Buddha In A Teacup (audio cd)
Forty-two stories comprise the book of Buddha In A Teacup. I have now recorded all forty-two stories, but when I made this first of my spoken word CDs, I had to choose ten of the tales to fit on a single CD. The technology of audio recordings has advanced light years since 2003, and now the entire collection will fit on a single disc (for that shrinking number of people who still want hard copy, as it were, rather than downloading whatever it is they wish to hear.)
Every time I read one of my stories aloud, I am a different person than I was when last I read the story. Thus, no two renditions are ever quite the same, and sometimes they are radically different. Proof of this comes when I attempt to improve a phrase or a sentence by reading that segment anew. Matching the tone and tempo of the original reading is always more difficult than I expect it will be, which is a good reason to make the first take as flawless as possible. The less fixes one has to make, the better the final result.
In 1980, I wrote and directed and acted in a fifteen-minute movie with my brother Steve as my co-star. We had a tiny budget for Bums at A Grave, and since this was in the days before digital anything, every scene we shot with our sixteen-millimeter movie camera was a costly proposition. Nevertheless, we decided to shoot at least two takes of the most important scenes. After one particularly good first take, my brother asked me if I wanted him to make any adjustments to his performance. I replied, “Do it exactly the same way, and it’s bound to be different.”
The first story in both the book and on this CD of Buddha In A Teacup is entitled “The Beggar”. I wrote the story longhand in a single burst, set the pages aside for a few days, and then got the story out to see what I had written. Because I do not plan my stories in advance, but rather write down the words as they erupt, I had only a vague notion of what I had created. The story broke me open and I had a good long cry, which is apparently the nearly universal reaction to this tale.