Mr. Ron’s Basement, for those unlucky enough not to know it and fortunate enough to have it all before them, is one of the earliest and best literary podcasts. Its mission is simple: to read forgotten short stories. The Basement is mostly full of funny tales, but there are also a good many serious ones. Occasionally Mr. Ron branches into novels. He adorns each podcast with good public domain or podcast-safe music, and discusses his unknown authors’ biographies. Mostly, though, he appears to have a lot of fun.
Maria Lectrix is not, to be honest, a podcast in what has come to be the full meaning of the word. I use podcasting as a method of distribution, not an artform; what I provide is something like a serialized audiobook service. That’s not a bad thing, but that’s all it is.
Mr. Ron has been creating something quite a bit more artistic, civilized, and difficult.
My thousandth segment was a mere matter of endurance. His thousandth episode will be a milepost of rare beauty and joy. Be sure to be there.
To Mr. Ron’s Basement, and to Mr. Ron! Ars longa!
Maria Lectrix's podcast can be found at http://marialectrix.wordpress.com/.
Pete Anderson, known as Pete Lit, from Chicago, writes fine fiction, and writes about fiction on his blog (http://www.petelit.com/), and has commented on Mister Ron's Basement a couple of times in the past. His comment on The Best of Mister Ron's Basement three CD set was music to my eyes anyway:
I was quite pleased to see that the collection includes Ade's "The Fable of the Author Who Was Sorry for What He Did to Willie", which is quite possibly the most laugh-out-loud-funny story I've ever heard, in terms of both Ade's brilliant writing and Evry's impeccable delivery.
Debby Applegate, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Most Famous Man in America (a gripping and remarkable book about Henry Ward Beecher -- a must read!) wrote to me:
"In the field of pure nonsense I know nothing funnier than "Brick" Pomeroy's introduction to his book, 'Nonsense.' It is too long to quote, but the desired effect is gained by keeping up the nonsense at great length."
So here is the introduction he mentions, from 1868. I think it's a scream:
My father determined to bind me out as an apprentice to a fine old gentleman whose daughter was in love with a young man who lived with his father down the river which in the spring time was so swollen by the rains that it was important not to cross it except in a skiff tied to a buttonwood tree by a chain which cost five dollars at the hardware store on the corner of the street in the village where each Sabbath morning the minister told his many congregation which would have been larger had it not been for the habit so many people had of staying away from all places of good instruction without which not a single person in the village would have been safe for a moment from the members of a band of desperadoes whose retreat was in the bowels of a huge mountain, on whose healthy sides the birds sang all the day long as if to remind the weary passer-by that in all well-regulated families there exists a cause for the effect be it great like the late war which was a fearful struggle on both sides for the original position held by the covered wagon of my father.
Who can wonder at the infatuation of the youth when he saw his own true love in the power of the Indian whose scalping-knife hung suspended from a tree over the grave where a small picket fence had been erected by a boy who saw the fire burst forth devouring in an hour the fruit of a lifetime of toil which unrewarded leaves no recompense to strengthen the soul of man as he wars with evils that beset the path which led to the trysting-tree which had by this time been cut down to make room for a large hotel where the sound of revelry by night was heard booming over the still waters of the lake as the moon shone down upon the sailor-boy stood on a burning deck!
At this moment the breeching gave way and the horse plunged over the precipice, which at this point ran nearly a thousand cubic feet into the cave where the serpent had taken refuge from the coming storm which threatened to burst forth and destroy the entire plan of the temple on which if the workmen had been employed to save the child ere it struck, the bottom of the well down which the bucket descended bringing up the purest ice-water rivalling the alabaster neck of the wounded sufferer whose death happened to plunge the entire city in mourning.
So, yep, they don't write 'em like that anymore. To which I say (and maybe a few thousand other listeners), too bad they don't.
Anyway, thanks for the review, Greg and Clea. I wish you success with your podcast. I found it fun to listen too, and I do appreciate the positive and negative comments you made, and I do urge all my listeners to check out their show. Greg did mention that he might want to get back to commenting about The Basement when he's heard 150 or so episodes. I hope he does get that far.
Of course, comments are always welcome here in the blog, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.