Radio address for May 4, 2013. What it feels like not to have words for things, or to suddenly acquire them.
The unannounced poem in the middle is The Truth by Randall Jarrell.
Radio address for April 13, 2013. A report on the weather: of the neighborhood, of the mind. Mention is made of our April snowstorm.
From The Dogwood Tree, by John Updike:
Goethe — probably among others — says to be wary of our youthful wishes, for in maturity we are apt to get them. I go back, now, to Pennsylvania, and on one of the walls of the house in which my parents now live there hangs a photograph of myself as a boy. I am smiling and staring with clear eyes at something in the corner of the room. I stand before that photograph, and am disappointed to receive no flicker, not the shadow of a flicker, of approval, of gratitude. The boy continues to smile forever at the corner of the room, beyond me. The boy is not a ghost to me, he is real to me; it is I who am a ghost to him. I, in my present state, was one of the ghosts that haunted his childhood. Like some phantom conjured by this child from a glue bottle, I have executed his commands; acquired pencils, paper, and an office. Now I wait apprehensively for his next command, or at least a nod of appreciation, and he smiles through me, as if I am already transparent with failure.
The end music is Welcome Home, Son by Radical Face. I first ran across it on Internet radio several months ago and was disappointed to learn it had already been used in the soundtracks of several films, tv shows and commercials. However, I feel the poetry in the song is good enough to be worth rescuing from brand entanglements, and felt this was as appropriate a context as any for doing so.
Sheets are swaying from an old clothesline
Like a row of captured ghosts over old dead grass
Was never much but we made the most
Ships are launching from my chest
Some have names but most do not
If you find one, please let me know what piece I’ve lost
Peel the scars from off my back
I don’t need them anymore
You can throw them out or keep them in your mason jars
I’ve come home
As the original music video makes clear, this is in fact a song about returning to the haunted tatters of one’s childhood home. Ships are launching from my chest…
Radio address for April 6, 2013. We contemplate the value of stolen and saved moments doing what you love in between work and sleep.
This address was partly inspired by a satirical article at The Onion that is so depressing and close to home that I won’t even bother linking it here.
Music is The Journey Home by Phil Keaggy.
Radio address for March 23, 2013. Running to work in the morning with a heavy bag on your shoulder, and stopping by the train station.
The ending section is one of the new chapters from the third and latest release of my book Noise of Creation, which came out last Sunday. You can also read the notes for this release on my website, or in the appendix at the back of the book itself.
Mention is made of Chuck Close, who is known for his large-scale portraits.
Mention is also made of my Alphasmart Neo writing machine. I like writing by hand, but the only weakness is that you have to re-type it into a computer if you’re ever going to use it. I thought about buying an iPad for focused writing, but finally found that a used Alphasmart would do everything I needed it to at a much lower price, and offer fewer distractions. They have a few on Amazon, but eBay seems to have better selection and prices at this time.
Radio address for Saturday, March 16, 2013. We all spread out a little bit more with the passing of time and the coming of extra daylight. Mention is made of the novel Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell.
I talk facetiously for a bit about how horrible Daylight Savings Time is, meaning to make the point, of course, that it isn’t actually that bad. All things considered, and taking one thing with another, I’m in favour of it for many of the same reasons given in this blog post. But of course I can see how you might find it silly and annoying if you live further south where daylight isn’t as precious.
In connection with the theme of people spreading out over time, there’s a short essay I wrote at my website, called Tables. I thought of adapting it for this podcast but ended up not having to; give it a read if you haven’t already.
We’ll return to the normal cover art once the snow melts.
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