"Humboldt Holiday" on KCRW Berlin

This holiday season we bring you stories by The Bear, Berlin’s one-of-a-kind storytelling event. We continue with Allia Sadeghipour’s “Humboldt Holiday,” the tale of a family road trip gone haywire in Northern California.

“Being the oldest of five children I was the first one to leave the family, so for my first year in college, my entire family decided to drive all the way up to Humboldt County to celebrate Christmas with me so I wouldn’t be alone.”


"Croatian Adventures" on KCRW Berlin

Hey Everyone!!! I’m on the radio 😆😆😆!!! (My story starts at 10:28) Telling the story of my sister @allisesadeghipour and I and our adventures in Croatia. I love you Beezy and all our crazy adventures. Exploring the world is so much better with you in it ❤️.

The Bear Storytelling 50th Show

The Bear presents
Award-winning storytellers share tales of making interesting mistakes, amazing mistakes, glorious and fantastic mistakes; Breaking rules; Ruining reputations; Leaving the marks of a life well-lived.

in collaboration with Pfefferberg Haus 13, Moving-Speaker.com, KCRW Berlin & Goethe-Institut Washington

Recorded on stage “live” at the Pfefferwerk Haus 13 in Berlin, Germany on June 19, 2020

“The Girl who Melted”

My tits are melting. My armpits are melting. My eyes are melting. I’m producing more fluids than an orgy and feeling far less sexy.

Do people ever truly feel sexy in an orgy? Do people ever truly feel sexy when they’re melting?

sexy metal melting

hashtags of heat

extra savory salaciousness

twisted twilights

never ending numerical

determinations of comfort

25, 31, 38

75, 82, 96

numbers, grades, degrees, and fahrenheit

Does knowing the melting point help ease the inevitable discomfort? Why are melting and freezing given points? Does the spectrum help humanize and personify our bodies subjugation?

Perhaps. Perhaps they remind us that we are subjects lined up on points and spectrums of creations we do not make but give name to. Are we no better than cretins or parasites? Viruses easily disturbed by numerical extremes. Or, maybe we are more like bacteria rather than a virus. Depending on the spectrum and refusing to fall off the edge.

Sometimes, I wish I could melt when the rain falls and that each drop would pull me down into the earth, down into its core, where the temperatures are unfathomable and it’s vulcan movement blends all the elements together to create new ones.

Sometimes, I wish all my elements had melted and been absorbed in the core, so I could no longer feel what it is to melt as my skin pools pockets of sweat in all my glorious folds and crevices sitting on the underground thinking about if they had dug just a little deeper, we would be in the belly of the Earth pulsing with her rhythms and reminded that it any minute she could swallow us whole, break us down, and make us into something new.

I once met a girl who had melted. She explained it quite matter-of-factly. She had gotten up that morning at her usual time, took the same tramline, and drank the same two latte macchiatos she always did. She was giving a presentation to a major tech company about the importance of employee engagement and receiving feedback when she pointed to the board realizing that there was a dripping stump where her index finger used to be. As the presentation continued, she was forced to slam her elbows on the keyboard to switch slides as her hands had completely dissipated. Yet, she persisted until her tongue had melted in her mouth, and she had accidentally swallowed it like you do with snot when you have a runny nose. She continued until all that was left were her shins and feet rigidly planted between the projector screen and the computer.

Three days later, the attendees submitted their presentation feedback report unanimously agreeing that it was the most informative presentation they had ever had, but the presenter herself was a bit “lackluster.” 

She re-emerged two weeks later, still no head, swimming in the canal, splashing and bubbling about. She paddled through me as I melted into the Spree.

“5:33AM 1987”

It was never going to happen. It was never supposed to happen, but his eyes opened. The heart monitor flatlined as he unplugged himself. Legs weak from dystrophy, they bowed beneath the weight of him. He toppled into a wheelchair reacclimating himself to being alive again.

Where was it coming from? The window was left open and the song was falling from the sky.

The hospital was hollow and the note drops echoed loudly on the roof. He climbed steps his muscles having forgotten how to do so. Forwards and upwards. Pushing the emergency bar to the roof, he was greeted by the the coarse morning air, and there she was, almost translucent. Hospital gown blowing in the moonlight, pale and thin, the waning moon radiated through her.

Stumbling forward behind his words, “I’ve been asleep.”

She turned around, eyes pressed deep into her skull, hollow cheeks, and skin wrapped tight over degenerating muscles. She looked into his eyes, “I refuse to die from this disease.”

She turned around, looked over her shoulder, “Welcome to this world,” and jumped.

Giving Birth to a God

Its interesting the adjectives we use to describe our actions or our life choices. When I first moved to Berlin, people would often say I was “brave” and “courageous” for following my dream and deciding to do what I chose to do, but what they don’t realize is the amount of fear involved because I wasn’t just following a dream. I was chasing a lifetime. A lifetime of linguistic specialist, speech pathologist, front-loaded learning, a parents divorce, that I was running not toward anything, but I was finally flexing my wings.

So you see, I don’t run, I fly, and the problem with dreams is that when they are uttered, we give power and raise gods, that’s a really intimidating thing to think about, to think about that possibly, “I could give birth to a god,” and here’s the other thing you have to understand, but, for women, we can do it twice over. With our physical bodies and with our minds. We do it thrice over with our emotions and our communities with our interpersonal understanding of each other’s commiseration.

So you see, people say that I am brave for going and doing this, but what they don’t realize is that I was giving birth to a god that expands beyond our adjectives.

Translation Tuesday: “Heimat Who Lives in a Box” by A.E. Sadeghipour (Asymptote Blog)

For this week’s Translation Tuesday, inexplicable shapeshifting, bad table service, tangible numerals, and a loving friendship that defies spatial logic are on the menu in “Heimat who Lives in a Box,” written and translated from the German by A.E. Sadeghipour. In this surreal microfiction, a dinner date is marred by embarrassment and a rude (and seemingly inhuman) waitstaff. Sadeghipour’s ability to flout realism while preserving the conventions of the short narrative leads us to a conclusion that is both ironic and “happily ever after”-esque.

Read the short story here!

“Back in 20”

These fuckers ain’t coming back. I’m sure they will. Nah, they bounced. They definitely skipped out and are not coming back. Okay, if they were, then why would they leave a note? Maybe to seem like they weren’t skipping out? But they definitely just dined and dashed. What if they went to the bathroom or stepped out to smoke? The bathroom? For twenty minutes? Umm well … Okay, not likely, but fuck it! I’ll go check. Hello? Hello?! If you’re taking a shit, pinch it and finish. Come on now. Hello?! See? Nobody. We’re the only ones here except Stoner Chef Jeff, who I think is passed out in the back. Right, see? So, where the fuck are they? They only ordered two waters and a plate of fries to split between them. Who splits fries? And who orders tap water without ice? Psychopaths. They are probably psychopaths or maybe hitmen. Hitpeople? Assassins. Some of the first assassins were women you know. Yeah. But were they? I didn’t get a good luck admittedly, and I’m normally pretty good at remembering people’s faces. Strange that I can’t seem to remember what they looked like. Let me think. I think one of them was wearing a hat. What kind of hat? What do you mean? A hat? Yeah. But what kind of hat? There are tons of different kinds of hats. Baseball hats, fedoras, beanies, sombreros – You think I wouldn’t remember if one of them was wearing a damn sombrero?! Well Mind-Like-A-Trap, you also can’t seem to remember what they looked like so. Oh, shut it! It was a baseball hat. Definitely a baseball hat because it had one of those, those, those … Who are you saluting there comrade? Shut up! You know, this thing that comes out of the forehead part. Nothing grows out of our forehead part unless you got a set of horns under those bangs. Damnit, the hat. Oh, you mean the bill? No that’s what customers ask for when they want to pay. Yes and it’s also the part of the hat that sticks out to block the sun. It’s called a bill, like a duck bill. Ducks don’t have bills to pay. Oh my god, the duck’s mouth is called a bill and so is that part of the hat. Gotcha! Well it was a baseball hat because it had a bill. Okay and what color was it? Oh shit, I, I don’t remember. What do you mean you can’t remember? This is important. Why is this so important? Because it’s all we got. You can’t remember what they look like. I didn’t get a good look at them from behind the counter, and what if something horrible happened and we’re the last ones that saw them alive. Or worse, what if they are on a murderous cross-country trip, and we are the ones that they let go and we have to identify them in a line-up. Our testimony could be the key to putting them behind bars, but I don’t think I could do it. I mean, what if they break out, which they most likely will, and then come after me for ratting them out. Why do you assume they are murderous villains? What if they were victims or fleeing captivity. What if it’s a romantic love story and they were never going to receive their parent’s blessings, so they left. They eloped and left a romantic note behind, and we are a part of their love story. They’ll return here depending on us to hold their table. Oh, come on! This ain’t no fucking movie, and you know real life is way stranger than any movie. Okay so what’s a movie plot that we haven’t thought of – Focus! What color hat were they wearing? All of our speculations don’t mean shit if we can’t remember a single detail about them. Focus. What color was the hat? I can’t remember. I can’t remember. You have to! I can’t. You have to! Red? Blue? Green? No, no, no, just give me a second, just let me think, think, think, think, got it! Did it have a symbol or logo? No, but it had one of those silver stickers on it because the reflection blinded me for a sec. Are you sure? Are you sure it wasn’t a reflection from the cutlery or a piece of jewelry? A watch? Silver tooth? No definitely a white hat with one of those silver stickers. Okay, what else? Do you hear that? Yup, shit, top of the hour

a car parks in the lot,

the door opens

something dull flies into the sky.

White Cow and Brown Bull

I was a white cow
being led by a shadow tree
back to the barn. I could not
through the door until
I was
shrunk down
to a more manageable size.
Inside the barn
the brown bull was mounting the heifer.
I was guided to my stall.
On the clean hay
lay two calves,
one two and the other one,
dead from neglect.
I felt nothing
and trotted back out to pasture.

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