters I’ve been reading are a collection from Laura Ingalls Wilder, but while I devoured the Hamilton book, I’m savoring these. Her writing style was so simple, and yet some of her imagery is so vivid it feels like a postcard.

I’ve changed a lot since my early letter-writing days. I don’t watch for the postal delivery person any more, and I’m more apt to receive packages then thick, newsy letters, but I still love that a piece of real mail isn’t just something to read. It represents the time and attention the sender took to write it, and it’s also something they touched. Something they carried to the mailbox or the post office. It’s a textual portrait of a single bubble of time.

Real mail rocks.
Real mail is magic.

Real mail will never go out of style.

Links & References:

Credits:

  • The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock iPad app and Audacity.
  • Bathtub Mermaid album art was created by Rebecca Moran of Moran Media
  • Music used for the opening and closing is David Popper’s “Village Song” as performed by Cello Journey. This music came from the podsafe music archive at Mevio’s Music Alley, which site is now defunct.

Contact Me:

DDOP-1608 – Pink

Pink

 

Transcript:

For the longest time, I actually hated the color pink. When you’re five feet tall, people tend to lump you into the ‘cute’ category no matter what you do to break out of it, so for most of my life, I was given pink clothes, pink toys, even a pink took kit once when I was little.

The irony is that none of these pink things came from people who actually knew me. My mother wouldn’t even let me have a Barbie doll (which is about the pinkest doll on the planet) until some relative gave me one, because she felt they were sexist.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked dolls just fine. Once I had acquired my ‘gateway’ Barbie, more followed. The Christmas I was seven, my mother even sewed an entire wardrobe for the Barbie and Chuck (I never did get a Ken doll) wedding party. To this day, I remember her cursing as she folded fabric to accommodate impossibly tiny darts.

A few years later, after she married my stepfather, we lived in a rental house where I was stuck in a bedroom that had a day-glow pink carpet and wallpaper that featured orange elephants and pink giraffes. Or maybe it was pink elephants and orange giraffes. Either way it was the kind of thing most people can only see after several alcoholic beverages and a few mind-altering drugs.

After that, I was pretty much done with pink.

Or so I thought.

But the thing is, while I’ve never liked baby-pink, I’m a big fan of bold pink. My favorite lipstick was this sort of faintly metallic fuchsia color that I’ve never been able to find a second time, and my favorite sweater is a pink, cotton, v-neck that is perfect for wearing over a tank-top whenever you go inside a business in Texas, in the summer.

The fact is, I always get complimented when I wear pink.

Still, pink and I were on the outs for a really long time. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties, spending every weekend on stage at Comedy Sportz that I embraced pink, and even then, I didn’t wear it… I just put it in my hair.

Now, this is the part where I confess that I’ve wanted technicolor hair pretty much all my life. I went to a performing arts high school where self-expression was so revered that the dress code was pretty much, “Mokawks can’t exceed three inches in height, you must wear clothing over your leotards outside of dance class, and gang colors are forbidden.” Other kids had blue, purple, green, and, yes, pink hair, but my mother didn’t want me to go that far.

And as a teenager, I wasn’t ready to commit.

Twenty years later, though, I found myself getting shyer and shyer. I’d just quit my job at a major mortgage lender because I could see the subprime market sinking, and I was doing improv, and I was sucking at it.

I felt boring and flat and ordinary.

So I went to my stylist and said, “I need a change. I’d like to dye my hair pink.”

We started with just a few streaks of a deep rose color, but over the next year, we kept playing – my hair grows really quickly, and my philosophy has always been, ‘it’s only hair, it grows back,’ but fortunately, I’ve always been lucky, having hair stylists who are very protective of their client’s heads.

Even when we bleached my hair out to platinum, so we could do my entire head in Special Effects Atomic Pink (it glows under black light) we never melted the ends, and it never got dry or brittle.

The thing is, you cannot be a wallflower if you have pink hair. It forces you to find the well of boldness inside yourself, and use it.

Or at least, it worked for me.

I mean, I still get trepidatious about things, but pink hair has become my anti-Kryptonite. One glance in the mirror at my cotton-candy-colored locks, and I’m on fire.

Or at least, I can pass for being on fire, because beneath the pink hair there’s the woman who has never quite fit in. The one who isn’t really geeky enough for the geeks (I don’t play video games, and I hate animation) or goth enough for the goths (I like the look, I don’t mind dark things,  but I also like laughter that isn’t maniacal) and yet, I’m hardly mainstream either, especially compared to most of the people in  the Suburban Texas town where I live.

Still pink hair forces me to live in the world outside my head, and that’s kind of a good thing.

And when it’s not? Well, those are the times when I slip my hand into Fuzzy’s as we’re driving home, and I glance into the night sky and find it lit up by random flashes of heat lightning.

The flashes are painted pink, of course.

Links & References:

Credits:

  • The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock iPad app and Audacity.
  • Bathtub Mermaid album art was created by Rebecca Moran of Moran Media
  • Music used for the opening and closing is David Popper’s “Village Song” as performed by Cello Journey. This music came from the podsafe music archive at Mevio’s Music Alley, which site is now defunct.

Contact Me:

DDOP-1607 – Sunday Brunch – August Nocturne

Eclipse

 

Transcript (excerpt):

With the flip of a calendar page (or a swipe of finger on a smartphone) July is gone for another year, and it is August, my month. The first summer month when, even though the sun is still reluctant to set, the days are discernably shorter, and the nights incrementally longer.

I’ve always been attuned to the night. While some people are morning people, happy and chirpy at first light, the only time I typically see dawn is when I haven’t yet been to bed. I have never been afraid of darkness; rather I crave it.

I come by it naturally.

The night before I was born, there was a full moon and an eclipse. If that doesn’t lock you into a special relationship with nighttime, I don’t know what does. (Recently, I asked my mother if she remembered any of that, and she reminded me that she’d been a little preoccupied with being in labor.)

You can read the rest of the post at Modern Creative Life, and if you’re so inclined, consider submitting an essay, poem, or piece of short fiction to our next issue, which launches in September and has the theme of  Wisdom.

Links:

Credits:

  • The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock iPad app and Audacity.
  • Bathtub Mermaid album art was created by Rebecca Moran of Moran Media
  • Music used for the opening and closing is David Popper’s “Village Song” as performed by Cello Journey. This music came from the podsafe music archive at Mevio’s Music Alley, which site is now defunct.
  • Image Credit: solerf / 123RF Stock Photo

Contact Me:

DDOP-1605 – Purple

Violets

Transcript:

“Pretty babies, bella babies, how are you today?” My grandmother singing to her African violets was better than an alarm clock on summer morning when I was a kid. She would hold a mister or watering can in her deep olive hands and pet the undersides of the soft leaves. (You never touch the tops, no matter how tantalizing the deep green velvet might seem.)

The table was oval with a marble top and a dark wood center support that split into feet. You’ve probably seen tables like it in home decorating magazines. Most people, these days, paint the wood white.

On top is where the African violets lived, center stage in the living room, right in front of the picture window. In my entire life, I never saw that window without draperies, or at least sheer curtains to filter the light, and I have vague recollections of it being covered in sheets of plastic during the winter – but I might be remembering wrong.

The violets, though, the African violets, are indelibly drawn in my brain and my heart. The deep purple flowers may have been dainty, but my grandmother kept them alive through year after year, and while they may have begun merely as flowers to her, and to all of us, they became a universal constant.

Through grief and loss, through joy and delight, in summer and winter, heat, humidity, rain, snow, and ice, those flowers kept blooming under my grandmother’s tender care.

It was the same care she offered to me, and to all of my cousins, whenever we stayed in her house. I joke about her penchant for cursing at us in Italian or threatening us with wooden spoons when we tried her patience (spoons that never once came into contact with any child). I laughingly recall some of her pet phrases the ones my cousins and I refer to as ‘Estherisms.’

“Oh, you’ve got a mad on.” when I was in a snit.

“You’re a miserable wretch,” when I was being a complete brat.  (Okay, you have to admit, that one’s kind of fun to say.”

“I need a little something,” when she was Jonesing for a cookie and afternoon coffee.

But the same voice that would let a string of Italian (which I cannot begin to spell) roll off her tongue when she was annoyed would also be the one to coax you into laughter by reciting poetry:

“I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,

and what can the use of him is more can I can see.”

Or sing a lullaby to soothe away tears:

“Lula lula lula lula-baby

Do you want the stars to play with?”

And at some point, in my head, the purple flowers became not just something my grandmother loved, but something that represented her presence, even after she was no longer living on this Earth.

Most people don’t realize that violets have a kind of tease built into their scent. When you first smell them, they actually numb your olfactory senses, so instead of a continuous flow of their earthy-sweet aroma, you get little bursts of perfume.

Knowing this, I think I can be forgiven if, when I wake in the middle of the night to a sky so dark it may as well be purple, I feel like I can catch the faintest wisp of my grandmother’s presence, feel the echo of her cool hand against my forehead, hear the ghost of her sing-songing greetings to her violets.

“Pretty babies, baby bellas… how are you today?”

 

Links & References:

Credits:

  • The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock iPad app and Audacity.
  • Bathtub Mermaid album art was created by Rebecca Moran of Moran Media
  • Music used for the opening and closing is David Popper’s “Village Song” as performed by Cello Journey. This music came from the podsafe music archive at Mevio’s Music Alley, which site is now defunct.

Contact Me:

DDOP-1604-August Break-Green

Green Light

 

Transcript:

It’s the first color association most of us are taught: red means stop, and green means go. (According to the movie Starman, and most drivers, yellow means ‘go very fast,’ but that’s another story.)

When I was contemplating my interpretation of today’s August Break prompt – green – I originally considered using a photograph of some green beans I cooked recently. I love that they look green, smell green, taste green, and lend themselves to an audio interpretation:

  • The rush of cool water over them as you rinse off the dirt.
  • The satisfying snap as you remove the prickly end bits.
  • The soft hiss of steam being released as they heat up during cooking.
  • The muffled squeak when you chew them (my husband hates that part).

It would have been an appropriate, if awfully literal, interpretation of the prompt.

But then I saw the green ‘ready’ light on the microphone I recently acquired – a microphone called the Blue Mikey that plugs into the lightning port of an iPad (in my case, my brand new iPad mini). I hate the name, but I love the microphone because it means I don’t have to sit on my hands when I record in my living room or kitchen, and am using this setup instead of my lovely FocusRite Scarlet mic and pre-amp upstairs.

I come from an Italian family. I talk with my hands. A lot.

I mean, I use the upstairs rig for audio drama, but for this daily project, which isn’t quite on the fly, being able to sit at my table and watch the light shimmer on the swimming pool (which is no longer green thanks to the awesome pool guy I hired a year and a half ago) while I record is a very good thing.

There’s a green light on the mic and a green mic symbol in the app I’m using – BossJock – and green bars to tell me if my levels are okay, and then there’s the other kind of green as well…

The green of being inexperienced.

My podcasting is… lackadaisical at best. I joined Dog Days (late) a few years ago after Tabz and Nutty encouraged me to try it, and while (every year) Nutty encourages me to continue beyond the project and (every year) I mean to and don’t, I haven’t ever put enough time into learning the technical aspects of things to please myself.

It’s not that I’m not technical. I used to be a tech support trainer for a major computer company.

It has everything to do with how I choose to spend my time, and I find that writing and acting are more valuable to me than learning how to create a promo or even a slickly produced podcast.

There may even be an element of dread involved – if I have to spend that much time on it, this project becomes work and not fun. (Yes, this is ironic coming from the woman who writes book reviews and edits an ezine all day long, and then writes fanfic for fun and relaxation afterward, but, there it is.)

And so, instead, I look at the green light on the mic with just a little bit of trepidation, because I’m pretty sure the only person who digs what I’m writing is me, and I try to be cognizant of the way the green bar is rising and falling on the iPad screen, and when I finally press the green button labeled finish it’s with equal parts excitement and relief.

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Credits:

  • The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock iPad app and Audacity.
  • Bathtub Mermaid album art was created by Rebecca Moran of Moran Media
  • Music used for the opening and closing is David Popper’s “Village Song” as performed by Cello Journey. This music came from the podsafe music archive at Mevio’s Music Alley, which site is now defunct.

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