Announcing the Elements Series

Hi Everyone,

Trust the start of your new year is going as well as possible.

In 2021, I’m trying something new with the podcast. I’m creating a year-long series of podcasts centered around elements of storytelling.

I’m producing four seasons throughout the year, each focused on a particular element: Place, Plot, Point and Character.

A selection of folk will be asked to provide an object to prompt a discussion about one of these elements. A poet might provide an image to talk about setting. A novelist a poem to discuss character. A graphic novelist might have insights into alternate plot structures.

The Elements Series begins later this month with the first of six episodes discussing Place. We’ll be talking around and about how we set or position our work.

This series is made with the help of Copyright Licensing New Zealand contestable funding. Thank you CLNZ!

Look forward to seeing you there.

Thanks

Pip

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

For a transcript of this episode (with audio) please go to the Better off Read Podscribe page

Or you can listen to it here:

Transcript

Pip Adam (19s): Hi, this is Pip Adam. Mmm. I’m just popping in to make a very, very quick announcement. So, I think I’ve got three things. So, the first thing I want it to say is welcome to 2021. I hope that your start to the new year as going as well as possible, I sort of just want to acknowledge that things are tough for a lot of people and yeah, I am sending hope and love and yeah, I hope everybody everywhere is just finding slight moments of peace and amongst all the chaos and scariness and yeah.

Pip Adam (1m 9s): Anyway, love you all heaps. The second thing I wanted to do is just thank everybody for all of their support and 2020. Mmm. Yeah. I’m very grateful to all of the people who came on and recorded a podcast. Thank you for your time, your energy, your thinking, your minds. Yeah. Thanks heaps for that. I also wanna thank all the people that helped fund the podcast. I’m particularly grateful to Creative New Zealand. I’m grateful to Toi Poneke, who provide a community art space. We can rent and record the podcasts. I wanted to thank Unity Books in Wellington who allowed us to broadcast.

Pip Adam (1m 56s): Is it the right word – podcast? Some of the events that took place there. So thank you very much. Oh, and of course the biggest, thank you. Well, maybe not the biggest thank you, but thank you also to everyone who listened to the podcast and thanks to everyone who got in touch its always lovely to hear it from you. Yeah. I’m sitting here by myself and my room with the window open and it all sometimes feels a little strange, but thank you so much to people that contacted me and yeah, long may it lasts. The third and final thing I wanted to talk about is that in 2021, I’m going to try something new with a podcast.

Pip Adam (2m 36s): I’m creating a year-long series of podcasts centered around elements of storytelling. I’m producing four seasons throughout the year, each focused on a particular element. The first is on Place. The second is on Plot. The third is on Point and the fourth is on Character, which I now realized I could have called ‘People’ and had the sort of a quadruple ‘P’, but I didn’t do that, so I will stick with ‘Character’. In this series a selection of folk will be asked to provide an object to prompt a discussion about one of these elements. Oh, there goes to the countdown truck. So a poet might provide an image to talk about setting and a novelist, a poem to discuss character and a graphic novelists might have insights into alternate plot structures.

Pip Adam (3m 19s): As well as these people who create work in writing or for the page, I’m also going to be talking to people who perhaps create art in different spaces and how these, perhaps, literary elements affect or don’t affect or how they think about them in their own work. The Elements Series begins later this month, with the first of six episodes discussing Place. In this season will be talking around and about how we set or position our work. I’m imagining that we’ll probably also be offering some writing exercises at the end of the episodes.

Pip Adam (4m 4s): You could use these as a bit of a writing prompt. Yeah. Anyway, however you want to use them, use them that way. So yeah. So the series is also made with the help of Copyright Licensing New Zealand contestable funding so thank you CLNZ. The money makes it possible for me to pay the guests, which I’m very grateful for it. And also a smaller amount of the money that goes into some of the costs of producing the podcast and a small amount goes towards paying me for some of the time that I take to produce the podcast. So, I’m very, very grateful to Copyright Licensing New Zealand.

Pip Adam (4m 45s): Thank you very much. I think that’s the three things I wanted to talk to you about. Yeah. Thanks for listening. And I look forward to seeing you later in January, when we we’re going to be having a chat about Place

Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about ‘Train Dreams’ by Denis Johnson

Dan Kois (Image by Alia Smith)

In this episode I talk to writer, editor and podcaster Dan Kois

Dan’s latest book is How to be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together

We talk about Denis Johnson’s 2011 novella, Train Dreams

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith

In this episode I talk to singer, teacher and poet Caitlin Smith

We talk about two works:

‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop which you can listen to here

And ‘Another Goodbye’ which is the last track on the new album, You Have Reached Your Destination by Brave Caitlin Smith’s Imaginary Band

You can hear a live version of this song here

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Announcing the Elements Series Better off Read

Announcing the Elements series, four seasons throughout the year, each focused on a particular element: Place, Plot, Point and Character.  https://better-read.com/2021/01/03/announcing-the-elements-series/
  1. Announcing the Elements Series
  2. Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson
  3. Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith
  4. Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington
  5. Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington

Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington

This episode is a recording of a lunchtime event held at Unity Books in Wellington on 14 October 2020.

I’m really grateful to Eamonn Marra who made this recording and let me publish it here.

Eamonn and Murdoch both published books recently. Eamonn’s book is 2000ft Above Worry Level and Murdoch’s book is Rat King Landlord

Dr Elinor Chisolm is a qualitative and historical researcher with a particular interest in housing, urban form, power and the social determinants of health. Her current research projects focus on mixed-tenure redevelopment, experiences of eviction and forced moves, and the impact of Healthy Housing Initiatives.

Thank you so much Unity Books and everyone who came along.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Announcing the Elements Series Better off Read

Announcing the Elements series, four seasons throughout the year, each focused on a particular element: Place, Plot, Point and Character.  https://better-read.com/2021/01/03/announcing-the-elements-series/
  1. Announcing the Elements Series
  2. Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson
  3. Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith
  4. Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington
  5. Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington

Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington

This episode is a recording of a lunchtime event held at Unity Books in Wellington on 23 September 2020.

Brannavan and I both published books recently. We talked about Brannavan’s book Sprigs and my book Nothing to See

We talked to the amazing Kirsten McDougall

Thank you so much Unity Books and everyone who came along.

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here:

Announcing the Elements Series Better off Read

Announcing the Elements series, four seasons throughout the year, each focused on a particular element: Place, Plot, Point and Character.  https://better-read.com/2021/01/03/announcing-the-elements-series/
  1. Announcing the Elements Series
  2. Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson
  3. Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith
  4. Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington
  5. Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington

Ep 82: Sound Series 10 – Showcase with Sudha Rao

This is the final of our ten-part Sound Series where I talk to writers and artists about their work in relation to sounds they have chosen.

In this episode we get to hear responses from Sudha Rao to some of the exercises. I also talk to Sudha Rao about sound and her writing. I’m very grateful to Sudha for letting us play some of her work.

Sudha is appearing with some other amazing writers in Show Ponies: The Return at this year’s Verb Festival in Whānganui a Tara.

Sudha Rao

In these podcasts we often talk about a lot of music. I’ve set up a Spotify playlist that captures some of the songs we talk about:

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here

Made with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

Ep 81: Sound Series 9 – Cassandra Barnett and Luke Buda

This is the ninth of our ten-part Sound Series where I talk to writers and artists about their work in relation to sounds they have chosen.

In this episode I talk to Cassandra Barnett and Luke Buda.

Cassandra chose this late-night, early-morning recording:

Luke chose the noise of a lawnmower:

In these podcasts we often talk about a lot of music. I’ve set up a Spotify playlist that captures some of the songs we talk about:

Exercise:

Maybe you’d like to record yourself from another room. Speaking or calling a poem you love.

Set up your recorder in one room and then move yourself to another room and call out your work.

Exercise Showcase

At the end of this series I’m going to make an episode showcasing the responses to these exercises. Maybe you would be willing to share your exercises for this showcase.

The deadline for submitting audio is Thursday 24 September.

There is a list of all the previous exercises here

You can leave your recordings or links to recordings in the comments below.

You can also email me them to me at: betterreadnz@gmail.com

If your sound files are big you can share a Google Drive link or use a service like WeTranfer

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here

Announcing the Elements Series Better off Read

Announcing the Elements series, four seasons throughout the year, each focused on a particular element: Place, Plot, Point and Character.  https://better-read.com/2021/01/03/announcing-the-elements-series/
  1. Announcing the Elements Series
  2. Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson
  3. Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith
  4. Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington
  5. Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington

Made with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

Ep 80: Sound Series 8 – Anna Smaill and David Long

This is the eighth of our ten-part Sound Series where I talk to writers and artists about their work in relation to sounds they have chosen.

In this episode I talk to David Long and Anna Smaill.

David chose a piece of music he wrote ‘Gasmasks’. This piece was written for a Douglas Wright show ‘Rapt’. You can see video here:

Anna chose the Second Movement of Brahms – Violin sonata N°1. You can listen here:

In these podcasts we often talk about a lot of music. I’ve set up a Spotify playlist that captures some of the songs we talk about:

Exercise:

Maybe you’d like to compose while you watch something.

Choose a 1 minute section of a film, TV show or Tik Tok. And compose as you watch it into your recorder.

Exercise Showcase

At the end of this series I’m going to make an episode showcasing the responses to these exercises. Maybe you would be willing to share your exercises for this showcase.

The deadline for submitting audio is Thursday 24 September.

There is a list of all the previous exercises here

You can leave your recordings or links to recordings in the comments below.

You can also email me them to me at: betterreadnz@gmail.com

If your sound files are big you can share a Google Drive link or use a service like WeTranfer

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here

Made with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

Sound Series – The Exercises

For the final episode of the Sound Series I’m hoping to put together a showcase of work created in response to the exercises I’ve been offering throughout the series.

I’d love to receive your work by Thursday 24 September

You can send your responses to me at:

betterreadnz@gmail.com

Or if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me here.

If none of the exercises appeal, you could also send a recording of you reading a piece of your own work that you think is interesting in relation to sound.

Please see all the exercises below:

Sound Series 1 – James Woods and Nick Ascroft Exercise:

We talk quite a lot about rhyme in this discussion.

So, the exercise is simply this – turn on your recorder, say the line:

‘I listened to a band called Flipper’

And see how long you can go rhyming words with ‘Flipper’. Don’t forget about half-rhymes and don’t be afraid to change the end sound completely if it feels right. The idea is to try and keep composing for 2 minutes.

Sound Series 2 – Ruby Solly and Chris Tse Exercise:

This is an exercise where you compose in situ.

Take your recorder – it can be your phone – to a noisy place.

Turn your recorder on and respond to the sounds around you in spoken words.

It might take the form of a conversation with the noises in the environment you are in. Or the noises may form a backing track to your words.

Sound Series 3 – Cooki Aimee M and Eamonn Marra Exercise:

We talked a bit in this episode about sound that are ‘difficult’ or ‘uncomfortable’.

So, this exercise is about discomforting sounds and is pretty straight forward.

Find a sound that is hard to listen to.

Play it over headphones while you speak for 45 seconds into a recorder. It might work quite well if you have it loud enough so you can’t hear your voice.

The title of this work is the sound you listened to.

Sound Series 4 – Sinead Overbye and Charlotte Forrester Exercise:

What’s the most beautiful word in the world?

Maybe you’d like to take a minute or two to write down words, word combinations or sentences that you think are beautiful.

Then you might like to record these.

You may like to miss out the step of writing down and try composing beautiful sounds out loud and on the fly.

Sound Series 5 – Brannavan Gnanalingam and Tokerau Wilson Exercise:

This is a free styling exercise.

Play either Tokerau or Brannavan’s sound in headphones and record yourself composing along to it.

That simple. What happens when you have rain or ripping paper as a back beat?

Sound Series 6 – Carl Shuker and Simon Sweetman Exercise:

We talk a bit about writing about music in this episode.

So, take a song you like.

Now writer or speak for 3 minutes without using any words from the song – so, no lyrics and not the title.

Sound Series 7 – Kerry Ann Lee and Jackson Nieuwland Exercise:

I love the idea of using something wrong.

How about trying to make a poem out of noises that are not words.

Maybe you could get together several objects that make noise – placing a cup, tapping something, unscrewing a lid.

Write your poem in sound.

Announcing the Elements Series Better off Read

Announcing the Elements series, four seasons throughout the year, each focused on a particular element: Place, Plot, Point and Character.  https://better-read.com/2021/01/03/announcing-the-elements-series/
  1. Announcing the Elements Series
  2. Ep 86: Dan Kois talks to Pip Adam about 'Train Dreams' by Denis Johnson
  3. Ep 85: Caitlin Smith talks to Pip Adam about ‘Shoulder Charge’ by Jesca Hoop and ‘Another Goodbye’ by Caitlin Smith
  4. Ep 84: Renter Writes – Eamonn Marra and Murdoch Stephens talk to Dr Elinor Chisholm at Unity Books Wellington
  5. Ep 83: Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam talk to Kirsten McDougall at Unity Books Wellington

Ep 79: Sound Series 7 – Kerry Ann Lee and Jackson Nieuwland

This is the seventh of our ten-part Sound Series where I talk to writers and artists about their work in relation to sounds they have chosen.

In this episode I talk to Kerry Ann Lee and Jackson Nieuwland.

Kerry Ann chose a recording she made in Mexico.

Jackson provided this mystery sound.

In these podcasts we often talk about a lot of music. I’ve set up a Spotify playlist that captures some of the songs we talk about:

Exercise:

I love the idea of using something wrong.

How about trying to make a poem out of noises that are not words.

Maybe you could get together several objects that make noise – placing a cup, tapping something, unscrewing a lid.

Write your poem in sound.

Exercise Showcase

At the end of this series I’m going to make an episode showcasing the responses to these exercises. Maybe you would be willing to share your exercises for this showcase.

You can leave your recordings or links to recordings in the comments below.

You can also email me them to me at: betterreadnz@gmail.com

If your sound files are big you can share a Google Drive link or use a service like WeTranfer

Better off Read is available on iTunes and Spotify and most podcasting apps.

Better off Read is also available on PodBean where you can subscribe by clicking here

Or you can listen to it here

Made with the support of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa