650-Word True Stories

650-Word True Stories

Read650 is a literary forum promoting established and emerging writers through curated live and digital performances celebrating the spoken word. It’s a high-quality platform for true personal stories—two pages and 650 words long, read aloud by the writer before an audience. Read650 places a strong emphasis on the craft of writing—word choices, sentence structures, the arc of the narrative. Our submission-based events are developed around broad themes that invite a wide range of expression. An editorial committee curates and sequences the content of each show and, where necessary, our editors collaborate with writers to further refine their work.

Episodes

May 18, 2022 26 min

PALMA, Eileen • The Moskowitz Girl / GREDLER, John • SRO / MANNING-SCHAFFEL, Vivian • What Makes a New Yorker? / BTL: LEVIN, Ann • The Blank Page. There simply is no other place in the world like New York. Its architecture, culture, and general buzz combine to make New York the greatest city in the world. But New York is also a collection of unique neighborhoods, people. and stories, and we’ve selected three of those stories today ...

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For most of us, our mother is our first love. For a time, she is our entire world, serving as our protector, nurturer, and teacher. Our relationships with our mothers is simple and elemental.. while at times being the most fraught and complicated relationship we’ll ever know. And if you ARE a mother, you know it’s the hardest job there is. This episode features writers Kate Mayer, Sarah Bracey White, Jennifer Rawlings, and Lucy Isc...

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April 20, 2022 25 min

When I was a kid, my family took summer camping vacations in the Adirondacks. My parents packed a tent and sleeping bags and food and utensils and a deck of cards, and we drove five hours north from New York City to a kind of paradise with trees beyond counting, sweet, clear lakes for swimming, more stars that I’d ever seen before, and a crackling fire in a ring of stone. Instead of TV, there was conversation and stories of ancest...

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April 6, 2022 27 min

National Library Week is a time to celebrate our nation’s libraries, library workers’ contributions and promote library use and support. Since 1958, National Library Week’s been sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and observed in libraries across the country each April. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate, and you can learn more at the American Library Association website, ALA...

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March 23, 2022 25 min

You never forget your first puppy, your first car, or your first love. Some firsts are mundane, (first olive), while others are unforgettable (first high dive). A first can be a solemn rite of passage or a dream come true, and some firsts supply practical knowledge we carry forward. Like, for example, why you should avoid games involving dice and money, or why tequila shots are actually a very bad idea.

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March 9, 2022 26 min

In many parts of the United States and certainly in New York City, the St. Patrick’s Day holiday is often larded with a kind of shamrockery or paddywhackery that makes some of us cringe a bit. You know — the mugs of green beer and those big “Kiss Me I’m Irish” buttons and t-shirts. Instead of overcooked corned beef and cabbage, Read650 acknowledges this St. Patrick’s Day with four rich personal stories reflecting the lived experien...

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February 23, 2022 24 min

Read 650 celebrates writers and the spoken word five minutes – and 650 words – at a time, and on today’s show … Sthree writers present original true stories relating to birthdays — not always happy, and not necessarily occasions for singing. For most of us, however we acknowledge or celebrate them, birthdays are important mile markers in our lives. And in the lives of our children, parents, grandparents — the people we matter to, a...

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February 9, 2022 27 min

Read 650 celebrates writers and the spoken word five minutes – and 650 words – at a time. The theme of this week’s show is Gratitude, and includes three true personal stories of gratitude recorded at a live event at New York’s Lincoln Center featuring Jamie Bernstein, Malachy McCourt, and Mihai Grunfeld.

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January 26, 2022 25 min

How we respond to stressful or even appalling circumstances determines our path and shapes our life. “Hope Happens” is the title of this week’s Read650 podcast, and features three personal stories of resilience, recovery, and renewal from writers Marshall Karp, Jennifer Rawlings, and Ann Levin. Plus, we go “Between the Lines” with Chicago Tribune columnist Sally Schwartz and learn the one thing she really needs in order to write. L...

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January 12, 2022 24 min

Learning begins as soon as we enter the world, our lives a cinematic fast forward through first steps and tying our own shoelaces; to a first bus ride, algebra test, driving test, and swim test; thorugh learning to cook and dance and play an instrument; from being hired and fired and falling in and out of love– the gamut of lived human experiences, all of which, in their own way, teach us things. They are rites of passage, or life ...

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December 22, 2021 26 min
MAYER, Kathryn • A Meeting of Firsts / EDELSON, Lynn • Inviolable Rules of the Universe / LEVIN, Ann • Holidays Optional. BTL: MOULTHROP, Robert • More to Come. The Christmas and New Year's holidays are a time to break our routines, set work aside, and gather with friends and neighbors; they're a touch point that can revive old memories and present opportunities to create new ones.
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December 15, 2021 25 min
When I was a kid, my family took summer camping vacations in the Adirondacks. My parents packed a tent and sleeping bags and food and utensils and a deck of cards, and we drove five hours north from New York City to a kind of paradise with trees beyond counting, sweet, clear lakes for swimming, more stars that I’d ever seen before, and a crackling fire in a ring of stone. Instead of TV, there was conversation and stories of ancesto...
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The episode is is part of Carnegie Hall’s 2021 "Voices of Hope" festival which examines the life-affirming power of music and the arts during times of crisis. The episode features Susan Zelouf • Things Matter / Anthony Murphy • Steady / Sarah Bracey While • Food for Thought / BTL: Suzanne McConnell • Vonnegut's Pearls. From our "Voices of Hope: True Stories of Resilience, Recovery, and Renewal" collection. It...
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November 24, 2021 24 min
Holidays are a time to celebrate cultural traditions and set work aside. A holiday offers a break in our routine, prompting a three-day weekend in the sun—or a three-hour snow delay at the airport. Some holidays are lightweight and fun, making you think about watermelon and fireworks, while others seem solemn or fraught, setting the stage for either a delicious meal or a family drama. The special "Holidays' event we present...
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November 17, 2021 24 min
Fran Tunno • Grateful for Covid / Kathleen McKitty Harris • Zooming Through It / Sally Hoskins • Not As Expected / BTL: Jennifer Shneiderman • Camels Don't Have Hooves Read650 celebrates writers and the spoken word five minutes – and 650 words – at a time. The series is called “Voices of Hope: True Stories of Resilience, Recovery, and Renewal.” It’s part of Carnegie Hall’s Voices of Hope festival which examines the life-af...
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November 10, 2021 25 min
Featuring Mary Catherine Bolster, Betty MacDonald, Edward McCann, Steven Lewis. Our brothers and sisters know us better than perhaps anyone and—love them or not—our relationships with our siblings are likely to be longer than the ones we'll have with our parents or spouses or best friends — the longest relationships we'll have with anyone, ever.
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October 27, 2021 25 min
Corinne O'Shaughnessy • Five / Sharon Forman • Ghosts at the Costco / Cari Pattison • The Bronxville Exorcist • BTL: David Masello • A Postcard on Postcards. Read 650 celebrates writers and the spoken word five minutes - and 650 words - at a time, and on today’s show we present excerpts from a show entitled "Haunted," featuring true stories of Premonitions, Superstitions, and Apparitions. Halloween has been around for m...
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October 20, 2021 26 min
Featuring Steven Lewis, Andi Rosenthal, Kathryn Mayer, and David Masello. Do you remember your first car? How about your worst car? What about your road test or that first big road trip you made on your own? The stories we're presenting in today's show were recorded in the Ossie Davis Theater in New Rochelle, New York at a Read650 live event called THE CAR.
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October 13, 2021 23 min
FINNEGAN, Honor • Money / MOURKA • North Cape May / CURTO, Kathy • What He Knew / BTL: HUESTON, Marie • Timing is Everything. Poets and singers and writers of all types have been writing about love for millennia. In this century, the novelist and essayist Ursula LeGuin wrote, "Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new." For today's show, we've selecte...
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October 6, 2021 26 min
PARET, Anna • I Am UK / GRUNFELD, Mihai • Across the Border / NENNER, Ellen • The Greener. BTL: BRODERICK, Colin • An Irish Writer in New York. America was built and sustained by immigrants -- people from all corners of the globe whose struggles and contributions made America what and who it is today. For today's show, we've selected three personal stories from a live event we billed as "Immigration Nation," with pe...
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