I've met someone else.
This is the first piece I've read of yours (thanks, @alexdobrenko, for the recommendation). I laughed out loud several times. Wouldn't change a thing! Curious what Ben thought about it though. I would listen to your audio stuff. Thanks for such a great read!
Alex! I LOVED this! I’m so happy that you presented both versions here, but I’m not sure if I know how to answer your questions. Here’s why: I’m grappling with audio and text too. From a craft perspective I really learned a lot by listening to the audio version and reading. But maybe that’s too inside baseball, meaning most of your fans just want your amazing stories, not the craft stuff. Trying to put my fan hat on (and I am a fan!) I think I gravitated to the audio version more. That could be because I listen to more books than I read, or it could be that hearing David’s stories was how he really won me over. Or it could be that these stories are meant to be told. I don’t know. But I guess I lean audio. Of course, I’d buy the book too! Shit, this probably isn’t helpful, is it?
On the length question, I tend to think shorter is better. I go long sometimes, but I’m always asking, can I get out earlier? I’ll say this, from the audio version I could tell the crowd was with you, so that version was the right length for that format. But yeah, TikTok is ruining us.
The framing device. I think you need to do both. Sometimes it’s about you and that work is going to take us to these more vulnerable places. I love those pieces! But I don’t know if that’s sustainable for you as a human being. Like, I know it’s not sustainable for me. So I do this too: use myself as a kind of framing device. The funny thing is, I don’t think my readers really notice. By way of example: when I hear a reader tell me I lead a fascinating life, they inevitably cite a story where I’m just a framing device for a chatty Lyft driver or an oddball barista. Thing is, it’s always about you with these kinds of stories even when it isn’t about you. We fall in love with the voice, the perspective, and the vulnerable person at the center of some of the stories, and ultimately, we can’t pull these things apart, and we really don’t want to. Does that make sense?
Again, I just loved all of this! Great job!
Somewhat long time reader first time commenter. I liked the story although I think I've liked some of your others better. The more of your writing the better so longer is good. I personally would not listen to audio. I much prefer reading.
I felt like you were inside my brain sitting on a plane next to that guy. Phew, good to know I'm not the only one with such an active imagination.
I thought the length is just right, I don't care for audio version I prefer to read. I came across your Substack and honestly read the story because it mentioned that you had opened for David Sedaris, whom I've seen live many times. He draws an odd and devoted crowd, and they are so excited and appreciative, I am imagining you had a blast.
Can’t possibly stress how much I enjoyed this.
As someone who’s sound-sensitive some days, it’s really nice to have the option to read the full story. And even though I did not listen, the piece itself really brought out your voice (as well a the difference in Brady’s)!
As for TikTok ruining us . . . Even though you have a good point there, I think back to what a miracle it is that long form anything still exists today . . . and it reminds me that things cycle around, too. By the same token that TikTok’s format has the potential to shorten our attention spans, it also has the potential to make us thirsty for something that invites us in for a quiet moment, a personal chat, and some humor that takes a moment before we catch its full weight.
I’m laughing so hard I may have peed a little 😂
Congrats on openings! I feel ya on the SW flyers. Lots of guys wearing Vuori shorts on the way back to San Diego when I fly 😅
1. Really like this story style. You develop all the characters so well, making it easy to follow along from your perspective/presence in story.
2. Refreshing to get chance to read nowadays. With all the streaming/videos/clips on our phones, I need to be better about reading. Ever try podcast format?
3. Yes on audio. Was fun to hear your Brady accent and internal thoughts.
1. I like this style equally as much as the ones that are more you-focused. I like a variety of things!
2. I only read it, so I think the length is good. I'm not into tiktok
3. I personally wouldn't listen to an audio version, just not my thing
I was with you the whole story, loving every second!
Again, the timing/pacing of your writing is absurdly good. Like you’re letting off little relief valves with every laugh. Really looking forward to reading more of your stuff.
Why did you call her Janine? My name? What? Toothpaste? Qué te pasa? 😄
Loved your article 💕
A beautiful glimpse of real life.
I am a newbie but like having both audio and text - feels more accessible.
Long form forever!!! This rocked
Great piece; I was there--not Janine but maybe behind you. :D