Our theme for the month of October was selected by readers and is a format challenge: write a post completely in dialogue.

[The post calvin style guide asks that our pieces be nonfiction. Between that and this month’s theme, I thought of the overlap of transcription. I don’t really do it anymore, but a while ago, I got into the habit of using my Voice Memos app to record surrounding sound to use in music I was making. Here are snippets of some that I never used, but still had saved on my phone.]

12/25/16 (a)

“Every night they burn through everything they’ve eaten in the day so, it’s a hairline that they walk.”

“Really I think the biggest miracle, the turtle—the animals that really go—really almost die, and lay in the mud, no breathing.”

“I also love the animals that like, will bunk with other animals, like will find different kin. That’s so interesting.”

“Skunks in woodchuck holes, yea.”

“I like the loon a lot.”

“Unable to fly, just at the mercy of the water, whatever it brings them.”

9/9.17 (b)

“What would happen if, instead of tracing doctrinal ideas through the Bible, we traced a single image, such as light? Or food? Or garment? Or rock?”

3/25/17 (c)

“Dragon, apple, snowman, tree, sun, scissors, lightbulb, carrot, zebra, dino, igloo, cheese, splat, dolphin, ‘OK,’ sunglasses, pup, drop, heap—”

“Wait no I have heart twice…”

“—clock, shell, target, ladybug, candle, pencil, orange dye, question mark…”

5/23/18 (d)

“That’s a good question! So you say you’ve been having vandalisms and food contaminations frequently and—is there anything that represents a lack of faith or maybe a moral problem for a Christian having some sort of security system? I would say no because you’ve got examples in the Bible where it talks about the children of Israel having watchmen on the walls. So y’know, people having a reasonable security…especially if you’re living in certain areas that are high-crime, not having some sort of basic security, it um, it can actually be tempting the Lord—y’know it’s just not wise.”

6/10/17 (e)

“Fourteen. Chili cheese fries.”


“That is like, in the Top Five—”

“I hate that.”

“Thirteen. Potato wedges…It depends on who’s making them y’know? Sometimes they’re good, sometimes, they’re trash.”

“I don’t—”

“Sometimes it’s just too much potato.”

“Yeah—I’m glad we’re working our way up because then we get happier as we go.”

“Ok. Twelve. Sweet potato fries—those should not be twelve, those are delicious. Uh, eleven: Chips. Parentheses British.” [laughing]

10/27/17 (f)

“But you know what? We’re here to tell you this: even when you don’t feel like it… You. Matter. So much to God. [applause] Yeah, you do. And tonight you’re gonna be looking at us and we’re like going crazy up here and you’re like ‘What are they doing?’ But we’re doing this because we know that we are worth so much in God’s eyes. So tonight, don’t even care about what the person next to you thinks about your rad dance moves. We’re just gonna go all out tonight. So you ready to do that?”

5/15/17 (g)

“I went one year. I like, very clear visual memory of where I was…”

“One? I’m a better Michigander than you!—”

“I went one year for science camp—”

“OK, every Christian school kid has been.”

“My distinct memories is once I was at the urinals and like, maybe I was talking to a dude? And he gave me something? And I drank it? And it was like mouthwash. But I thought it was drugs. I thought that was doing drugs, and I remember I ran to the camp nurse and I was like ‘I think I might’ve done drugs? I don’t know what’s going on?’ (Are you serious) ‘Cause I like got a headache later, ‘cause I probably just drank straight alcohol…”

“That’s actually hilarious—’I did drugs, it was blue liquid. It was really minty and stingy?’”

8/21/17 (h)

“Let that light… in the very core of your being… fill your torso… it feels so happy… pushes down through your arms and legs… filled with light… and you recognize… that this light that fills you, is your reality. This light beam is your spirit body. This is your reality. It is your perfection. And as you permit yourself to indwell in that space with you, you have no fears… There are no worries… There are no responsibilities. You are neither judged nor acting to judge. Take a moment to savor this place.”

5/29/17 (i)

“In Mexico, we would always like, count our mosquito bites, and it was like a game, whoever had the most, or, the least I guess, would win. It was always in the fifties, sixties range.”
“I’m in the…dozens…”

“This is a really comfy spot.”

1/28/18 (j)

“Have you ever been praying and all of sudden you wake up and you’re like ‘Oh I fell asleep, I was praying, sorry Jesus.’ A friend of mine said, ‘Don’t fret. That’s falling asleep on the lap of the Father.’ I’m like ‘Ha, yea, alright. Thanks for saying that.’”

4/15/17 (k)

“And his theory is like ‘This is what I do, I like, show people what they have, by like, moving it around, or making it different, or taking it sometimes. Show them what they had by taking it away.’ But anyway.”


(a) On our grandparents’ living room floor, my cousins talking with my mom about her book, digesting our Christmas dinner.
(b) The foreword of the audio-textbook “How To Read The Bible As Literature…And Get More Out Of It.”
(c) Jeff and Taylor and I killing time at his family’s cottage, making sure their Spot-It deck wasn’t missing cards. It’s a game for literal babies.
(d) An ask-the-pastor type radio show I found browsing the AM stations.
(e) Kara and I hanging out in Yesterdog, critiquing a controversial ranking of fry types, which many news-ish sites accused of “tearing the
internet apart”
(f) The Young Escape’s between-song banter, opening for Crowder.
(g) Housemates in the hall between our rooms, late after a Stein Night at Vivant, recounting childhood stories of Camp Roger. Josh did the drugs.
(h) As the solar eclipse was about to peak at our latitude, a group of old folks listening to a new-age meditation tape blaring from a loudspeaker in a park in Whitehall, MI.
(i)  Emma and Josh (now my recently-become-former housemate) on the porch of the house I’d just moved into, late, talking about nothing. Josh had the dozens.
(j) The pastor of Take Hold Church, where I went for a year, preaching on Mark 14:32-42.
(k) My housemate Jon explaining the plot of Following (1998)

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