By Way of Introduction
Brothers and Sisters in Pants,
Now that you’ve seen me in some, but not all, of my hats, you are at a great advantage in this conversation. You know, for instance, that I spend an inordinate amount of time looking to my right. I thank you for not abusing this power.
When I was a kid (small boy, not young goat), there was a woman, among many I’m sure, who lived on Bridge Street. Row homes in Philadelphia. As far as I know, she existed only in the summer evening twilight, sitting on her stretch of sidewalk in a nylon-webbed aluminum lawn chair. She had white hair and wore a blue and white gingham dress at a time when women weren’t wearing dresses anymore. On the armrest of that chair, a transistor radio, AM, AA-powered, Harry Kalas calling the Phillies game.
Maybe she used to sit there with her husband. Or her wife. Although then, a wife couldn’t have a wife in PA. Let’s imagine otherwise. Maybe her husband or wife used to sit there alone with a warmed can of Schlitz, her futzing in the house, her playing bridge over on Pratt, her visiting her mother in a nursing home. Or maybe they both listened to the Phils. Or maybe it was always just her and that was plenty.
But every time you turned that corner playing tag or freedom or hide and go seek, you’d slow down, hoping to catch just one call. Please please please no Dietz & Watson commercial. You prayed for Michael Jack Schmidt—good things were happening when Harry got formal. You’d settle though, for even a ball or a strike, utterly out of context, meaningless and forgotten once you turned into the alley. Just to hear Harry call one pitch. Just to know she was there, still and again.
On summer nights when I’m lucky, I still get to listen to the Phillies. On a phone now, an app, not a radio. Harry’s no longer around and I’m not sitting, who’s got the time. Busying myself, one more thing. On some nights, it catches me, this feeling: it’s all right in front of me if I could only see it.
Someday, I’d like to own a ping pong table, and then, a room to put it in. When I can no longer swing a paddle, I’d like a generous bowl of burnt sugar ice cream. And maybe a sense of ease in my own body. I appreciate you checking things out here, and I hope you enjoy the stories.
If you should find my pants, please do send them along. Winter is coming.
P.S. (or What are we doing here?)
Here’s what interests us: profound acts of mercy, lightening of psychic loads, indiscriminate use of the royal we, states of grace (should they exist).
We’re not sure what to call what we’re doing here, these experiments with stories. Story experiences? Participatory fiction? Meh.
We’re interested in a new invitation in, some way to build a meaningful community around stories. Some day, we’d like to translate all of this into something that can directly impact the places we live, but we don’t have that kind of vision yet.
For now, we’ll settle for, hopefully, making you laugh or moving you or pushing you to reach out to someone you haven’t seen in awhile.
If you’re wondering what you’re doing here, oh man, so are we, but no matter. Enjoy.