Good Night, Irene
As I write this the East Coast of the USA has been experiencing the
drenching rain and high winds of Hurricane Irene. Gratefully, it was
downgraded to a tropical storm when it hit land along the coast,
stretching from the Carolinas and moving north through Maryland and
Washington D.C. and then visiting the New York area. The storm will
still plow up through New England the northeast coast of Canada.
Not to minimize the effects, but this storm could have been worse.
Those who recall Katrina a few years ago hitting the Gulf Coast know
what I mean. Storms come and go – it’s a fact of
life. Some are natural, others political (the tenth anniversary of the
9/11 terrorist attacks is days away). There are also storms in our
relationships and our personal life. It’s something to
consider. I'm writing about this for the August newsletter going out
today. If you want to receive this free monthly email you can subscribe
Stirred By Song
August 26, 2011
Those who know me know about my past history (over 30 years) of working
in radio broadcasting. I was a DJ, music director, promotions director
and program director at various times in various cities. I got into
radio through my contact with the college radio station, KGOU, when I
was attending Oklahoma University in 1976. I hadn't intended to become
a broadcaster...but once I got a test of "on air" I was hooked. And
I've always loved music.
I bring this up because I love how songs can help us remember certain
times in our lives. Some songs are actually great about the subject of our life
experiences. Fellow blogger and personal historian Dan Curtis posted about these songs and various members of APH who offered up
their favorite songs about life recall. I was happy to see that a few
that I mention in my article from 2004, Striking a
Chord For Memory,
were on the list. They are Green Day's Time of Your Life,
The Beatles In My Life
and Alan Jackson's Remember
I'm sure there are others. I'm going to dig into my collection to see
what else I unearth.
Taste and Creative Drive
August 20, 2011
So you have great taste. Everybody tells you so. You know when
is of artistic quality. Even when people say art is in the eye of the
beholder (and it is) you are pretty good at beholding the
stuff that is
decent, the stuff that is "wow" and also what is, frankly, crap.
If the above describes you and you are also driven to create then you
are probably hard on yourself. That's alright. Having high standards is
a good thing.
Far too many people settle for mediocrity. But when you are
creating stories - be it video, audio or writing - a lot of what you
put out, before revision, can be less than the high standards you are
holding others to.
Ira Glass of This American Life understands this and articulates
well in this vimeo bit from a video he recorded on Storytelling.
of Yaz Video
August 16, 2011
Carl Yastrzemski was my hero growing up. I, like many other kids, loved
baseball (still do). As a lefty and an outfielder I would often look to
the Hall of Famer Boston Red Sox left fielder for inspiration. Yaz
would hold his bat high and had an intimidating presence at the plate.
In 1967, the impossible dream season, he won the Triple Crown (tops in
the American League in batting average, Home Runs and Runs Batted In).
That's very rare and no one else has accomplished it since that
I discoverd on the Red Sox site of MLB.com a short video intro to a
life story presentation about Yastrzemski. Naturally, that captured my
attention (link here). The rest of the story
is being presented today
and tomorrow as part of a special Red Sox Report feature on the NESN
(New England Sports Network). The
Legend of Yaz is bound to be a fascinating bio - I hope
they post it on the website, too!
the Final Hour
August 14, 2011
Waiting until you are on your death bed to "tell your story" is risky
business. I'm not denying that it can be the most powerful and
cathartic experience - both for those listening and for the one
telling. But it's risky. You are gambling with fate. You may or may not
get the opportunity.
I do believe that as a person's life nears the end it is important to
be surrounded by loved ones and to let go of the burdens and cares of
this earthly life while at the same time gently offering up your pearls
of life wisdom. Anyone who puts in their time on this planet has
something to share.
Perhaps we need a combination. We need to reminisce. We need to record
our thoughts, feelings and experiences. We need to pass it on. This can
be done by putting together a life story. And then, in the final hour,
you can also offer up your essence. Release to us your joys, your
sorrows, the burdens and the triumphs of your life. At bedside, you may
be fortunate enough to have family and friends with whom you can share
this sacred time.
Brienne Walsh, author of A
Brie Grows in Brooklyn, recalls her
grandmother doing just this. In Her Last Hour of Life, My Grandmother Told Her Story is a beautifully recollected
short essay wherein Brie
Walsh vividly describes her grandmother's dying and how she shared this
intimate time with her.
on the Journey
August 6, 2011
I've finally started reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. It's been on
my "some day I will read this book" list for some time. Do you have one
of those lists? Anyway, I'm glad I'm reading it. I am not that far into
it, 40 pages or so, and it is a beautiful memoir. Dillard writes with
such insight, clarity and poetic beauty. The book starts with stunning
language. Achingly beautiful. Published in 1974, the year I graduated
High School, it won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1975.
Of course it did. So far the book is magnificent!
Reading such fine memoir might discourage some of you writers hoping to
pen your story with the right words and meaning. I say don't worry
about that. Let it have the opposite effect. Drink in her sentences.
Indulge your senses with her imagery. Get inspired.
Writing a life story or memoir does take some time...and preparation.
But if you spend too much time analyzing you miss the opportunity to
let inspired creative moments flow out of you. I suggest you consider
the heart of your story,
then start writing. It doesn't have to get
done in a day (it won't!) and it doesn't have to be put off until "some
day". Some day never comes, as John Fogerty sang in an old Creedence
The inspiration for your story is all around you. Including in the
pages of marvelous memoirs like the one I'm reading by Annie Dillard.
So excuse me while I go read some more.
in Albuquerque When...
August 3, 2011
A longtime friend of mine (we worked in radio what seems like a hundred
years ago) turned me on to a new group created on Facebook. The Remember in Albuquerque When...group has exploded in
popularity. This demonstrates once again the power of social networking
in today's wired world.
A lot of the postings are mundane, but there is certainly some memory
stirring taking place. I'm thinking this could be applied to other
cities and towns (maybe it already has!). Are you using social networks
to help mine memories?
BTW, I do post Your Life
Is Your Story info to FB. You can visit here.
I certainly welcome you to "like" my page.