Why Can’t My Life Be More like NPR?
At times, I wonder why my life can’t be more like those stories I hear on National Public Radio. Their guests, during interviews, always have cultured, radio-perfect voices pitched at just the right timbre so as to soothe and inform. Authors, or professors, or political experts; it doesn’t seem to matter. Maybe these guests are given a short training session on how to speak for the radio?
Then there are those non-news oriented stories, which are read aloud by the writer in front of an audience. They are inevitably perfectly captured bits of time, a distilled essence of the writer that makes the listener smile in recognition, or weep for the brave person speaking. Often there will be laughter and tears engendered in the listener during the same sentence.
The writer is always wry, dry, and terribly witty; and maybe a little, but not too, precious. They hold up their own quirks and foibles for us to laugh at, as well as the shortcomings of those around them. They spill their secrets out into the world without a care for who (whom?) may be listening. Secrets of a love affair gone awry, or the challenges they face with an arm that doesn’t work, or the constant heartbreak when they think of the child they had to give up for adoption, or the ugliness of living as a civilian in a war zone. Invariably there is a perfect sound bite to capture their experiences.
(Alas, I don’t have a picture of a sound bite. Enjoy the photo of a summer day at the beach. Imagine yourself in the chair, with a loved one next to you, beverage of choice in hand. Ahhh….)
(Okay, and we’re back.)
I wonder how those writers can take the vividness of what is happening to and around them and put them in such sound bites? Words that both distance themselves from the experience, and yet draw their listeners in to the sturm und drang of their world? I have a hard enough time as it is getting my fictional worlds to spin right; turning the spotlight on my own world is not so easy.
My life isn’t a sound bite. It can’t be encapsulated in a smart turn of phrase, or by an evocative strain of music. My life, like most people’s, is messy, full of abundant love, chaotic, wonder-filled, frustrating and dirty in absolutely every gorgeous sense of the word and yet – it defies simple definition.
In spite of my lack of a sound-bite, I’m opening a part of my private life to the world. I’m starting an intimate and irregular series of posts tomorrow, titled The Uterus Chronicles. If you come back to check it out, I’d appreciate it if you would pretend some soothing, cultured female voice were reading it in your ear.
Someone like Mara Liasson, perhaps.
Until tomorrow – bring your opinions!