Cowbird

After dropping by the Third Coast International Audio Festival last weekend and missing a presentation about the storytelling platform Cowbird, I decided to check it out myself. It favors short form, vignette-style work, which makes it perfect as a second home for The Decisions Project. It's use of photographs is kind of nice, too. Text incorporation into audio stories is clunky, but Cowbird does allow for written pieces to stand on their own. Given that I did a lot of writing while working on The Decisions Project and never incorporated any of it into the audio series, this is my chance to weld everything back together without dedicating a few weeks to making a site for an old project.

And if you've found your way here because of Cowbird, welcome! You can learn the back story about The Decisions Project here.

Currently, I'm in the midst of another, much larger audio project—The Conversation. It's a year-long conversation about the future between some of America's greatest thinkers. Does that sound naively big? It is. The project is pretty odd and multi-layered, so if you like this kind of stuff, you can find the full description here. I'm posting conversations every week and listener comments can shape how I go about my interviews, so consider yourself invited to jump in.

-Aengus

End of the Line

I took a break from The Decisions Project so I could finish my graduate program, fully intending to return and post a few more stories and some kind of conclusion later. Now, several months down the road, I have reviewed all of the remaining stories and I think 29 episodes is a good place to leave things. A few stories are close to making a 30th episode, but many of them deal with themes that have already been explored and several are nearly perfect but lack one or two critical narrative elements. The important questions are always so obvious in retrospect. The challenge now is to see about getting it out to a broader audience--which is far more intimidating than setting out on a three-month radio project.

Hopefully the project has introduced you to people, experiences, and decisions that you might have otherwise missed. At the same time, I hope it has done justice to the interviewees who shared their stories. It was a fascinating experience for me and, if some of that came through in the final edits, it was worthwhile.

Thanks for listening.

-Aengus

DP/29 - Asking for Help

A veteran of 25 years witnesses a fellow soldier kill an eight year-old girl. Upon returning home, he develops Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and faces a decision about how to cope with his memories. (5:31)



DP/28 - Stepping Up

A man learns that he is a father but, two weeks before his daughter's birth, his paternity is called into question. (5:09)



DP/27 - College and Horses

A woman reflects on her decision to give up equestrianism and go to college. (3:49)


DP/26 - Quitting PhD Program

A man shares his decision to drop out of his PhD program. (2:28)


DP/25 - Cold Feet

A young man proposes to his girlfriend... and then reconsiders. (3:45)


DP/24 - Leaving it All

A man gets in his car and leaves his life behind. (3:15)


DP/23 - Marriage Before Deployment

A single mom decides to marry her best friend before his deployment to Iraq. (3:43)


DP/22 - Accepting Gay Father

A teenage girl talks about learning that her father is gay and her subsequent decision to stay with him. (2:45)


DP/21 - A Job Offer in Afghanistan

A man in his early forties decides to take a job in Afghanistan.
(3:42)


DP/20 - Leaving Kids for a Year

A father decides to take a transcontinental motorcycle trip and leave his children for a year.
(3:28)


DP/19 - Mental Illness in a Parent

A woman shares her decision to stop trying to help her mentally ill mother.
(3:27)


DP/18 - Stand by You

A 21 year-old abandons his carefree bachelor fantasy and reluctantly marries a girl he accidentally impregnated.
(2:24)


DP/17 - Questioning Medical Advice

A man questions the advice of his doctor and decides to stop taking anti-anxiety medication.
(3:25)


DP/16 - Ending a Pregnancy

A woman shares her decision to end a pregnancy.
(3:18)

DP/15 - A Month in Juárez

A recent college graduate receives an unexpected job offer from his uncle: teach English in Ciudad Juárez.
(3:25) 

DP/14 - Severing Ties with Dad

A man reluctantly decides to sever ties with his father.
(4:07)

DP/13 - Separation and Custody

A man decides to leave his unfaithful ex-girlfriend and their daughter.
(3:33)

DP/12 - Using Psychic Power

A woman talks about the decision to train and apply her psychic power.
(2:55)

DP/11 - Giving Up on Justice

A woman decides to cease prosecution of the man who bankrupted her.
(2:47)

DP/10 - The Breakthrough Gig

A musician talks about his decision to skip an audition in Nashville. (3:32)

DP/9 - Responding to Rape

A woman talks about her decision to not physically resist being raped by a friend.
(2:33) 

DP/8 - Lies and Taxes

A woman talks about her decision to honestly file her taxes.
(2:59)

DP/7 - Ending the Match

A professional wrestling referee talks about the split-second decision to end a match, ruin a show, and go off the script.
(3:00) 

DP/6 - Becoming a Street Performer

After losing his family and job, a man decides to become a traveling street performer.
(3:09)

DP/5 - Stop Attending Church

A man discusses his decision to stop attending church.
(2:54)

DP/4 - Letting Go

A mother talks about the decision to place her mentally handicapped daughter in a group home.
(3:28)

DP/3 - Being Alone

A man who is afraid of being alone talks about his decision to solo-hike the Pacific Crest Trail—at night.
(2:30)

DP/2 - Coming Out

A man discusses the decision to accept his homosexuality.
(2:58)

DP/1 - Pressing Charges

Here we go: The Decisions Project.  Episode 1.

A woman talks about her decision to press charges against her daughter.
(6:28)