Elise’s Enchanted Expedition (Holiday Podcast)
BY Heidi Wicks
Listen to Elise’s Enchanted Expedition, below:
This fall, for my final course in Memorial University’s Masters of Arts in creative writing program, I did a podcasting class with Lisa Moore.
As we charted through the term, we sped through a gorgeous chaos of writing, voice acting, recording, editing, producing, a crash course in copyright, and most importantly – a reconnection to the intimacy of audio. There is a force behind radio, and behind podcasting, that is more powerful than we realize, I believe. Listening to content, without the distraction of visuals from various-size screens, forces a more concentrated focus, a focus we have lost while dog-paddling amongst tablets and laptops and big-screen home theatres. The mere mass of podcast content in our stratosphere alone is an indication of our amour for this medium and our desire to go back in time, in some capacity.
In our class, we created whole other worlds. Each one of us. And as we listened to each other’s work, and watched the process of how these worlds were created, we learned intimate details of each other’s lives, and we connected as a team. Imagine if this was how the whole world worked?
Listening to people’s stories, appreciating the intimacy of recorded sound and the power of a human voice being injected directly into your brain through an ear bud beckoned me back in time, to my childhood, when I’d fall asleep listening to stories on cassette tape on my little brown Fisher Price cassette player (which had a microphone) every single night. When I plugged the microphone into my iPhone, I thought of how I’d record myself as a child. It was how I worked out my thoughts. My five-year-old daughter, Elise, who is featured in this recording, does the same thing. When she was four, I caught her making videos of herself – recording messages to her future self. Whuuuuut?
I remember listening to eight-tracks my grandfather had made of me as a toddler. Reciting and singing, Mary Had a Little Lamb. He also recorded himself doing recitations of stories, and I was always amazed that they sounded nothing like he did in real life – he inhabited a different existence during those recitations. A shy man; he became free during those recitations. When I heard the recordings of me, as a toddler, years and years later, I experienced a familiar yet surreal connection to a me I’d forgotten about (I was three-years-old in these recordings; younger than any of my real memories). I was quite comforted and amazed to be reacquainted with me at three. Hearing myself at that age was like watching a home movie – only better. More intimate.
From early-on in the semester, a craving more powerful than mine for ketchup chips while I was pregnant infiltrated my soul: I wanted, I needed to capture my own daughter’s chirpy, vibrant, spirited voice on “tape”.
Elise listens to recorded stories at bedtime, just like I did. She’s also exposed to tablets and phones, which quite frankly, turn her into Gollum from Lord of the Rings. When we read books at night, or when we listen to stories on tape, I stop every now and then to quiz her and make sure she’s paying attention.
When she’s older she’ll be tickled pink at being able to hear herself at this age, this level of innocence, carelessness, exuberance, liberty, freedom. She will shine as she listens to her five-year-old self sparkle.
I hope the podcast fascination continues to pick up steam. I believe it could shift our society and our future generations towards better focus, greater empathy, and ultimately – more intimacy. Podcasts can be seeds for connectedness and harmony amongst humans, is what I believe. As Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, we are more equipped than most populations to continue our oral tradition through sound.
I want to thank Lisa Moore for opening our eyes to the infinite possibilities within and outside of the podcasting sphere. I also want to thank her for being the voice of a cockney ghost who lives in Commissariat House in this recording. I am also so grateful for the voice talents (and generosity) of Amy Joy (Bonnie the Fairy from Bonavista), Renetta Ward-Wicks (Sally the Polar Bear from St. Anthony), and Andrew Wicks (the narrator). Thank-you to My Mom, Rhonda Wicks, who is the tickler of the ghost piano ivories in this recording.
And to The Kubasonics – thank you so much for letting me use your most-amazing song, The Neighbour’s Christmas, off your brand spankin’ new holiday album, Winter Carols, available at Fred’s Records and online (this album is seriously so amazing!).
Most of all, I want to thank Elise Ruth Wicks Collingwood, for her brilliance in the title role, and for the bursting, blasting, enchanted light she shoots into the world.
I hope you enjoy Elise’s Enchanted Expedition, and I hope you find your own magic this season!