This will be overkill for those of you with whom I’m friended on Facebook. Apologies. Feel free to shift into Long-Suffering Mode here.
However, since there are still twelve people on the planet who don’t have Facebook accounts, I thought I’d share one of my recent happinesses here, too.
A few weeks ago, I received a message from the producer of a show on Duluth Public Radio (affiliated with the University of Minnesota-Duluth), saying he’d gotten my name from a mutual friend and asking if I’d be willing to read something from my blog on the program called Women’s Words. This program airs twice each Sunday afternoon, embedded into a music show featuring lots of Shawn Colvin, Ani DiFranco, Lucy Kaplansky, Dar Williams.
If you like your Birkenstocks and are adept at braiding (hair, rugs, what have you), you should tune into KUMD for the Women’s Music Show. To perk up the mindful folk tunes, a mini-program called Women’s Words is inserted into breaks between Neko Case and Fiona Apple. Usually, Women’s Words features Minnesota women who are poets. But a blog essay? The producer thought that would work just fine.
He gave me complete leeway with my selection, which meant I could choose from any of roughly 500 past blog posts. Knowing full well I could spend days mired down in making a choice, I just scrolled through the last few months on the blog and decided to go with this fairly-recent post. It was relatively free of swearsies and references to private parts, so it fit the bill.
Of course, once I printed it and did a test read, the thing clocked in at over 8 minutes.
I do like to go on.
You may have noticed.
The program generally runs 3-4 minutes, so there was some whittling to do. After a few hours of editing (changing the title alone cut off nineteen seconds), having cut out every extraneous thought, word, and bit of nonsense, I had it down to about 4.5 minutes.
Would this fly, I asked Producer?
Yes. Yes, it would.
The next step was to get myself to the studio on the appointed day, at the appointed hour. Anyone with any familiarity with me will know that this was the biggest challenge of the entire project. Not only can I get lost between my bed and the front door, I’d be eleven minutes late even if you walked me there yourself, holding my hand.
Fortunately, I found the UMD campus, found the building, found the basement studio, and found the tall, bearded producer. We sat and chatted for a few minutes before he migrated to his glass booth. After clapping on huge headphones and making sure my microphone was at a 45 degree angle to my mouth, we talked a bit more to each other in hushed, controlled voices.
“Hey, I feel like this is an SNL skit about public radio,” I told him. “Have you seen those? With Alec Baldwin?”
“Do you need me to do a bit about ‘Schweaty Balls’ now?” Producer responded.
“Only if I can pretend I’m a guest who’s made muffins. Here is my muffin. Isn’t it fluffy? Everyone loves a fluffy muffin. Andddddd scene!”
With that kind of warm-up, how could I not be ready to read?
Truth is, I’m pretty much always ready to read aloud. My dream job would be Audio Book Reader, in fact. I couldn’t do all the accents or keep track of the characters, necessarily, but I would toss in an occasional brogue followed, inexplicably, by some drunken hillbilly. Give me two minutes, and listeners would no longer be invested in the plot but, rather, would be willing the random appearance of a helium-voiced elf.
Anyhow, I read. And it was fun. With digital editing, Producer could fix any word stumble or verbal biff. When I finished, there was one word that needed re-recording, and then I was out of there. Adrenalized. Smiling. Wishing for a career in radio, even as a sound effects lady. I make a mean Horsie Clip-Clop by slapping my legs, and my Wind in the Pines mouth blowing makes listeners feel like they’re out for a moonlit ski.
So here you go. If you’re interested, or if you haven’t listened already, this is your chance: