Adrienne here with an update on TrailOff. Like many, our plans for this spring and summer have changed a bit.
Thankfully, despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, TrailOff is still very much in the works and will now launch this fall on September 10th! We’re SO excited to bring you ten amazing stories by authors throughout the Philly region. These amazing audio experiences speak so much to the moment we’re in: a connection with natural spaces and an expansion of whose voices we hear in them. These are explorations that are by turns delightful and difficult. We’re putting the finishing touches on the app and can’t wait to share these immersing narratives with you (in a socially distance-friendly format!) very soon.
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In the meantime, here’s a little peak of the ten pieces that are headed your way:
The Way Sand Wants for Water by afaq
In a country built on dams holding back what we cannot bear, how do we begin to pull out the stones and let the water run through? The Way Sand Wants for Water is an ode to healing, a guided history of the land that reveals itself in poetry. Notice, breathe, and wander through a journey as fluid as the river that runs alongside it in this lesson on loss and what’s truly in the water.
Story tags: water, colonization, violence, healing, home, scars, Sudan, poetry, trees
Where the Light Won’t Go by ari
Emotionally-driven poetry meets queer Latinix experience in this Neil Gaiman-esque drama when Luz, a trans teen just killed in a car crash, meets Dog – the god of Death tasked to bring her to the underworld. In Where the Light Won’t Go a simple walk leads to discovering a set of deities sitting just behind the surface of human existence and perhaps even restarting the wheel of existence for the living world.
Story tags: Latin, singing gods, trans, violence, afterworld, fairy tale, adventure, swearing
River Devil II: The Return by Carmen Maria Machado
All Mercedes wants is to do her job: capturing behind-the-scenes shots for a cheesy horror movie sequel shot in Manayunk with her conspiracy-theorist camerawoman, Bernice. But travelers beware; the deceptively beautiful Manayunk Canal may have other ideas… Nature fights back in this cryptozoology-meets-The-Blair-Witch-Project horror story — River Devil II: The Return.
Story tags: monsters, murder, horror, The Jersey Devil, violence, Manayunk, humor, evil chanting
Deeply Routed by Denise Valentine
The flow of human history, like the water rushing to the sea, cannot be easily contained. Like truth, it defies our efforts to bury, divert, or ignore it. It overflows its banks, sometimes leaking in tiny trickles; sometimes erupting violently to the surface. Deeply Routed travels to places near and far, connected by these waterways, branching off like so many tributaries that flow to the Delaware River.
Story tags: history, searching, slavery, unexpected connections, journey, intuition, unforgetting
A Sycamore’s Psalm by donia salem harhoor
Told through the voice of a young poet collecting memories and reflections in a notebook, A Sycamore’s Psalm explores care-giving, family dynamics, loss, and roots of every kind. Travel with young Nehet – named after a tree – as she journeys through a diasporic legacy of Egypt, both ancient and contemporary, while encountering the history of the Perkiomen Creek and Trail in this gathering of lyric verse honoring loved ones present and past.
Story tags: Egypt, care-giving, dementia, Montgomery County, family, natural history, diaspora, Arabic, trees, creek, poetry
Appear to Me by Eppchez !
Appear to Me (aka A Pier to Me) mashes together the past and present itinerant denizens of the Delaware River’s piers. Filled with a dreamy troubadour spirit, rough songs and honest conversation swirl through these untold tales of the waterfront, narrated by feral cats channeling the hobo poet W. H. Davies, radical dock workers, Lenape boaters, cruisers, fishing teens, even talking litter, each simply seeking a moment of respite.
Story tags: queer history, feral cats, cruising, swearing, Wobblies, longshoreman, Yemayá, Lenni-Lenape
The Inside Outside by Erin McMillon
Confronted with ancestral ghosts and demons of her own making, poor Trenton is having a very, very bad day. Avoid that bubbling water and find some damn shoes alongside a sarcastic heroine who overcomes monsters of land, water and maybe even her own self-doubt in the comically inspired The Inside Outside.
Story tags: epic battles, humor, monsters, anxiety dreams, violence, flashbacks, ancestors, swearing
Conversations by Jacob Camacho
Diving into themes of ancestry, colonialism and race, Conversations imagines discussions that arise with the indigenous Nanticoke’ Lenni-Lenape people of past, present and future. The water of the Delaware River brings age-old questions to the surface: beckoning listeners to question, be aware of, and learn about the land they move through.
Story tags: Lenni Lenape, colonialism, Nihëlatàmweokàn, ancestral rage, time travel, water, We Are Still Here
The Land Remembers by Jacob Winterstein
In the late 1950’s as part of Urban Renewal, Philadelphia displaced over 8,000 residents from Eastwick aka The Meadows. The area was one of Philly’s only harmoniously integrated neighborhoods at a time when many racist housing policies were legal. In The Land Remembers, Nick (aka Nickel, aka Abe aka Abraham) reminisces about his last days living there.
Story tags: race, childhood, history, friendship, nostalgia, pastrami sandwiches, Urban Renewal
Chronicles Of Asylum by Li Sumpter
Set in future Philadelphia circa 2045 on the eve of a major cosmic event, Chronicles of Asylum follows savvy young journalist Liliquoi Brown as she investigates an otherworldly urban myth in hopes of finding two missing visitors to a refugee camp on the Schuylkill River. Exploring survival and sacrifice, home and exile, humanity’s fate and hope for the future, Chronicles follows the path of this unexpected trailblazer.
Story tags: Afrofuturism, quest, survival, mystery, epic, modern myth, climate change, apocalypse