Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Become You. The NPR version of You.
Pretty much all of my adult life, I've been looking to make my life circumstances align with my deeply-held idea about myself as an avid NPR listener. Only one other-- brief, beautiful-- time was I able to make it a real fabric of my day. That was when I was working my worst job to date: as studio assistant to a world-famous lighting designer in New York.
For the months I had this part time gig (before she flipped out and called me incompetent for not reading her mind) I came to associate the morning pleasant lull of WNYC with the lighting designer being in a good mood. When she was travelling, I'd flip it on just for my own pleasure while I watered her ficus plants and cacti. Before that, in my childhood, I associated it with night driving and my father and laughing to Prairie Home Companion. Now, I equate it with the mental state I'm after.
But Los Angeles. Oh, Los Angeles and my sunny Hollywood spot. My home now was made for NPR. Just today, my best friend Emily said, "Don't you love the NPR in LA? KCRW?" And I do! It's one of the few realities that live up to my fantasies of it. In my mind, I'd flip on an old radio to KCRW on misty Los Angeles mornings while I make coffee. I sit at my little kitchen table in my robe, taking my sweet time, and I laugh and am enlightened on all foreign policy and art issues I care about, but feel sometimes overwhelmed by, and I learn about all kinds of new things to hold my interest. The only difference between my fantasy and the reality is that I listen on my NPR iphone app. Sometimes I pick and choose stories and sometimes I flip to WNYC when I miss New York. But I am utterly happy when I do this.
One of my favorites is The Moth. True Stories told live by artists and interesting people ranging from relative obscurity to relative and/or fading fame. Storytelling. Mmm. "Storytelling for everyday raconteurs." You go, Peabody judges.
It's like a dream come true. They're all very real and basic and often simple and always poignant while revealing some mono no aware thing about living. Recently, I laughed in every room of my house while writer Walter Mosley told a wonderful and very real story about identifying language and its meaning. It is a delight. I cannot recommend enough.
Also check out my old friend Suzanne Vega on Stage Fright.
Sometimes, I lament that we have no BBC. But then I remember NPR and I am soothed again.