To Create, Consume, and Be Consumed: #FridayReads

That phrase content consumed strikes me as on the crude side when it comes to reading a work of art created by a writer or watching a film that is the vision of a director. However, I’m going to share some of the content I’ve consumed and want to consume as the beginning of a conversation with you all about some of the good stuff you have watched, read, or listened to. My lists are below and I hope you’ll add some of what you have watched, listened to, or read in the comments section at the bottom of this page!

I hope to make this a regular Torg Stories post.

Torg Stories, podcast, writing, Bill Torgerson, This American Life, Longform, The Ringer, SI Media Podcast

the podcast app on my iPhone

Content I listened to, watched, or read…

  • “The Fix is In” on This American Life podcast. About price fixing.  It was the Matt Damon movie called The Informant. Didn’t see that one but thinking about watching it. Hard to fit movies in these days unless they are 8 and 10 year old girl appropriate.
  • Longform podcast “The Really Big One” podcast. About the imminent earthquake in the Northwest. After listening to this, I also read Kathryn Schulz’s New Yorker article of the same title. Click here to read that.
  • Graeme Simson’s novel The Rosie Project. A researcher who probably has a degree of Asperger’s Syndrome devises a grand plan to find a wife that involves passing out questionnaires to women at parties. Hilarity ensues!  I highly recommend and thanks to my friend Katie for sending it my way!
  • I’m reading The French Broad by Wilma Dykeman as I begin a writing and film project something along the lines of “On the French Broad.” If that’s too broad (pun intended) then maybe “Asheville on The French Broad”? I hope to take a look at who is on the river, how I might navigate it with my family, and the political and social issues that surround the water. While reading this book published in 1955, I have learned to think more complexly about where men fought during the Civil War in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee, AND I learned a really interesting story about how Dr. Mitchell lost his life on the mountain that now bears his name.

I want to read, listen to, or watch…

  • Kathryn Schulz’s book Being Wrong and maybe watch her accompanying TED Talk. Given the number of views the talk has, looks like I’ll be about the last one to see this one.
  • Rob Sheffield’s book On Bowie. I read the first 20 pages while my family browsed in the local bookstore. I skipped ahead and read the last ten, AND I’m still going to buy this book and read it all again. I really loved Sheffield’s book Love is a Mix Tape, and I liked Talking to Girls About Duran Duran and Turn Around Bright Eyes about singing karaoke. I like Rob Sheffield’s writing almost as much as I like Nick Hornby’s writing. I also often suggest the fill in the blank “On ________________” to students who can’t think of a title. For example “On Being a Father to Girls” or “Notes On My First Trip to Madison Square Garden.”
  • I can’t wait to watch Lorne Michaels on Jerry Seinfeld’s web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. One of my fantasies for myself is to be a sort of Lorne Michaels of Asheville in putting together a local version of SNL.

 

And finally, what I’m working on…

  • I’m 9,000 words into an essay about my experience participating in what is called The 48 Hour Film Project for the third straight year in Asheville.
  • I’m planning to reshoot a few scenes, hopefully in the next week, to clean up the Torg Stories short film, “Captain Ice Cream.”
  • I’ve scheduled an interview with a representative of MountainTrue and a man who is the French Broad Riverkeeper about issues that surround the river in Asheville. This is the beginning of work that I hope will lead to a writing and film project about The French Broad and the people who use
  • I taped an interview for an upcoming Torg Stories podcast with Peter Gregutt. I met Peter when he worked with me as an editor on a piece published in Asheville’s Mountain Xpress titled “How Christopher Mello Sows Peace and Community in his West Asheville Garden.”  When I learned Peter had climbed volcanoes in Guatemala, trekked the Himalayas, and spontaneously took a boat to Africa, I wanted to get him on the podcast. I was interested in his time in New York City studying English at Colombia, that he’d spent decades as an editor, and grabbed hold of the phrase Armpit Traveller as a title for a travel themed collection he’d written.

 

In the comments section below, let me know what you’ve read, watched, or listened to that I should take a look at. Thanks for joining the conversation!

 

 

Life in Asheville: First Time on the French Broad River

Okay, it wasn’t our first time on The French Broad, but it was the first time we were on the water in our new-to-us used raft.

On this trip, we put the boat in at Bent Creek River Park across from The North Carolina Arboretum, and got out of the river at Hominy Creek River Park. I forgot to time the trip. Next time, I hope to be able to provide a “time on the river” statistic!

Bent Creek River Park, Hominy Creek River Park, whitewater rafting, outdoors, things to do, Asheville, French Broad River, kayak, tube rentals, Hominy Creek, North Carolina Arboretum,

Raft Face Down on the Van

***

The oars were in high demand. Note to self: bring one for everyone on the next trip.

cj mans the oar

CJ on the Oar

***

This stretch of river does take you past the Biltmore House.

The Biltmore Estate, Bent Creek River Park, Hominy Creek River Park, whitewater rafting, outdoors, things to do, Asheville, French Broad River, kayak, tube rentals, Hominy Creek, North Carolina Arboretum,

The Biltmore House from The French Broad River

***

Turned out, our used raft had a slow leak in the floor. After about two hours on the river, our feet were in a couple inches of water. We stopped in a shallow edge of the river, turned the boat over, and took time out to jump for a picture. Later, we figured out we have four small holes in the floor. We have attempted a crude fix and look forward to seeing how it works.

river jump

River Jump

***

To remember for next time:

  • time how long the trip takes
  • take pictures of the put in and take out
  • take pictures of more highlights
  • bring carabiners, hook dry sacks to rings on raft
  • oars for everyone
  • we don’t need our towels

Any requests for the report on our next trip?

Owning Your Own Business: Writing and Social Media

Torg Stories Podcast / Recorded on Saturday, June 11, 2016.

Today’s episode is with entrepreneur and business owner Georg Efird. George is my plumber, and I’ve been impressed with his savvy use of social media in order to grow his business, Blue Planet Plumbing in Asheville, North Carolina.

small business, social media marketing, writing, composition, First Year Writing, William Torgerson

Georg and Miranda, owners of Blue Planet Plumbing

My primary interest in Georg’s work is related to the First Year Writing courses I teach at St. John’s University. Because students HAVE to take my course, I’m always trying to make sure what we do in class is relevant to the lives the students live outside of class. This means much of the writing we do is in digital spaces, and I’m always on the lookout for people outside the university who do a lot of writing so I can use their work as examples for the students.

Most impressive to me about Georg’s online accomplishments are the 215 reviews–he calls this customer feedback–posted on Google with an average rating of 5/5. Georg is obviously a savvy negotiator of digital spaces and does the kind of multimodal writing that makes use of images, links, color, and pictures.

small business, Asheville, Blue Planet Plumbing, Asheville

Georg on the job for Blue Planet

When Georg was seventeen years old, he had his first child and found himself working at a fast food restaurant trying to support a family when a friend invited him to tag along to an interview to be a plumber’s apprentice. Georg’s friend coached him up to say the following during the interview:

I have zero experience, but I am a hard worker, and I am reliable.

The advice worked and Georg was hired as a plumber’s apprentice.

 

Blue Planet Plumbing, Asheville, small business, social media marketing

 

Pro tip from Georg’s first days as a plumber:  a 1978 LTD won’t support 1,800 pounds of concrete.

Thanks to Georg for joining us on the Torg Stories podcast.

Thanks to you for visiting the website and listening to the podcast!