Thursday, November 25, 2010

Listen up

A lot of the drive from Lake Placid back home is through Vermont. And in a lot of Vermont, the only radio option is NPR.

You know what NPR loooooves? Storycorps's National Day of Listening. And that love proves to be contagious. You spend all day listening to good stories told by good storytellers on the radio, and you start thinking of the storytellers in your own life. And you think about the amazing stories that are so far unrecorded. And you wind up at Walmart on the second Thanksgiving Day in a row, this time buying a digital recorder and batteries (OK, and pajamas, because you forgot those, but whatever).

And you bring the voice recorder to Thanksgiving, and you're delighted by the fact that your family stories include the Vichy government and arguments about Inuit women chewing shoe leather and what it feels like to remove a brain from a cadaver and the fact that a five-year-old can spell her friend's name (which is more impressive because that friend is named "Ellerbe"). And you suddenly stop being able to think about talking with your family without a recorder running, though you will probably be able to do it some time.

Day 24 of my month of gratitude: I am thankful for stories and storytelling traditions that I get to be part of, including but not limited to my family's dinner table and spending some part of every Thanksgiving scanning the radio for Arlo Guthrie — found him this year. If you can find a link to the excellent interview I heard on NPR, you should send it to me. But meanwhile, here's what I thought I was looking for until I found the excellent interview and all the talk about the National Day of Listening.

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