Photo of a slice of cheese pizza

Berkshire Yarn Mill #001: The Last One Left

Editor’s Note: this podcast contains adult language and mature themes and may not be suitable for all listeners.

Hey, Greylock Nation —

What you’re hearing now is, I hope, the start of something new and wonderful. This is episode #1 of the Berkshire Yarn Mill — a podcast dedicated exclusively to LIVE storytelling. Contradiction of terms? Not at all. What you’re about to hear is a recording, true, but you can experience our story slam event in person, and maybe tell your own story one day. 

But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. What’s a storyslam? Why do we call it the Berkshire Yarn Mill? Let’s see…how to sum it up? A story slam is a competitive storytelling event where people sign up to tell a story, usually based on a pre-announced theme. We follow the basic rules of the Moth Radio Hour, because, even if they didn’t event story slamming, they certainly increased its popularity about a thousand fold, and by extention, standardized the art form.

#1 — the story must be true

#2 — the story must be in the first person (happened to you)

#3 — you have five minutes

#4 — you may not use any notes or props

We call the event series the Berkshire Yarn Mill because the Berkshires, particularly North County was known as a powerhouse of New England mill town productivity since the late 18th Century. Finely made textiles, including woolens, were shipped across the country and overseas. Nowadays, many of the remaining mill buildings, having passed briefly through an era of modern manufacturing, are now being repurposed as residences, business incubators, and mulit-use community spaces. We hoping to find a home for the Berkshire Yarn Mill in just such an old mill building in the area — imagine the thousands of stories that attended the lives of the thousands of workers who toiled within the walls of brick and stone starting as early as 1804. 

We hope our stories, our yarns if you will, will resonate within those walls as we weave the details and emotions together into narratives both comedic and tragic. We hope you’ll join us live when you can, and tune into this show when you can’t (or when you just HAVE to hear a yarn twice told). 

This episode, number one is a short, test flight, employing the theme: “The Last One Left.” What are you supposed to make of a theme like that? Just about anything you want.

There was only one more. Doesn’t matter what it was.

Sure, it might have been that last slice of pizza that you KNEW you should have saved for your little brother.

Maybe it was that funny looking runt of the litter that no one wanted and you ended up keeping and turned out to be the best furry friend (or any friend) you ever had.

Could have been that last cancer stick in the pack that made you realize how hooked you were when the thought of not being able to smoke on the way to the store to get more smokes filled you with dread.

But after that? Not a one more.

The following four yarns spin out four tales of what it means to be or not to be or to have the last one left. Enjoy

That’s our show! Visit BerkshireYarnMill.com to find out where and when our next show is . And if you can’t be there in person, we’ll have the podcast up and available as soon as we can after that. Until then, stay safe, be good to each other, and go easy on yourself. Bye now.

Jason Velázquez

Jason Velázquez has worked in print and digital journalism and publishing for two decades.
Phone: (413) 776-5125

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