Neighbors: The Dog Trap, Part Two

Neighbors: The Dog Trap, Part Two
photo courtesy Joel Rice

Joel Rice got the opportunity to ghost-write the memoir of one of his childhood heroes—skateboarding legend Christian Hosoi. But Joel’s experience was an unpleasant one that brought up an old childhood trauma at a skatepark. In this episode, I call Christian to hear his side of the story, and then both Joel and Christian hash out the past on the phone together. And much like the first episode, Joel’s experience with Christian did not go how he hoped it would.

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Neighbors: The Dog Trap, Part One

Neighbors: The Dog Trap, Part One
Photo credit: Eric England

What happens to someone when the thing they love most in the world — skateboarding— is also the source of their greatest wound? When Joel Rice, a naturally bookish kid was younger he wanted nothing more than to be a pro skater like his heroes, Christian Hosoi and Tony Hawk. That dream died the day he hit the “dog trap,” a hazard at a popular skating spot in San Francisco. Falling on his face in front of everyone that afternoon was a major trauma that haunted Joel as he became a prominent skateboarding journalist for ESPN and McSweeney’s. Years later, he got the opportunity to ghostwrite the memoir of his idol, Hosoi. It was a second chance to join the ranks of professional skaters, but it did not go how he hoped.

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Versify #22: Before I Could Give Her The Ring

Photo credit: Mike Voltz
A craving for novelty and excitement is a hallmark of early adulthood. But for Jakob Lewis, host of WPLN’s podcast Neighbors, a summertime quest for new experiences nearly cost him his life. Today, Jakob tells the story of how a thirst for adventure landed him on the front lines of a California wildfire at the age of 20. He shares his experience to poet Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay, who takes his fiery tale and turns it into poetry.


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Versify #21: Saturn Returns By I-40 West

Photo courtesy Brad Wear
After leaving suburban Tennessee for a career in Hollywood when he was just 18, Brad Wear became, in a lot of ways, the picture of LA success. But twenty years later, Brad was struck with a feeling of absence, of being fully out of touch — with himself and his family, from whom he’d been estranged. Brad tells the story about his journey to reconnect and the cost of finding home again to poet Chance Chambers, who takes what he hears and composes an original poem.

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Versify #20: Mercy At The Ryman

Photo credit: Hunter Armistead
For singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier, coming to country music in her 40s was one of many things that made her feel like an industry outsider. Today, Mary speaks with poet Destiny Birdsong about her unconventional entry into the music business, and how an unforgettable performance at the Ryman redefined Mary’s relationship to her music — and to herself. Destiny takes the high notes of their conversation and composes an original poem.


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Versify #19: Thank God For That Judge

Photo courtesy Helen German
Being in love often requires making sacrifices, but for Helen German, the sacrifice was a big one: Finding romance meant losing the approval of her family. Today, Helen relates the details of her life story, from surviving the air raids of World War II to sustaining a 65 year marriage, while managing to hold on to her beliefs. Helen shares her story to poet Bryan Byrdlong, who turns her lifetime of perseverance into poetry.

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Versify #18: Never Forget Your Name, Lyzette

Photo courtesy Lyzette Garza
For Lyzette Garza, learning to embrace her Mexican American heritage has been a lifelong journey. Lyzette speaks with poet Kelley Bell about her formative childhood moments: hearing stories from her dad under the stars, encountering prejudice on a family trip to Colorado, and how those experiences — along with her father’s enduring love of boots — have helped shape Lyzette’s perspective on her culture. And Kelley takes Lyzette’s account and turns it into poetry.

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Neighbors: Red State Mama

Neighbors: Red State Mama
photo courtesy Marlo Mack

Marlo Mack has a young transgender daughter. She met another woman named Debi Jackson who has a very similar parenting story to her own, the only difference is where they live. Marlo lives in a liberal community where she and her transgender daughter are supported. Debi grew up a Southern Baptist conservative in a Red State. This transition has cost her a lot more, than Marlo and her daughter.

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Versify #17: Ending The Game With Sunset

Photo courtesy Paresh Sheth
For most people, living with your parents past your early 20s isn’t something to make a point of bringing up in public. But Paresh Sheth says that living with his mom and dad in a three generation household has deepened his understanding of commitment — especially now that his mother is in the hospital. Paresh shares his story of witnessing the evolution of his parent’s relationship to poet Alicia Marie Brandewie, who takes their struggle, love and change and turns it into poetry.

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