PodCastle Episode 54: The Dreaming Wind

by Jeffrey Ford.
Read by Rajan Khanna and Paul Tevis (of Have Games, Will Travel).

Its name, The Dreaming Wind, was more indicative than you might at first believe. What is a dream, but a state founded enough upon the every day to be believable to the sleeping mind and yet also a place wherein anything at all might and often does happen. Tomes of wonders, testaments of melancholic horrors, wrought by the gale had been recorded, but I’ll merely recount some of the things I, myself, had been privy to in the years I’d witnessed the phenomenon.

The human body seemed its favorite play thing, and in reaction to its weird catalyst I’d seen flesh turn every color in the rainbow, melt and reform into different shapes so that a head swelled to the size of a pumpkin or legs stretched to lift their owner above the house tops. Tongues split or turned to knives and eyes shot flame, swirled like pin wheels, popped, or became mirrors to reflect the thing that I’d become – once a salamander man with Ibis head, once a bronze statue of the moon . In my wedding year, my wife Lyda’s long hair took on a mind and life of its own, tresses grabbing cups from a cupboard and smashing them upon the floor. Mayor Meersch ran down Gossin Street the year I was ten with his rear end upon his shoulders and muffled shouts issuing from the back of his trousers.

Rated R. Contains some imagery that might disturb the unprepared. Also, some readers may wish to protect their children from prevailing surrealism.

Due to a mix-up at PodCastle, two narrations were acquired from this story from two of our favorite narrators — Paul Tevis and Rajan Khanna. Readers are invited to listen to either, or to listen to both and compare. Enjoy!

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8 Responses so far

  1. 1

    “The Dreaming Wind” at Podcastle : RajanKhanna.com said,

    May 27, 2009 @ 10:19 am

    […] So, to my surprise, you can now hear my reading of “The Dreaming Wind” (along with Paul’s) over at Podcastle. […]

  2. 2

    Travis said,

    May 27, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

    Thank you for posting both readings of this story! Years ago, when I c0llected comic books, I used to wish there would be some special story that they would give to several of my favorite artists so I could see how each would portray the events in their own unique fashion. While I never got to see that in comics, now I have heard it on Podcastle! If you were get multiple readings of stories (more intentionally) again in the future, I for one would cheer you on.

    I must say that given the story itself, I prefer Rajan Khanna’s low-key (maybe even melancholy) telling. The character from whose viewpoint the story is given describes himself as old, so Paul’s narration seemed a bit too… energetic. That said, I truly enjoyed the story, enough to have listened to it twice already, and enjoyed both readings. At the end, when we find out the old woman’s house was cleaned out, after her passing, “for a young couple who was moving into town,” am I the only person who thought for a second that would be the wizard’s daughter & her new lover because the events from the play were real?

  3. 3

    scatterbrain said,

    May 27, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

    A short synopsis of this story’s events: [[tumbleweed blown by the Dreaming Wind]].

    Nothing happens in this story, and its attempts to grab me were comparable to that of a mouse trying to grab a whale as it falls down an 89 degree angle.

  4. 4

    Jennifer said,

    May 27, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

    I dunno. I’m not a person who likes dreams, at all, and I had to relisten to this in order to comprehend it. And yet, I can’t deny that having a story that talks about the ABSENCE of something weird happening, and how the townsfolk deal with it, well, it turns out to be pretty interesting after all. I rather liked how the kids put on a show.

  5. 5

    Read Down The Wind » paultevis.com said,

    May 29, 2009 @ 2:23 am

    […] of narrating a story for PodCastle (or their big sister, Escape Pod). This week they released The Dreaming Wind by Jeffrey Ford, which I recorded for them back in December. I almost forgotten about it, and it turns out I […]

  6. 6

    RedEyedGhost said,

    June 3, 2009 @ 2:38 am

    I listened to Rajan Khanna’s version and can only describe it as goosebumpingly good.

    I’m going to have to check out Paul Tevis’s version as well.

  7. 7

    Natasha said,

    June 24, 2009 @ 9:26 am

    Still not sure what I think of this story. There were some turns of phrase that I thought were awful, and they pulled me right out of the story (“unremitting permanence” comes to mind. Unremitting is basically what permanence means). I thought the writing was trying too hard at some points, it just sounded pretentious, like the author was trying and failing to be poetic.

    Still, I liked a lot of the imagery, I liked the story told at the end to explain the wind, and I really liked the idea of examining how the absence of regularity (even the regularity of something feared) could effect a town. I think we all know the feeling of waiting, and that sense of being constantly on edge – to the point of exhaustion – was well explored.

  8. 8

    The Night Jeffrey Ford Read in Greenpoint : RajanKhanna.com said,

    January 31, 2011 @ 10:50 am

    […] here, here, and here. Also here. Or you can hear me reading two of his stories at Podcastle – The Dreaming Wind and The Annals of […]

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