When Quotation Marks Just Don’t Cut It

“It’s Not About The Fish” juxtaposes trauma, rage, and violence with the surreal order of a gurgling river.

It’s been years since I’ve gone fishing. But hear a line plop in water, the rapid click of a reel, and I feel like I’m there. That’s what sound does.

Yes, other things—the smell of the river, the view of dark trees lining open sky—make fishing tranquil. But to me, it’s the sound—what you hear while you silently wait for a bite—that centers and calms.

Jessica Murri sent us this story about military vets, and in our Second Ear edit session, we tried to make that sound sing. We trimmed narration and music, re-structured to clarify the narrative, added ambient sound and slimmed the character list down from four to three.

It’s Not About The Fish” juxtaposes trauma, rage, and violence with the surreal order of a gurgling river. I hope you take the time to listen.

BEFORE:

AFTER:

_________________________________

Producer Jessica Murri
“I have a bit of a love affair with radio,” says Boise Weekly reporter Jessica Murri.

Here’s Jessica:

I have a bit of a love affair with radio going. Even though my day job is staff writer at the Boise Weekly (in little known about but really amazing Boise, Idaho), I still miss radio.

It’s my favorite medium for telling stories because it’s one of the truest ways to put a person in a place. For this story about a few military vets going fly fishing, I couldn’t resist bringing along my recorder.

I wrote this story for print as well, but I couldn’t make the reader really hear how George Nickel told me about being in an armed standoff with the Boise Police Department. I couldn’t capture the way James Donaldson’s voice dropped when he said, “It’s still hard to accept the fact that I don’t have my legs.” Sometimes quotation marks just don’t cut it.

In print, I couldn’t capture the way James Donaldson’s voice dropped when he said, “It’s still hard to accept the fact that I don’t have my legs.” Sometimes quotation marks just don’t cut it.

Jake Thacker
Jake Thacker (photo by Jessica Murri)

Turning on my recorder for four hours really takes the listener to the Boise River, I hope. You can say “the birds chirping” all you want, but sometimes it’s just better to be there.

I don’t get to do much radio working in print, so I end up doing these little side projects for myself, just for fun, and then they sit on my desktop and no one ever hears them. Well, Erika and Genevieve wanted to! And after, like, 50,000 emails back and forth, they made my little radio project something more than a, well, little radio project.

I’m really glad I got such professional help on this story. I hope it makes it to a wider audience so I can share a piece of Idaho life.

Explore Jessica Murri’s other work here. You can submit a story to Second Ear during the first five days of every month. Follow #SecondEar on Twitter to hear the latest and share your thoughts.

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