Listen Up!

« previous episode | next episode »

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Strong needs are met—and not met—in a diverse trio of tales.

The characters in the three stories presented on this program just want satisfaction—an apology for an old wrong; a good office chair; fly balls at dusk to keep the world away.  Strong feelings lie just under the surface in these very different contemporary tales.

In our first story, Brock Clarke’s, “The Apology,” two displaced, unemployed Americans want an apology from the Catholic Church for abuse they suffered as children, and wonder how much they have let an old wrong define them.   Brock Clarke’s include a novel with the fanciful title, An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England.  His latest book, Exley, is due to be published in October 2010.  The reader of “The Apology” is stage and screen star Stephen Lang.  

We had fun creating a SELECTED SHORTS evening focused on workplace shenanigans, office comedy and drama. Who gets the corner office, and who rates a fancy comfortable desk chair can be matters of great import in the white collar working world.  Joshua Ferris’s story “The Chairs” is funny cautionary tale.  It is read by the singer and actress Ivy Austin.

We complete this program with George Garrett’s “Feeling Good, Feeling Fine.”  George Garrett, who died in 2008, was the Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia, and his many books include Empty Bed Blues and Double Vision.  In this story, “Feeling Good, Feeling Fine,” Garrett pulls off the deft and amazing narrative feat of letting us know what will happen to his characters in the future, while capturing a memorable portrait of them at a present moment, when they cannot know what is coming, and we do.  This poignant and unsettling short story is read for us by Tony-Award winner B.D. Wong.


"The Apology” by Brock Clarke, read by Stephen Lang

“The Chairs” by Joshua Ferris, read by Ivy Austin 

“Feeling Good, Feeling Fine” by George Garrett, read by B.D. Wong


The musical interlude is “Fossils ” by Camille Saint Saens.  The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

 We’re interested in your response to these programs.  Please comment on this site or visit



Ivy Austin, Stephen Lang and B.D. Wong

Comments [1]


What a joy to hear a story from Brock Clarke. It has been nearly 7 years since I took writing classes with Brock and I have so fallen in love with his work in the interim. I've often considered recommending the works of my university writing professors Michael Griffith and Brock who were so different in teaching style and personality yet they ensured that there was a teacher for all learning types.

Brock is harsh but fair in his critiques but not as harsh in his grading and used to smoke like an angry Frenchman (maybe he still does).

His short stories are funny, heartbreaking, absurd and shockingly comforting on so many different levels that it was a sheer joy to hear one of his pieces on your program.

Oct. 05 2010 10:44 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.