PenDust Radio

PenDust Radio

A short story podcast — riveting fiction and wildly creative nonfiction.


November 3, 2022 40 min


Rubbish is a short story about Joe Nickerson's cross-country hitchhiking adventure as he's on his way to serve in the Vietnam war. As Joe waits for rides, holding a sign that reads "TO WAR - VIA L.A. – U.S. Marine Corps," he recalls his draft-dodging father, his lioness of a mother, and how his youth in Catholic schools with hard-knuckle nuns made his transition to boot camp easier. Then, w...

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In January 1966, novelist and countercultural leader Ken Kesey held a three-day event in San Francisco called The Trips Festival. This story is Roberto Loiederman's recollection of the festival — a mind-bending event, as well as a dramatic turning point for Kesey, and those who attended.

The post The Night Ken Kesey Gave His Magic Away appeared first on PenDust Radio.

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A lamp purchased second hand seemed to be the ideal addition to her home until an investigation into the mysterious engraving on its base revealed a macabre history. As she discovered grisly details about the lamp's previous owner, her home life became agitated, and she wondered… Could the lamp be haunted?

The post My “Haunted” Lamp: Murder, Mystery, and Remodeling appeared first on PenDust Radio.

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"I'm Sorry, Monica" is a letter to Monica Lewinsky. In it, the author, Carol Marsh, takes a soul-searching look at how she reacted to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal in the late 1990s. She explores the roots of her feminism and the family dynamics that affected it, and shares how the MeToo movement jarred her into examining how she and other women unfairly excoriated Ms. Lewinsky.

The post I’m Sorr...

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September 8, 2022 40 min


A former dancer and about-to-retire choreographer is surprised to receive a letter from a foreign country. The short, handwritten note rekindles memories of a love affair, and a separate friendship, decades before in Nicaragua. Her recollections spark insights that hadn’t been apparent to her so long ago.

The post Dancing to Go On appeared first on PenDust Radio.

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August 25, 2022 28 min


The 1970s in Birmingham, Alabama, was a time fraught with racial tension and confusing questions of identity. Author Terry Barr found the music of that era confusing, as well. Southern rock competed with Glam and Disco, and for a long-haired guy like Terry, finding his place, his sub-culture, and the accompanying music wasn't easy.

The post Long-Haired Disco Boys appeared first on PenDust Radio.

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August 11, 2022 29 min


After Sarah Lenz's father gives her a creepy antique photograph depicting her three great uncles who were struck and killed by the same bolt of lightning in 1914, she sets out to discover their story and figure out why postmortem photography haunts her. “Lightning Flowers” is a thoughtful and moving meditation on what it means to remember the dead and confront one’s own mortality.

The post Lightning Flo...

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July 28, 2022 30 min


"The Beak in the Heart: True Tales of Misfit Southern Women," is a collection of dramatic portraits of the author’s “misfit” female ancestors and a candid, intimate memoir about family secrets and breaking free of the narrow confines of being a “proper” southern woman. In this excerpt, Betina Entzminger tells the story of two of her “misfit” aunts who had the strength to handle the blows dealt t...

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In this brief memoir, Roberto Loiederman recalls a night in San Francisco, in the summer of 1965, that he spent with Hunter Thompson, the half-mad, cosmic prankster, and creator of gonzo journalism. For Roberto, the early days of the counterculture — the days of psychedelic rock, drugs, and free love — weren’t quite as romantic as they are remembered.

The post The Darker Side of a Night with Hunte...

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June 30, 2022 27 min


Misfire is a story about a day when a friend takes Emlyn Cameron shooting. They leave the suburbs of Northern California with a shotgun, two handguns, a 22. calibre rifle, two AR-style rifles, and a black powder muzzleloader, to go shooting in a remote location. It looks to be a simple holiday lark, until things start to go awry.

The post Misfire appeared first on PenDust Radio.

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June 16, 2022 23 min


In this beautifully told story, Francis Duffy’s main character reflects on a boyhood steeped in dogma, patriarchy, and racism. His alcoholic father is often absent, and his admiration is for his “lioness” of a mother who never missed work, and put three kids through parochial schools. Before welfare, Ms. Magazine, and #MeToo.

The post Unlearn appeared first on PenDust Radio.

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June 2, 2022 21 min


In the 1990s, there was astronomical research that showed that Washington County, Maine was second only to area 51 in Nevada for UFO sightings in the U.S. This story about mysterious phenomena in the night skies of Grand Lake Stream, Maine is from master fishing guide and award-winning author Randy Spencer, excerpted from his new memoir, "Written on Water: Characters and Mysteries from Maine's Back ...

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May 19, 2022 27 min


In the 1950s, Jerry Vis had an uneventful, blue-collar, stickball-in-the-street childhood in Paterson, N.J. That is, until his father, who had been no more than a vaporous, bring-home-the-bacon presence, nearly killed himself with alcohol and suddenly got religion.

The post Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer appeared first on PenDust Radio.

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July 29, 2021 31 min


This humorous story is about all of the masks we wear to fit in with people whose masks look a little bit shinier than ours under the library lights at a PTA meeting in the affluent neighborhood of Encino, California. And it’s a story about how, deep down, we are all insecure middle-schoolers. This is a fictionalized version of true events.

The post Kicked Out of the PTA! appeared first on PenDust Radio.

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July 29, 2021 10 min


Recently in America, issues of race have dominated the news. This short, powerful essay is a reflection on all of the small adjustments and considerations Black people make to keep themselves alive — what author Andrea Thornton Bolden calls “correcting for whiteness.”

The post Correcting for White People appeared first on PenDust Radio.

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July 29, 2021 32 min


Virginia Evans wrote the first draft of her novel in 61 days. Seven days a week, she was at her desk with coffee by 5:00 am. She wrote 98,000 words while working three part-time jobs, with two children at home under age four. Then she defied the odds and managed to secure a literary agent. All of that turned out to be the easy part.

The post A Crack Up appeared first on PenDust Radio.

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July 22, 2021 37 min


Adrian’s Affinity is a lush and lyrical story about a sensitive and intelligent boy with a special affinity — he can attract birds. It's not a power, because he can't control it. And it's not an ability he wants, as it makes others — even his own mother — suspicious of him. Both a bittersweet coming-of-age tale and a haunting mystery, we're reminded that we are all shaped by beautiful and mysteri...

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July 8, 2021 27 min


This touching story brings us into the life of William, a young boy who must deal with some unexpected circumstances after WWII. After being evicted from their home, his family finds a new place to live in a resort community on Lake Michigan. There, William makes a special new friend and faces some dramatic events.

The post Traces of an Early Summer appeared first on PenDust Radio.

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Marjorie signs up for a writing retreat and finds herself an outcast amidst a gaggle of young, eager authors. But one evening, over a few drinks with the group, she has an unexpected “fifteen minutes of fame” in the micro spotlight of the writing workshop. As she shares a secret talent with the group, she flashes back to an encounter she once had with Truman Capote.

The post Her Voices, Her Room: An Encounter with T...

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June 29, 2021 13 min


As a young man, Roberto Loiederman read Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer," and George Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London," which inspired a dream: to be broke in Paris one day. In his 70s, as a tourist in Paris, a sudden event gives him the chance to live out his youthful dream. Temporarily, anyway. This is a story about how we are all pretenders, to one degree or another.

The p...

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