Story Chairs, a project of artist and writer Tina Hoggatt, is an audio installation featuring the work of 32 writers, musicians and readers. Two chairs feature over an hour of audio each. As the listener sits, audio plays over speakers concealed in the chair cushions. When the listener stands the audio stops, progressing to the next selection as the chair is sat in again.
Featured audio will be accessible online and via STQRY, a smartphone app. Story Chairs audio was recorded and mixed by audio engineer Moe Provencher at Jack Straw Productions in Seattle. JSP supported the creation of the audio through their Artist Assistance Program. The installation, in the newly remodeled lobby of Jack Straw, 4261 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle 98105, will be installed for several months.
The chairs were designed by Tina Hoggatt and Jeffry Mitchell, crafted by Ben Oblas and have upholstery created by Tina and Jeffry. Story Chairs was originally conceived for an exhibit at the Missoula Art Museum in 2008. A special thank you to Michael Helland and Craig Marois for mantic technical support, and to Dana Sullivan for graphics assist.
Listen to the Story Chairs audio and learn more about the writers, readers and musicians who participated in the project.
Kathleen Alcalá grew up surrounded by stories. The youngest daughter of Mexican immigrants, family history was passed on through a form of storytelling she later learned was called Magic Realism. She wrote a story collection and three novels in this style, and a collection of essays that elaborate on the origins of her stories.“Chair Story” was inspired by the second book of Don Quixote, in which Quixote travels around the world on a magic horse. She teaches creative writing at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts.
Learn more about Kathleen
Listen to A Trip Around the World
I am a book artist, letterpress printer and watercolorist.
I write occasionally and slowly.
This particular project, I chose to focus on a story from my youth, when I was even more foolish than I am now.
I was what we called a “Fun Hog”.
Listen to Big Fun
Anne Cunningham works in gaming by day and writes and paints by night. She enjoys writing about herself in the 3rd person and making small, pointless objects out of clay.
Learn more about Anne
Listen to The Chair
Gwen Demombynes is a lighting designer, singer and storyteller. Her great joy is to put food on the table for a gathering of friends and then to begin the conversation.
In addition to her own story, Gwen recorded Current Event for LK Gardner-Griffie
Learn more about Gwen Demombynes
Listen to The Man on the Train
Pamela Sage Dodson lives in the Seattle area. She’s a teacher, librarian and writer. She has published in the Huffington Post and the Western Washington newsletter for Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
Learn more about Pamela
Find Pamela on the Huffington Post
Listen to Whale Song
Willow Fox’s work explores the foundations of human psyche and experience, incorporating elements such as cross-cultural mythologies, hidden motivations of individuals and societies, and scientific inter-dimensional realities.
In the Slipper Shop is a glimpse into the life of a celebrated artist. How does one reconcile the outcome of a decision made against their first intuitive reaction?
Learn more about Willow
Listen to In the Slipper Shop
Detroit native and Seattle resident, Gabriela Denise Frank is a creative non-fiction writer and author of CivitaVeritas: An Italian Fellowship Journey, published in 2011. The book documents her experience living in an Italian hilltown while on a fellowship sponsored by the Northwest Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in Italy.
In 2012, she participated in the Jack Straw Writers Program, which introduces Northwest writers to the medium of recorded audio and encourages the creation of new literary works. The performance training she received through this program strongly influenced her memoir-in-progress, “Hidden City Diaries.”
Gabriela’s work has appeared in a variety of publications including ARCADE, Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Forum and Trim Tab, an online magazine focused on the transformation of the built environment.
Learn more about Gabriela
Listen to Nepenthe
Levi Fuller makes and compiles music in Seattle. He has released three solo albums and many volumes of the compilation series Ball of Wax Audio Quarterly. In addition to his solo work, he is a member of Pufferfish and The Luna Moth.
Learn more about Levi’s music
Check out Ball of Wax, Levi’s audio quarterly music compilation series
Listen to Helium Balloon
Alex Gallo-Brown is a poet, essayist and fiction writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. His work has appeared in publications such as Salon, The Rumpus, The Brooklyn Rail, The Oregonian, and many others.
Where our fathers are first appeared in The Language of Grief, a book-length collection of poems responding to the loss of the poet’s father, celebrated Seattle journalist Nick Gallo. The poem narrates the experience of discovering college basketball as a child and evolves into a meditation on time, change, and loss. It is the first poem that appears in the collection and sets a tonal precedent for the poems that follow.
Learn more about Alex
Listen to Where our fathers are, read by Will Rose
Current Event is one of the stories in Diary of a Misfit (Spring 2013), a short-story compilation companion book to the teen choice award-winning Misfit McCabe series, and is a blend of fiction and real life. LK Gardner-Griffie captures the emotional and tumultuous teenage years as well as the issues teens face: bullying, peer pressure, grief, loss, underage drinking, suicide, first love, and friendship.
Learn more about LK Gardner-Griffie
Visit the Misfit McCabe site
Listen to Current Event, read by Gwen Demombynes
Terri Garfield is 15. “I was on a family camping trip and mom was trying to write a book. She said it was really hard and I said it was easy. I proved it by writing this story, The Otter That Couldn’t: A Tragedy.”
Listen to The Otter That Couldn’t: A Tragedy
Like many of my poems, Handmade Memories is ultimately an ode to the Bronx of my childhood, specifically in memory of the piraguas I used to love and are still a common sight near parks, playgrounds and busy street corners.
Breathless is about the sense of wonder we had as children, when anything was possible if we believed in it enough. It was recorded at Bar 13 in NYC, as part of the weekly poetry series I founded that’s still going today, every Monday night.
Learn more about Guy
Listen to Breathless
Listen to Handmade Memories read by Raymond Ussery
Sharon Hashimoto teaches at Highline Community College. Her fiction has appeared in Bamboo Ridge, North American Review, Crab Orchard Review, Shenandoah, Tampa Review, and others. Her poetry collection, The Crane Wife, was co-winner of the Nicholas Roerich Prize from Story Line Press in 2003.
Sharon participated in the Jack Straw Writers Program in 2012.
Listen to In Hawaii, We Do this
Writing has always been enjoyable for me. I took a Life Story class at Oakland’s Montclair Presbyterian Church. Later I met weekly for ten years with six other women who also wrote. We read and shared memories and were inspired by each other. Sometimes I chose a selection to read aloud with others at Open Mike church gatherings.
Listen to Sailing
For the Story Chairs I wrote about experiences with nature I have had during my lifetime. It was a fun challenge to write very short pieces and still tell the story well. Often I would write the piece on the bus to work, review them and then record later that day or the next.
It was a privilege to work with all of the storytellers whose work is included in the project. Moe Provencher, in addition to being a remarkable musician and songwriter, has a keen and wise ear for story. I have learned much about listening and editing from Moe and am so grateful to know her. I’d like to thank everyone who lent their work and their voices to this project.
Learn more about Tina
Listen to Tina’s stories
The Mouse Chronicles
The Cat Chronicles
Ride That Bronco
The Bear Chronicles
The Bird Chronicles
A Wren Sings
It’s Hard to see a Hummingbird’s Nest
Every Day You See a Heron
Signs & Wonders
The Call In the Woods
The Dolphin, a conversation with Jeffry Mitchell
Anya Jones is a fifth-grader. She loves acting, art, Shakespeare, soccer, pizza, and spending time with her family and friends, but it’s safe to say she loves reading most of all.
Listen to Anya Jones read The Chair by Anne Cunningham
Janel Kolby is a SCBWI member and is pursuing a MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University. She writes poetry, YA and Middle-Grade.
Learn more about Janel
Listen to Metastable
These are four prose poems from a longer series of meditations on life in the city. In them, I describe some of the surprises, delights, and moments of sadness or confusion that spring up when so many strangers live close together. I hope my language recreates those same feelings for you as you listen. No matter whether my sentences seem challenging or thought-provoking or funny, they always (I hope) turn out a little different than you expected.
Learn more about Melissa
Follow Melissa’s writing about birds
Listen to Bars
Listen to Bikes
Listen to Cars
Listen to Jam
Kill Devil Hills is a piece about the history of Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina. Now mainly a tourist destination in the summer, Kill Devil Hills has an assorted history from the first flight and rum trade, to pirates and slavery. Lucien would like to thank Tina Hoggatt for including his work as part of her Story Chairs project.
Lucien La Motte is a composer/songwriter, guitarist and instructor residing in Seattle. When writing music Lucien draws from a wide variety of experiences to create his art. As a guitarist, Lucien has performed and recorded music spanning many genres including folk, jazz, rock, country, R&B, and classical music. As a composer, Lucien is interested in creating sonic environments influenced by folk melodies, jazz improvisation and 20th century harmony.
Lucien enjoys performing in jazz combo settings. He also plays pedal steel and guitar for artists Joy Mills, Jessica Lynn and Fan Fiction. Lucien has performed with former Doobie Brother saxophonist Danny Hull, Afro-Bebop group the Pascal Bokar Band for former Dizzy Gillespie guitarist Pascal Bokar and bassist Myron Dove of Carlos Santana. As a performer he has had the privilege of sharing the stage with artists such as Chaka Khan, Ziggy Marley, Don Carlos, The Temptations, The Whispers and the O’Jays.
Learn more about Lucien
Check out Lucien’s music on YouTube
Listen to Kill Devil Hills
Vicki Legman is an accomplished instructor, course designer, consultant and speaker with over 18 years of public and private sector experience. She helps people talk to one another, untie knots of their own making and learn how to give presentations.
Learn more about Vicki
Listen to Vicki read The Battle of the Brians by Megan Vered
This story, I remember the look didn’t actually happen to me, but it could have, for as a child I used to wonder if my father had a mistress.
In the fall of 2012 my adaptation of Alice in Wonderland was produced at Leeward Community College Theatre in Hawaii. I’ve had short stories, poetry, and essays published, and in 2007 I won the Crucible Fiction Prize. I’m currently working on a novel which is a romantic comedy set in Seattle and features dogs, dog owners, and a dog park.
Learn more about Linera
Listen to I remember the look
Jeffry Mitchell is a visual artist living and working in Seattle, WA. His recent retrospective at the Henry Art Gallery showcased his long career of exploring ideas, media, icon and form.
Jeffry collaborated with Tina on the creation and design of the Story Chairs. For this iinstallation, Jeffry and Tina tell the same story as a conversation.
Learn more about Jeffry
Listen to The Dolphin
What drove me into historical fiction was a combination of elements. I’m curious about my family’s history and, when I hear a story I want to know more about, I often find no factual answers. The former journalist in me kicks in. Even though I can’t ever know for certain, it’s fun to speculate. The next piece is that I love studying history (I’m one of those that preaches the “doomed to repeat it” mantra). I dive into the historical record to see if the scenario I’ve come up with is plausible. By that time I’ve got a reasonably interesting story. I then take a little license and dramatize a bit here and there, just enough to make the story fun to read but still within the realm of the plausible.
For me, it’s terrifically fun and I learn a lot. I do my best to pass on that sense of fun and the historical insights in an entertaining way. In addition to historical fiction, I write occasional commentary and experiment with other forms of fiction such as this short, short story.
Learn more about Mark
Listen to The Fox and the Hound
Ben Oblas is a fine woodworker and cabinetmaker who lives and works in Ellensberg, WA. Ben helped to design the Story Chairs and built them in his shop.
Learn more about Ben
Vic Oblas is an artist, engineer and traveler who prefers to see the world from atop a moving bicycle. Serendipitously, his current job allows him to ride his bike to work.
Learn more about Vic
Listen to Serendipity
Lisa L. Owens is a freelance writer-editor and, as L. L. Owens, the author of more than 80 works for children and young adults.
Lisa is delighted to contribute Mrs. Neeson’s Disappearing Nose to the Story Chairs project. This piece is a work of fiction based on an autobiographical experience. (To this day, she still has no clue where her teacher’s nose could have gone.) Lisa enjoys writing and editing both fiction and nonfiction and always has several simultaneous publishing projects — and coffee — brewing in her Seattle-area home office.
Learn more about Lisa
Listen to Mrs. Neeson’s Disappearing Nose
Moe Provencher is a singer songwriter living in Seattle. Moe has a gift for story and practices that craft as an audio engineer at Jack Straw. She is an audio consultant to the field.
Learn more about Moe’s music
Listen to Goin’ Home
Will Rose’s writing includes poetry, short story, journaling, memoir, and longer literary fiction. He is currently finishing a novel based on an adventure from his youth.
As a writer it is my passion to articulate patterns, moments, and mysteries of life. I weave experiences and reflections, dreams and observations, into narratives real and imagined, in search of authenticity within the illusory world. If the present is a pen-point leaving an indelible trail across a blank page, then in the flow of words on a page I recreate the world — crafting, reshaping, and redeeming its imperfections through art. In my world of words I am god.
In addition to his own story, Will recorded Where our fathers are for Alex Gallo-Brown.
Learn more about Will
Listen to The Gate
The ukulele is nicknamed the “instrument of peace” because of its humble and friendly ethos- new research shows that it is physically impossible to frown while listening to ukulele music.
Nick Ryder is a freshman at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. When not playing ukulele, he can be found studying philosophy or environmental studies, as well as playing seeker for the Tufts Quidditch team. His main instrument is voice, but loves the warmth and accessibility of the ukulele. It is never too late to start uke’n!
Listen to Alita
Ed Skoog is a poet and teacher. His new book of poems, Rough Day, will be published by Copper Canyon Press in June, 2013.
I write poems out of restlessness and curiosity, to see and remember clearly.
Listen to Recent Changes at Canter’s Deli, read by Will Rose
I was named after the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (that is, I was named Shelley, not Percy) because he was my father’s favourite poet. Sevigné is the name as a child I wished my parents had given me; it was one of my mother’s names. Now that I’ve reverted to being the writer I always wanted to be, I’ve also reverted to my childhood wish and claimed Sevigné for my own.
The Garden Party came from my imagination in exactly same the way all inspiration comes to us: out of the blue. Just like the invitation to record it for Tina’s Story Chairs. This is such a fantastic idea, I only wish I lived near the installation so that I could sit in one of the chairs and listen to the other stories.
I’m currently working on a fantasy novel (as yet untitled) for older teens/new adults. It asks: What if an object of great power and magic, made for one realm, a realm it was never meant to leave, inadvertently ended up in an entirely different world where its presence could endanger all realms, including the world of humans? Through this question I’m able to explore a theme close to my heart, the long arm of karma.
Listen to The Garden Party
I live in the Seattle area with my dog Spot and family, and am a Jill of all trades but a mistress of none. I enjoy writing for pleasure and non-profits, seeking recognition, donations and grants. Currently working on a YA story or two.
Listen to The Souvenir
When writing Just Ahead, Annalisa Tempts the Flightless Birds, and Russian Camp I gave myself the restriction of limiting a story to 100 words. Each has its own particular and specific world, but what we see of that world is just a tiny glimpse.
Johanna Stoberock’s novel, City of Ghosts, was published by W.W. Norton. Her essays, reviews, and short fiction have appeared in The Wilson Quarterly, Copper Nickel, Eclipse, The Seattle Times, and numerous other publications. She has been awarded residencies at the Corporation of Yaddo, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Millay Colony. In 2012, Johanna was a Jack Straw Writing Fellow. She lives in Walla Walla, where she teaches at Whitman College.
Learn more about Johanna
Listen to Just Ahead
Listen to Annalisa Tempts the Flightless Birds
Listen to Russian Camp
Laurie Thompson spends most of her days working to educate, entertain, inspire, and empower young readers with her narrative nonfiction writing for kids.
This piece–magical realism for adult readers–is quite a departure from my typical nonfiction for kids. I think it’s healthy for writers to challenge themselves regularly with new genres and topics, and this piece came out of one of those challenges: a magical realism class I took in 2009 taught by Tamara Kaye Sellman. It was one of those writing experiences that comes as a complete surprise, seemingly having been whispered into our ears by a deeply disturbed fairy of some sort: demon or angel, I’m not sure. Wherever it came from, I thought it was interesting and perhaps even important, should it land with just the right reader (or listener). Whether or not you are the one whose life depends on hearing this story, I do hope that you’ll enjoy it.
Learn more about Laurie
Check out Laurie’s author page on Facebook
Listen to Invasive Species
If you’ve ever lost anyone, this is for you.
I try to write about whatever I’m feeling. These flash fictions events are both about loss and longing.
I felt free to share it here, because of Karen’s gentle nudging and the haven Tina created for me.
Both, “Fire” and “Eulogy for Chastity” were given to me by the Daemon that lives somewhere near the couch I sit on, when I write.
See the note that follows for more about Daemons.
In ancient Greece and ancient Rome people did not happen to believe that creativity came from human beings back then. People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source for distant and unknowable reasons. The Greeks famously called these divine attendant spirits of creativity ‘Daemons’.
In addition to his own stories Raymond recorded Handmade Memories for Guy LeCharles Gonzales.
Learn more about Raymond
Listen to Fire
Listen to Eulogy for Chastity
Listen to Raymond read Handmade Memories by Guy LeCharles Gonzales
In 1994, not long after immigrating to the U.S., two years after an Art Residency at U.T. at Austin, Judith van Praag was proclaimed Traveling Poet by the Austin Writers’ League and as such had the pleasure to hand out books at schools. This is when she saw Jesus.
Judith van Praag aka Dutchess Abroad has a background in multicultural theater and the arts in the Netherlands. She is an Arts & Lit reporter for, among others, The International Examiner in Seattle, and the author of Creative Acts of Healing (Paseo Press 1999). Her poems and creative non-fiction pieces have been published in print and on the Web. Momentarily she finishing a novel titled Forgiveness, plus a screenplay inspired by the same story. On 1st Thursdays she hosts a Mixer for Greater Seattle Women Who Write.
Judith is an organizer of The Greater Seattle Women Who Write Meetup
Learn more about Judith
Listen to Hey Zeus
Following my mother’s death I began writing family stories that I sent to my siblings each week. My story, The Battle of the Brians is part of this collection, which is titled Cio Che Ce (Italian for “That What Is”).
As a writer I have worn many hats: published author, scientific and technical writer, web content developer, blogger, scriptwriter, memoirist. I’ve always been word conscious with a keen eye for detail and a sharp ear for dialogue. My current interest –now that both of my parents are gone–is in capturing and preserving stories from the past. My goals as a writer are modest: to continue developing my personal style, to be interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air and for my best selling book to become a two-hankie feature film.
Listen to The Battle of the Brians read by Vicki Legman
Audrey Vernick, a New Jersey author, writes books for young readers. She is the author of the New York Times Notable Book, Brothers at Bat.
About this story: On the very day I returned home from my first children’s writing conference, where author Deborah Hopkinson had advised that writers find the story they are meant to tell, I inexplicably opened my husband’s copy of Organic Gardening. There was a very short piece therein about a group of Seattle gardeners and their decision to compost the million flowers left behind at Seattle Center’s International Fountain after a 9/11 vigil. Research led me to a father and son who had participated. A Million Flowers is their story.
Learn more about Audrey
Check out Audrey’s blog
Listen to A Million Flowers read by Laurie Thompson
Brenda Winter Hansen is hopelessly in love with the crazy world and the people who fill it. Besides word juggling for kids, she volunteers for 826 Seattle, bakes when she’s sorting out plot lines, and sometimes listens to music too loud.
Learn more about Brenda
Listen to Five Stones
Story Chairs illustration ©2013 Tina Hoggatt