Audioshort #2: “Apron Strings”

January 16th, 2013
by John Bowker

Download the MP3 here: Apron Strings

Way back in 2010, I started fiddling with some of my older short stories to see how they might work as audio. The first, “Pairings”, is available here and while I’ve never heard a peep from anyone about it it still gets downloaded thirty or forty times a month by various bots selling knockoff Prada bags and Viagra. So in a way it’s already achieved a greater immortality than it did with its original publication, the hard copies of which were likely long ago recycled.

For the second story, I chose “Apron Strings,” another one of those pieces that fell in that spot where I live, not genre enough for SF, too genre for the lit crowd. Eventually it found a home at Aoife’s Kiss which is a print magazine and therefore nifty in the way of all  tangible creative artifacts; it’s a nice change to actually hold the published piece in your hands instead of squinting at the pixels on screen.  Unfortunately,  like many print magazines that satisfaction is tempered by somewhat limited distribution and a short half-life.  Even those treasured few people who might have wanted to read the story were unlikely to have found it.


So it seemed perfect for the spoken word treatment but there was still one snag. Like a lot of my stories, it was written in the first person from the perspective of female narrator. In this case, a teenager. Not to knock my vocal chops but like Harvey Fierstein, I know my limits.

Instead, I turned to local writer, statistical analyst, and all-around polymath Melinda Thielbar, who generously donated her time and voice to the project. We never really discussed the piece or rehearsed; I gave her the script and a few days later she sent me her takes in email.  I had no idea what to expect until I opened them in the sound editor but even now I’m still a little in awe of how well Melinda nailed the voice of a character who had previously only lived in my head.   She took the story and ran with it, making it vastly better than it had any right to be.

Listen for yourself:

If you’re interested, the legal details are available under the cut:

Creative Commons License

The story “Apron Strings” was written by John Bowker and originally published in the March 2008 issue of Aoife’s Kiss. The Apron Strings MP3 was written and engineered by John Bowker and read by Melinda Thielbar. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Opening and closing music was sampled and remixed from “Afterglow (Toss of the Dice)”by duckett available on with a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 3.0 license (CC BY-NC 3.0), and “Electric_School_Bell” recorded by John Sauter, available on with a Creative Commons Attribution Unported 3.0 license.

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