Now and again this old print journalist steps into radioland and puts her voice out on the airwaves. I did that very thing this morning when the smoke from a still-uncontrolled fire that has taken most of the town of Paradise clouded our Sacramento skies. Two universities canceled classes because of the foul air (my college did not, and big props to the students who came to my classes anyway; quite a few opted not to).
But I had the lovely experience of being interviewed by Randol White on the “Insight” program this morning about Marie Reynolds’ book of poetry, “Seaworthy.” Randol, who read the book the night before the interview (how many times have I done that very thing?) had good questions and was an engaging presence in the studio. And I got to talk about my friend, the poet, who felt very present with me as I read the title poem into the big mic.
Here’s the link to that interview: http://www.capradio.org/news/insight/2018/11/13/the-journey-behind-publishing-marie-reynolds-book-of-poetry-seaworthy/
Or you can click here and land on it, too.
Me, I’ll listen to myself in a couple of days. While I’m fine talking on the air, listening to my recorded voice is always jarring to us humans. As I told my students in class today, we can’t hear how we sound to others; it’s quite different with our voices rattling around in the echo chamber of our heads. And when we do hear how we sound, it’s always a bit of a shock.
I well remember the student who ran the Sac State radio station when I was the editor of the State Hornet newspaper advising me (who appeared occasionally to talk about campus news) that I “didn’t have a voice for radio.” I took that to heart, but really, I didn’t mind: I was always headed in the direction of print journalism. You got to write more for newspapers and magazines, and, as you can tell, I’m all about the writing.
Still, I think I did Marie proud in advance of the debut of “Seaworthy” this weekend, Saturday, Nov. 17. River Rock Books co-publisher Katie McCleary and I will host the reading/tribute along with Marie’s partner Rose Varesio. It will begin at 1 p.m. at the 916 Ink Imaginarium, 3301 37th Ave, Sacramento, CA 95824 (off Franklin Boulevard between 36th and 37th avenues; parking on both 36th and 37th avenues). Free admission and good snacks. If you’re in the area and available, join us.
Here’s the book’s title poem, the one I read on the air:
dreaming, I step again into the small boat
that carried us out and watch the bank receding—“
—Natasha Trethewey, “Elegy”
My daughter calls to offer me some
sweet words of support. I tell her the days are okay but nights
I wake in fear, practice deep breathing until dreaming
rises like sea water and I sleep. In our first house I
notched proof of her life—a tiny gouge, a pencil line, dates in stair-step
fashion. And in the basement, which I visit again
in dreams, her father builds the boat we climbed into
together. The polished mahogany gunwale, the
lapstrake planks painted white—a small
endeavor, just eight feet from stern to bow—the boat
he finished on a brisk spring day, that
we lifted, carried
across the grassy dunes. Three of us,
bearing all that weight, leaving traces in our wake. We sailed out
further than I ever imagined and
turned to look back, gauge the distance, watch
the changing sky. I tell her I do not think we are alone in this world though the
shore is all we know, the line of cottonwood trees, the sloping bank
(from “Seaworthy,” by Marie Reynolds © 2018, River Rock Books)