Show Notes

featured image for season 3

Episode 029: A New Hope

Happy belated second birthday to the podcast! It’s been a wild ride.

A mini-sode to hold you over in anticipation of season 3. And a freshened up logo to celebrate this new era. I hope you enjoy it!

https://soundcloud.com/writeropolis/episode029/

Well, well, well. We meet again. You may be wondering about the unnaturally long hiatus and why I was gone with nary a goodbye. The grief remains raw, but my father – the OG superhero in my life – passed away in April of 2022, the year I recorded this brief mini-sode.

Sometimes it feels like I’ve been screaming into the void with this podcast but podcasting is another outlet for my creativity. I refuse to be boxed in. But I am sorry that I didn’t say anything sooner, but I needed this time away to process my feelings and to find the path for me to become a human being again. Which – to be honest – I don’t think I’ve processed his passing at all. It doesn’t seem real.

And life really doesn’t stop for grief, does it?

I was grieving for our world before Covid, and then I found myself in the precarious world of balancing freelance work while providing at-home hospice care for my dad alongside my Ma.

In an effort to kind of find myself and to get away from my grief, I took a poetry class through the City of Las Vegas with our former poet laureate Vogue Robinson this past winter. It helped me commit some of my jumbled feelings on paper about everything going on in my life at the time. I’m grateful to Vogue for spending her time with me. At the end of our class, I participated in our city’s storySLAM presentation that she moderated with the theme, Home, this past March.

I started a new job not long after God called my dad home. It’s a completely different field than I usually write for. But I’ve learned a lot in the short time that I’ve been there. I know it’s beginning to influence my normal writing and editing. And that’s never a bad thing!

Oh, and Covid got me a few weeks after we buried my dad. It’s like, can I just have some normalcy, please?

But wait, there’s more! The spoken word poem I performed for storySLAM was part of my submission package for the 2022 Anaphora Arts Writing Residency. I didn’t think I had a chance but I was earnest about why I felt I deserved a spot this year. In short, I’m not where I want to be with my art. I ended up earning a scholarship residency for poetry. There have been signs my whole life that I should’ve been a poet. So I’m embracing that. I’ll always write short fiction but poetry probably should’ve been the medium I went with in the first place.

So here we are, at season 3 of Raconteuse Radio.

I’m going to start the new episodes next week, I promise. It’ll be a mix of poetry and fiction again, words that I’ve squirreled away for years. And don’t forget I’m always looking to chat with my fellow creatives in the industry and the wizards behind the screen, so submit your pitch if you’re interested in being on a tiny but mighty podcast.

And I wanna thank everybody who has been waiting in the wings for me and supporting me quietly from your own corners of the world, it means so, so much to me.

Thank you, and I’ll see you guys next week!

Music: Autumntime.


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featured-season2

Episode 028: My First Time

Guilliean reads her creative non-fiction piece of the same name. Stream it and read along with the text!

Music: Casbah from Music Sesame.

The first time I had a transformative bowl of killer ramen was the day after my first date with my boyfriend. Being American, all I knew was Maruchan. However, my genetic disposition for heart disease put the swift kibosh on that. But, at its core, I knew ramen was soup. I was raised on soups and stews. I could get on board with that. My handsome date advised adding black garlic oil to whatever ramen bowl I chose that day. I didn’t know what he meant at the time, but I implicitly trusted him.

The restaurant was a scant five-minute drive from my house. Inside, he ushers me into what I came to learn is an authentic down-home ramen joint. Well, as down-home as you can get in Southwest Las Vegas. I was nervous for several reasons. First, it was still 100+ degrees, as was typical of an early September in our desert hamlet, so why were we pursuing piping hot broth at one in the afternoon? Second, I wanted to impress him with my chopstick skills, having charmed him with my clumsy wiles. Finally, I wanted to attempt to impress him enough to continue being in my life.

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After the requisite small talk and further recommendations on how to personalize my bowl, I chose Tonkotsu broth, original level spice, and the black garlic oil to complement the chashu pork, fried garlic, kikurage, bamboo shoots, green chives, ground pork, sesame oil, and shredded black pepper. I learned that day that ramen isn’t a meal that you’re supposed to savor; you’re supposed to slurp it down and move on. I ate every last morsel, drinking the last of the now lukewarm broth to get my money’s worth.

That bowl of ramen set me on the path of delectable righteousness that I strive for today. I developed my signature bowl consisting of thick noodles, Tonkotsu broth, black garlic oil, chives, a dash of soy sauce, a scoop of fresh garlic, with a hard-boiled egg, pork chashu, as well as fresh corn and tofu, as my toppings. This judgment came after many months of trying different types of broth and toppings at several restaurants. I chase this high every time we eat ramen. My encumbered brain clears as the broth cures the ails in my body. I feel complete as the ladle chimes against the ceramic bowl, and the muddled clink of the disposable chopsticks lay to rest against my battle-scarred paper napkin.

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I will never not desire a bowl of authentic ramen if the opportunity is there. A San Francisco summer is more appealing than a Vegas summer when enjoying hot and fresh ramen. But the outside weather never trumps good food. My inner dowsing rod aims straight for the meal that completes me. My pursuit of disposable comestibles is who I am. I will try anything once. The chefs come and go, the toppings may change, but my lust for ramen will never perish.


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featured-season2

Episode 027: Effra

The joy of pushing myself to learn how to edit sound bites as part of this one-woman show has me playing around with A.I. again. I wrote this “script” as a one-off extra credit creative writing piece for my Intro to Economics class for undergrad. I polished it up and realized how difficult it is to delineate between quotes from sources and the text that the “announcer” reads. This was fun! I hope you enjoy the final edit. Don’t forget to share your feedback with me directly, or use RateThisPodcast.com to let the world know what you think! Stream it and read along with the text!

Music: As Time Passes from ZapSplat.

News Flash: ‘The nation of Effra has announced that they will now be using pigs as money’

The Eastern European nation of Effra has announced the passing of legislation to use pigs as their national currency. When asked, farmer Bashkim Karafil wholeheartedly agreed with the government’s decision. Our British correspondent Brian Jones reports,

“We do not have much need for paper money. But pigs, we have a lot of. Perfect sense. When the Soviets were here, we used cigarettes and American money. Now we are more stable; we have much livestock. So to use pigs is very smart.”

A blip in the stable of the Soviet Union’s communist regime, Effra was a country that boasted untapped potential and quickly established itself as an independent nation. They suffered from hyperinflation for nearly a decade after the fall of the Soviet Union. Their main export in the late 1980s and early 1990s was their talent, as young people chose to move abroad for better opportunities. Their agricultural identity is strong, made of ethnic Albanians and converted Muslims escaping religious persecutions in the neighboring countries of Crosshead and Defford.

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During the mid-to-late 1990s, Effra put their fragile economy on the right track when Canadian computer hardware company, BRF Computers Inc., bought 65% of the land in the 1000 sq. mile nation. This shocking move shook up the environmental community worldwide. Amid an international environmental demonstration in 2001, BRF proved that they would help improve living and working conditions for most of the remaining residents through their corporate eminent domain pilot program.

Residents of the tiny nation chose to stay and work in BRF’s manufacturing factories or used the money to support their relocations abroad. Our English correspondent Amy Waterman spoke to resident Andrea Bahran Chah.

“We were very scared when BRF came to Effra. But now my eldest daughters Anneeka and Eleanor work as receptionists for the factory. We are thrilled with our lives now.”

Like Bahran Chah, the majority of their residents chose to stay. Most families had roots starting several generations back and were not keen on uprooting their lifestyle.

BRF spokesman David Vannucci said that the company was “admittedly surprised” by the decision of their host country’s lawmakers to convert to pigs as currency, but agreed to honor it.

“BRF has been committed from day one to the economic stability of Effra. If that means paying for our workers’ paychecks using pigs, then we’re all in.”

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Effra’s lawmakers ran a public awareness campaign for residents to relinquish their paper and coin currency to the Bank of Effra to ensure maximum coverage of their announcement. The translated advertising slogan stated, “Trade your money for your pig now.”

Amy Waterman spoke to councilman Ronald Keuning who noted,

“The promotional campaign has already had an enormous effect. More than 45% of Effranites have voluntarily turned in their legal tender by our last tally. Our deadline for conversion isn’t for another month, so we’re on the right track. We hope to use the money to import more pigs to cover the costs it will take to reorganize the monetary system.”

Effra’s decision to change the provenance of their currency has caught the eye of several international think tanks. For example, the Micronesian island of Yap uses large limestone wheels as their primary provenance of coin and has done so for 2,000 years.

Polly Flowers of the U.S.-based Lang Foundation said Monday that:

“Obviously in America, we couldn’t do that. But maybe it will encourage other small countries to rethink and perhaps revamp their currency system.”

This breaking news brief is brought to you by Writeropolis Industries: creativity by design. Thank you for listening! I’m your host, Matthew Polachek with WRTR: Stories That Count, From People Who Care. See you next time!

Bibliography

Mankiw, N. Gregory. Principles of Macroeconomics. 3rd ed. Mason, Ohio: South-western, 1975.

McAleer, Phelim. “An inconvenient truth: Environmentalists lie.” Las Vegas Review-Journal 25 October 2006: 11B.

Wikipedia. 20 Oct. 2006. 3 Nov. 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Save_the_Greenback>.


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featured-season2

Episode 026: Cathouse

Guilliean reads her short story of the same name, based on the true story of her overhearing a neighbor complaining to their HOA about the existence of such a domicile in their family-friendly neighborhood. Stream it and read along with the text!

Soundscape provided by ZapSplat.

The fried chicken clucked in Mr. Jackson’s stomach as he strode away from his forever home. He got five doors down before the day’s heat shot through his ragged trainers. His mind tumbled towards one of his favorite memories: his military career. His last duty station was Nellis. He and Mrs. Jackson decided to remain in Vegas, and it hadn’t been too bad except for the House. It had been almost eleven years to the day of his retirement from the Air Force. They could have a buffet every day of the week. Mrs. Jackson went enough with him to have a spirited opinion about the best one in town. She doesn’t play favorites, but the dining comps from Red Rock tell a different story. Mr. Jackson choked on the impoverished, desert air. It’s 6:49 at night. Why the hell was it still gross outside? He asked himself that question every spring as the temperature ramped up. Same as it ever was.

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Their shabby gated neighborhood boasted drooping Mexican palms and squat rosemary hedges. Crumbling cement blocks held up much better than the wood fencing back East in this unforgiving environment. It was home. He passed by an Asian with pigtails, walking a curly black lap dog. The dog sniffed as he walked past. Filipina, Thai? Neither neighbor acknowledged the other. Mr. Jackson tried to remember when her family moved in. A couple of years ago? Yesterday? Five weeks back? The city’s transient nature taught him never to get too close to a neighbor. It wasn’t worth it to know them. His heart skipped a beat. He was coming up to the House now. It was a cathouse. He was sure of it. He glared up at the facade of biscuit-colored, HOA-approved paint with its dark red accents. What a loud color, he thought. The House had no blooming flowers out front; no one else did either. The Nevada bedrock was plentiful and unyielding.

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There were two luxury cars in the driveway: one silver BMW and one white Lexus. Both California plates. Mr. Jackson was confident those weren’t the same cars as yesterday or the day before or the day before that. He had every intention to stop and take a picture for evidence. A tall, white man in sunglasses and a Golden State Warriors hat strode out of the pecan brown front door. Mr. Jackson’s heart launched into the harsh evening sky. His frivolous smartphone burned in his pocket. Yet he forgot everything his grandson Nick had told him. Mr. Jackson kept his pace and strode around the corner. He got his exercise for the day; he already heard the delight in Dr. Patel’s voice. If only the procurement of evidence could prove that this man was a John. He’d lived here for eleven years, and he’d be damned if it hadn’t been a den for iniquity since. Not on his watch.


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featured-season2

Episode 025: She

I decided to test out an A.I. named Salli to read my story this week. Listen and let me know what you think. Stream it and read along with the text!

Music: Kyoto Sunset from ZapSplat.

It was the same room as yesterday. The day before that, the day before that. One single-paned window provided natural light. The sounds of a neural concept of the natural world She had plugged into her mind contributed background music. No furniture. Amenities were nonexistent. Does having a toilet count as an amenity? It wasn’t like She needed it. She wasn’t even sure where it ended. Is this a life She was living? She couldn’t be sure. What was confidence? What was hate? Were these feelings? Was She aware of that? Beyond who She was, what was She? She would touch her skin, different spots, and She knew it was skin. That’s what She knew.

She walked a lot. It took 847 steps to make a perfect walk of the room. How She discovered numbers was weird too. She knew. If She was on Earth, She knew it was the third planet from the sun. She remembered the rhyme that identified the planets from elementary school. My very educated mother just sent us nine pizzas. But Pluto wasn’t a planet anymore. Right? How did She know that? What year did that happen? Was it recent, or was it a historical event? She knew what seasons were: summer, winter, spring, and autumn. They happened outside her window. It helped pass the time to identify the changing weather patterns outside.

The scars on her hands had healed a long time ago. The blood had dried. It was at least one season ago. The scar tissue was a gentle reminder of her imprisonment because that is what this was. There was no other explanation. She wondered what She did to cause this. Who was holding her captive? Or did She submit herself to a scientific experiment? This was a cruel joke, a test designed by some mad god. She wasn’t on Earth anymore, She was in another realm.

Several seasons passed before her answers became more questions. Finally, she decided to test the god in charge of her science project. Instead of sleeping – or feigning some semblance of sleep – She forced herself to stay awake. Twenty-four hours with no artificial stimulation. She could do it without much stress on her functions if they were things that needed monitoring. Twenty-four became forty-eight; forty-eight became seventy-two. Her body functioned well enough to have no physical damage to her body despite the lack of sustenance. On her ninety-sixth hour of being awake, the season changed from spring to summer.

The Raconteuse Radio podcast is 100% listener-supported. Are you ready to contribute your opinion on the podcast’s future? Guilliean is dying to know what she can do to make it better! Take the audience survey today to help her understand what areas she needs to grow in. Access it now at raconteuseradio.rocks/survey.

She looked up into the sky and knew it was Death Valley. How could She read the sky like that? This must be a continuation of the experiment. The barren environment became a room with no walls; 847 steps put her back at the beginning. She felt the coarse desert sand burning her skin. She examined her feet; She saw no blisters, suffered no damaged skin. The sun went down as She walked step 505 to the salt flats. She looked up and saw the sign demarcating the sea level. She walked away from the signage discovering the perfect spot to leave her mark in the salt. There were no sticks to use as a writing utensil; the rocks were too small to assist. Her foot hovered over the new deposit of salt. What was her name? It concerned her that god had given her consciousness but no personal details. Or He did, and She forgot. What name did She want? She could have any name. God must have given her a word to use. She racked her brain and wrote SHE. It was a good name.

Step 322 brought her to the famous sailing stones of her outdoor prison. She watched as they crawled across the sand, unaided by outside forces. Seeing them defy Newton’s first law of motion amused her. It was a chessboard, and He played against the Devil for someone’s soul. She smiled at the thought that the prize was probably her soul. Well then, who was winning? And if they were winning, what would happen to her story? Why would they choose her eternal soul as the bounty?

Step 825 brought her to a tiny town like you would see in an old Western. John Wayne. Duke. He was her favorite movie star. Her eyes examined the clapboard signs weathered by the elements. They announced the mercantile, the hotel, the saloon. She went into the pub, and the doors squeaked on their hinges to announce her arrival. The tavern was empty, as She knew it would be. Her eyes traveled upwards to the top shelf of the well-stocked bar. There was a dusty bottle of whiskey. If this were a Western, they would have served this bottle to its high-falutin’ patrons long ago. She nodded to the nonexistent barman and scaled the back counter to help herself to the whiskey. She tasted nothing. No familiar burn inching its way down her throat, no warmth in her belly. She poured the contents straight down her gullet. She was unable to perceive her stomach distend from the first drink She had had since her incarceration. Her knee-jerk reaction was to cry and curse her jailer, but instead, She smiled. There wasn’t much left to arouse an emotional response.

You should hire Guilliean Pacheco of Writeropolis Industries to support your creative project. She’s a freelance writer and editor with almost 20 years of experience in hospitality and web hosting. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing. She’s familiar with WordPress, HTML, and CSS. Imagine affordable, high-quality service done right the first time. Visit writeropolis.com/appointments to sign up for a free 15-minute consultation.

Step 444 brought her to the hotel. Inside, She found a grand piano in the lobby area. Her fingers hovered over the keys, and She began to play Für Elise. She was unsure how She knew the song, but her fingers did, and She went along with it. The song ended where it did. Her mind’s eye wandered. She took stock of what She was and what She was retaining. She remembered that she was the prize of an unnamed higher power; she decided that she needed to declare a winner. She was fully prepared to grant unconditional surrender. Knowledge of such a catastrophic event would free her from her quarantine. She was confident of that. She spoke the first words She knew from her lips in the tongue that was in her head: “you win.” She waited. No burning bush, no parting of a sea, no apocalyptic ending.

She made her way to the hotel front desk. In her peripheral vision, She saw the hotel safe. It’s irresistible to her. Ice shot through her veins. The safe was designed by a great evil that She wasn’t supposed to know. The worn numbers “7” and “2” register in her mind. She instinctively pressed the keys three times: 72-72-72. The handle on the face of the safe turned to the right with her machinations. How did She know to touch it that way? The door unsealed as though it were the vault to a great secret. Inside was an envelope bearing her name and a set of keys. She’s confused. The first time She encountered the feeling since the beginning of her consciousness. She left the envelope on the counter and exited the building. Something was reaching out to her, but She did not know what.


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