Tag Archives: Turning Tumbleweeds

Turning Tumbleweeds: What Really Happened

Now that the radio show is broadcast, here’s the script of what really happened! I only wrote the bare minimum of what happened so everyone could put their own perspectives into what their characters interpret to have occurred. So this is the real thing, no twists or interpretations!

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The day started as usual. The saloon opened and Johnny was as chipper as ever. Agnus, one of the barkeeps, came to work on time, as usual. Danny, the pianist, came in a few minutes late. After around 6 PM, the place was crowded. Talie, a saloon regular; Bonnie Sue, a friend of Talie’s; and Sally and Riza, friends and competitors of Johnny’s, came in for the latter half of the evening. Johnny didn’t have a moment to himself most of the time, though he made sure to visit and chat with all of his patrons, friends, and regulars. He played a few games and shared a few drinks, but no one thought he seemed troubled at all during the night.

Except for one incident. The town drunk, Two-Shot Harry, had come in and gotten a bit too wild. Johnny had tried to make sure he didn’t drink too much, but some thought they saw Harry with a bottle or two of something already in his jacket. After about an hour of his drinking, he began to shout and eventually broke a barstool on which someone was sitting. Johnny and a few of his friends helped get Harry out of the saloon. One of the sheriffs’ wives went out and brought her husband to arrest Harry. He was in jail all night. Outside of that problem, the evening went smoothly.

Once the saloon was closing, Jenna and Danny helped clean up, chatted a bit, and left Johnny alone. The next morning, Johnny was found dead, shot twice in the chest.

The sheriffs’ wives eventually discover that a woman named Bell had been with Harry for the evening while he was in the saloon. Once Harry had gotten kicked out, she heard Johnny say a few things about the drunk that she didn’t like to his friends and employees. Johnny said that he was going to ban Harry from the saloon and have him put away the next time he tried to come in. That night, when everyone was gone, she returned under the guise of leaving something in the saloon so Johnny would let her in. She then shot him without a word of warning and left.

Catching up with an old friend

It’s been months since Johnny died. Outside of work, I’ve kept to myself a bit. I admit, it hit me harder than it probably should have. Still, I’m trying to do better. I kept telling everyone that I’m leaving soon, that I won’t be around much longer. But maybe that isn’t such a good idea. I travel around a lot, sure, but Tombstone has been the longest I’ve been in any town since I came out West. I do like it here. Maybe I will leave eventually, but not as soon as I thought.

Anyway, I decided to catch up with some old friends instead of hiding away like a hermit. My old friend Talie agreed to come over for dinner, so I’m preparing a meal. Steak and potatoes, something I think she’ll enjoy. It’s a favorite out here, since half the town has cattle of their own. Not as expensive as where I’m from, either, which is nice.

Talie is one hell of a cowgirl, always keeps you in check. She makes sure everyone is taken care of, especially recently. I haven’t reached out to her much, but I caught her the other night while she was making her rounds in Riza’s saloon, my new place of employment. She accepted my offer (after joking about whether I even knew how to cook) and we agreed to tonight at 6. She’s got some things on the ranch to attend to, but I suspect she’ll be on time.

I set the table while the food is cooking, making sure my little house is fairly tidy. I take care of myself better than I do my surroundings, and it certainly doesn’t help that I hardly ever have anyone around to keep me in check. Hopefully it looks clean enough to house a guest. The dining room is spotless, anyway. I even have some tea waiting to be brewed for after dinner. This is the most organized I have ever been.

Talie gets here at six o’ clock sharp and thanks me for inviting her over. She gets comfortable and we sit down for the meal. She compliments the food (but part of me wonders if she’s just too nice to tell me it’s no good) and we get to talking. True to her nature, she gets right on asking how I’m doing, just in the way that she does with everyone – kind, really concerned about your wellbeing. I tell her I’m fine and apologize for being so withdrawn lately. She asks if I still plan on leaving, and if I need anything. I tell her I’ll be around a while longer, and she brightens up, grins, tells me that we have to go drinking sometime if that’s the case. Next night I’m off, she makes me promise to come and hang out with the Gals again. They were planning on some cards sometime, too. I’m terrible at cards, but she knows it and asks me to play with them anyway. I agree to it and I can’t help but smile. Talie knows how to make anyone’s day brighter. It’s just part of her nature.

I make the tea after we clear off the plates and she tells me all about the ranch, how the new calf is doing, what her plans are for the summer festivals. She always wins at least one or two awards for her cattle each year, but she still puts in her all to make sure her cows and bulls look prime for the shows. I tell her I heard rumors that she was going to be part of the rodeo this year, but she waves me off and I just smile. I don’t know if she would, but I know she’d be good at it.

Soon enough, the tea goes with the daylight and she has to leave. A cowgirl’s work is never over, she says, and I get her hat and coat for her. Along with our farewells, she makes me promise again to join her next Thursday for a night out with the Gals. I tell her I’ll be there, no doubt about it. She smiles, gets on her horse, and waves goodbye as she rides off.

With friends like her, it’s hard to imagine leaving this town.

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I wrote this story in accordance with an assignment in which you imagine having dinner with an old friend. For this week, we have to include other characters into our works, so I thought I would continue the story after the radio show (again) and have an old friend of Danny’s come over for dinner after the events of “Turning Tumbleweeds”. Talie is a cool character, and definitely one who I think would be a good dinner guest. Hopefully I portrayed her well!

I love writing, so making this story wasn’t difficult. The most difficult part is judging how a completely different character might respond to the prompts I give throughout the story without losing the personality of the character at all. I really enjoy writing collaborative stories, so the challenge was fun to take on anyway.

P.S. Be sure to listen to the radio show tomorrow (Thursday) to find out what happened! We worked really hard on this show and I’m very excited to have everyone listen in, so get ready!

Back to the Western

From: sallythecowgirl@gmail.com

To: dannythepianist@gmail.com

Subject: Where are they now?

Howdy Danny,

It’s Sally here on this new thing called a computer. I’m sending you this e-mail because I don’t know where the heck I am. I ended up in the north in a place called Virginia and I have been told the year is 2016. Remember that crazy scientist who kept saying he was going “back to the future”?! Well, I somehow ended up on his crazy train and am now in 2016! I thought I saw you the other day at a bar I went to but it just happened to be a stranger. I hope you get this at some point in time. How is everyone back in Tombstone? Especially after Johnny’s passing, I knw that took a toll on most of the town. Keep me updated!

  • Sally Winderson

 

From: dannythepianist@gmail.com

To: sallythecowgirl@gmail.com

Subject: Re: Where are they now?

Hello, Sally!

How on earth did you get to 2016? I received your note from some bird that flew in, and it’s sitting here now I think waiting for a response. I don’t know how you could possibly be writing to me, but it’s good to hear from you. I wasn’t sure where you’d gone out of nowhere! People have been asking, too. They’re mighty worried about losing you so soon after Johnny. Here’s hoping you have a quick journey back.

Everyone is quiet here, maybe a bit more chipper than when you left, but it’s still almost unbearable. I started working for Riza recently, but I think I’m going to head out of town soon. Her saloon is lovely, but just not the same as before. Hopefully the town brightens up again in time for the local festivals, but it’s a long way until then.

Anyway, Riza’s been busy as ever. I don’t know what it is about you saloon types but you don’t seem to sit still. She was kind to let me work for her after everything. I hear Bonnie Sue and Agnus and the sheriffs officially locked up the one who got Johnny. Still hard to believe it was that crazy woman all along. Talie comes by pretty often to make sure we are taken care of, always offering help. She’s been asking for you like crazy, too. I’ll be glad to give her something next time she comes around!

Will you be back soon? Are you with that crazy scientist? What is 2016 like? (I keep checking to see if you really went that far forward; part of me still thinks you’re pulling my leg, Sally. This is crazy.)

Best wishes,

Danny

 

From: sallythecowgirl@gmail.com

To: dannythepianist@gmail.com

Subject: Where are they now?

Danny,

I am most definitely in 2016. There are all these fancy automobiles on roads covered with what looks like hard, black soot. And like I said before, I’m on this fancy letter-writing device called a computer. I don’t understand how these are getting to you by bird but the “internet” (I still don’t understand what it is) is really big so who knows! They also have small versions called cell phones, not quite sure how those work either… But besides all of that, last I remember of Tombstone was being at the bar with my good friend Meg. She had just returned from a trip to the North the day after Johnny passed. We went to the bar when I didn’t have to work and decided to celebrate her birthday late. All I remember was Riza pouring more shots for me and Meg trying to get me to go back north with her. I kept refusing because Tombstone is my home! Last I remember was a train at the most random hour carrying me off into the night with the conductor being some man with wild, grey hair and Meg asleep next to me. Since I arrived to this year I haven’t been able to find either of them. I do have a lead as to where I could find them though. There’s a bar, just happens to be down the street from this little house I am staying in. It’s called the Conductor. I’m hoping to find the conductor of the train I ended up on and see if he can take me home. It’s a shame to hear you wanting to leave! I do hope you’ll stay until the festivals are over! And tell Tallie I went on a trip to clear my mind and that I’ll be back soon! I’ll send more information as I figure out what to do!

  • Sally

 

From: dannythepianist@gmail.com

To: sallythecowgirl@gmail.com

Subject: Re: Where are they now?

Dear Sally,

I know you’re not one to spin stories, but I am still rather perplexed. I suppose you really did get my letter in your computer if you actually responded. Well, I decided to stick around until we figure out what happened to you at least, maybe until the festivals. My next destination hasn’t been quite mapped out yet, and I haven’t really told anyone else about it, either, so we will see.

Talie seems satisfied with your answer, although she seemed upset that you were sending me letters and not her, but I don’t know what I could do for her on that front. At any rate, I’ve been looking around here as well to see if there’s any way to find out what happened. I think I saw that scientist in Riza’s saloon the other night, talking to someone else about his crazy ideas, but I didn’t get the chance to approach him before he was gone and away. He seems to only exist within the saloons, which is unfortunate — lately the only time I’ve been in one is for work. It’s my night off, though, so I’m going to see if I can find that sneaky fellow. I might also ask around the train station if there’s anything about trains passing at unscheduled hours or anything similarly peculiar. I will let you know as soon as I can if something comes up. In the meantime, please let me know if you find anything out yourself.

Best wishes,

Danny

 

From: sallythecowgirl@gmail.com

To: dannythepianist@gmail.com

Subject: Where are they now?

Danny,

Good news!!! I found Meg at a nearby store. She knows where the crazy conductor is and we’re going to meet him tonight to see if he can get us home. Turns out she had one too many of Riza’s shots and mistook his experiment train for her train to Boston! I hopefully will be home in the next two days, if not, please split up all of my stuff in Tombstone between all the Gals of the West. I’m hoping the end result is not that and that I will arrive safely at the station on the 10th platform but at this point I don’t have a clue. I will write you right before we leave so you know when to expect me home!

  • Sally

 

From: dannythepianist@gmail.com

To: sallythecowgirl@gmail.com

Subject: Re: Where are they now?

Dear Sally,

I’m glad to hear this! I hadn’t found anything on my end, so I had been extremely worried. I was just about to write you and find something else when your letter came. Everyone will be happy to know you will be returning soon and in good health. I will let everyone know tonight of your plans! Please let me know if there is anything you need on my end for your travels. I hope everything goes well. I’m sure you will have some wonderful stories to tell upon your return, too. I simply cannot wait to hear them!

Best wishes,

Danny

 

From: sallythecowgirl@gmail.com

To: dannythepianist@gmail.com

Subject: Where are they now?

Danny,

Well, I’m leaving for home today. The crazy conductor, his name is Doc, he promised to take us back in his “time traveling train”. It sounds crazy but if you go to the 10th platform at the train station we should arrive around 10:30 a.m. I promise I’m not making this up! If for some reason I’m not back by high noon call it quits and just divvy all my stuff up. Hope to see you real soon. Also when I get back, remind me to never had Riza’s shots anymore.

  • Sally

 

From: dannythepianist@gmail.com

To: sallythecowgirl@gmail.com

Subject: Re: Where are they now?

Dear Sally,

I’m not sure if you’ll get this letter, but I hope your return is safe and comfortable! I will be waiting when you return, as will half the town most likely. Hopefully it doesn’t come to divvying up your belongings, but I’ll honor your word. You’ll have to let Riza know that old Shot can’t handle her shots, though. Ha!

See you tomorrow,

Danny

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This letter was written in collaboration with Tierra in accordance with an assignment that asked us to co-write a story via email. The email part was more or less up for interpretation, so we decided to have our two characters email each other. Since we worked together on our radio show, we decided to pick up the story from where the show left off, after the murder. Of course, we had to justify these old-timey westerners using email, so the twist in this story is that Sally, Tierra’s character, got caught on a curious time train that shot her to present-day. While Danny is still in his time, her emails are still reaching him. A new mystery of its own! Will it be resolved?

At any rate, this collaboration was lots of fun. Tierra is a really good partner to work with, and we got the whole assignment done in one day. Then we opted to post the same story onto both of our blogs. So, while it’s the same story, you can read Tierra’s perspective on the making of it here. We used Google Docs instead of email to write the story instead of emailing back and forth (although email was our primary form of communication throughout the process). Hope you enjoyed the final product.

 

Tumbling to the Tune: Progress Week 2

This week my group got a jump start on our work. We had everything from our plot to our segments planned out before break, and today was our deadline for getting our own audio portions sent in to the two who are compiling and editing it all together. It’s in their hands now, but I’m sure they’re going to do great!

I had the pleasure of writing the plot of this whodunnit for our mystery murder show, which turned out to just be a short script outlining the general events of the day. I may publish that after the show is complete, if anyone is interested. Hopefully you guys can guess what happened before the big reveal!

My own personal recording session was a bit more work than I had intended. The talking portion went just fine, but I had decided that I wanted to record my own piano for the background, which was a challenge; I know some chords, but that’s about it. I spent twenty minutes recording the entirety of an improvised piano set and opted to just listen to it and cut it up in Audacity. Roughly two hours later I had some semblance of something that I thought sounded okay in the background of the segment, but I saved an audio file with just my talking in case it wouldn’t work for the show.

If you would like to hear my part of the show right away, I published the piano version of it on Soundcloud. I would wait until the whole show is done, though — gotta watch out for spoilers!

Turning Tumbleweeds Radio Bumper

This assignment’s radio bumper corresponds with my group’s show, Turning Tumbleweeds. The intention in this clip was to sound more like Danny Keys, the character I will be using within the show, so hopefully my voice came across as deep and different enough to be apart from my own.

I found the background music and wind on Freesound and organized the bumper together in Audacity. Up to this point, I feel like I have made significant progress in making effective audio for assignments. Hopefully I can reflect that while creating my part of the radio show!

Piano Lessons

This radio commercial came out of an assignment that requested the creation of a commercial advertising a product we would like others to know about. In order to work this into my group’s radio show, I made a commercial for my character, Danny Keys, whose only real goods and services is his piano-playing. So, I figured who doesn’t like a good piano lesson?

I may have cheated with the audio a bit on this project. Instead of compiling audio from Freesound, I went ahead and used an audio clip from Purple Planet, which has royalty free music available for free download and usage with the appropriate credit. The background music in this commercial is their “Piano Bar” composition, which was too perfect to pass up for this assignment. I would love to be able to make this kind of musical mix at some point, but for now I thought it would just be more productive to use the resources available to me. The composition was layered with the spoken piece in Audacity.

Tumbling Along

This week so far has been full of planning and organizing on the part of my group. We started off by just getting together and trying to work out ideas in a Google Doc, with pages upon pages of ideas and jumbled up thoughts. Once our group was established, we agreed on meeting in the Doc on Tuesday night, since none of our schedules aligned well enough to have an in-person meeting.

The document was cleared out and set to be better organized for the sake of more easily discussing our ideas. Unfortunately, most of us could not make the meeting at the appropriate time, so those who were there came up with the plot of the murder mystery and left it for others to read and comment upon. Once everyone got their ideas out, we agreed on who would compile the audio recordings, how we would split up the narratives, and how we were going to write the story. I came upon the task of writing out a loose script around which our story will take place. The deadline for this story is Friday — enough time to ensure that everyone can mull over their ideas over break before we come back and record.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but so far the story of “Turning Tumbleweeds” is based around the murder of a saloon owner by the name of Johnny. The story will unfold in a series of interviews from those who knew the victim and saw him on the day of the murder, and the wives of the two co-sheriffs collect their narratives in order to find out what really happened. Hopefully all goes well!

In the meantime, all of us are working on radio bumpers and commercials for this week’s assignments in order to get a feel for our characters and voices before the big recording. Mine will come about tomorrow — all I have to do is record and compile the audio now.

Turning Tumbleweeds: Coming Soon

Promo Poster

Here is the promo poster I created for my group’s Western Murder Mystery, “Turning Tumbleweeds”.

A major part of the work that went into this poster was primarily finding a working title for the show itself. I had colored and edited the images and worked out the wording of everything else the day before my group had settled on a title for the show. Once the title was chosen, I had to rearrange the phrases and titles to make it look appealing at all angles. I put special focus into making sure there was enough balance in the color as well as the wording so that the important parts stuck out from a distance, but the whole poster was legible and easy to follow up close.

Personally I’m very excited for the prospect of making this radio show come to life, but we still have lots to work out. The title and poster is only the beginning!