How do you choose readings for the podcast?

At most live GRTTWaK events, between 15-20 courageous readers get on stage. Of those, 5 or 6 will end up in a podcast episode. We always end up with more great material that can possibly fit in a 30-minute podcast episode.

If you don’t end up in the podcast, don’t take it personally. GRTTWaK is first and foremost a live event. It’s a room full of people getting together to have fun.

We don’t include readings in the podcast because they’re “good.” Nor do we exclude readings because they’re “bad.” Instead, we recognize that the live show and podcast are different experiences, and try to make each the very best it can be.

The difference between live events and the podcast

Some readings work really well live, but don’t work well on tape. And vice versa. Often, there’s a “you had to be there” moment that simply can’t be captured in an audio-only format.

When we put together a half-hour episode of the show, we’re looking for several things: diversity, resonance, empathy, and the possibility for reflection.

Within each podcast episode, we want as much diversity as possible. That means including a mix of different kinds of readers (genders, ages, backgrounds, etc.) and a mix of different kinds of readings (journal entries, poetry, short stories, etc.). We’re also listening for tonal range. A lot of what people share at GRTTWaK is funny, but we also want to make room for the bittersweet or difficult parts of growing up.

Everyone’s different, and everyone has their own unique experience growing up. Yes we’re more alike than we realize. This is the push/pull of universality and specificity. Part of GRTTWaK’s goal is to promote empathy, so we try to choose readings that highlight common experiences, while staying rooted in the reader’s unique situation. In other words, we look for the universal in the specific.

The sociologist Fred Davis said that nostalgia works on multiple levels. “Simple nostalgia” is the the most basic form of nostalgia. You feel it. It’s visceral. Our live events are all about simple nostalgia.

The next level (“reflexive nostaltgia”) is about reflecting on the past and questioning your history. “Did I really feel that way? If I went back in time, would things appear the way I remember them?” We often ask readers to call in after the show to reflect on the difference between then and now. When our podcast is working best, it includes these moments of reflection.

We’re so grateful to all our readers, and everything we do (right down to the smallest podcast edit) is an attempt to honour their courage and generosity.