I’ve written here before about how I’m a total NPR freak these days. This is something, to be honest, I never would have expected, mostly because when I was younger, I so associated NPR with my parents, and I could not imagine listening to any radio that did not feature music, and lots of it. My memories of NPR in our house are so strong that to this day, when I hear the All Things Considered theme music, I think immediately of my mom in our kitchen, making dinner on any random weeknight. But a few years back—I think near 9/11, actually—I started listening to my local NPR station, and I’ve never gone back to commercial morning radio. I like to think that the part of my brain that used to be filled with the lyrics to some pop song are now, instead, being used to remember the name of the president of Liberia. Which I guess would be true if, at this moment, I could NAME the president of Liberia. But you get the point.
Anyway, so there’s a lot I love about NPR (This American Life, Car Talk, etc) but I listen most to Morning Edition. And one of my favorite things lately is the StoryCorps series, which they run every Friday. Basically, this is an oral history project, where they go around the country taping people telling stories about their lives. It’s just so interesting to me, and I think the main reason is that often the stories aren’t about huge, important moments, but smaller things that still have such resonance. It’s like when I used to tell my students to write about a pivotal moment in their lives, and remind them it didn’t have to be a death of a family member, or the day you got dumped. It might be something that, at the time, you didn’t even think was that important. It’s only later, I think, that you sometimes realize when your life took a curve, like it happened so slowly, and gradually you didn’t realize it until the landscape before your eyes changed.
So every Friday, I find myself drying my hair, or making breakfast, and then StoryCorps segment will come on, and I’ll just stop what I’m doing and listen. Sometimes they make me tear up, and sometimes they make me laugh. You just never know. But it’s a good reminder that EVERYONE has a tale to tell, that you don’t have to be a writer to share something and have other people feel something when they hear it. My favorite right now is this one, although it’s hard to choose, to be honest. They are all good and important, in their own way.
Finally, before I go, a word about my story—the new book—and all the comments you all have posted so far. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have this kind of support in these last couple of days, when I am nervous and excited and ready and terrified all at once. For a few years now, day in and day out, I’ve tried to write stuff here that you might enjoy, and some days I think I do, others totally not. The book is different from these daily missives, of course, but I’m just so grateful for all the kind words and enthusiasm I’ve gotten from you. Whatever happens tomorrow, and all the days after with Just Listen, I’ll always remember how you guys were there for me. Thank you.