Sunday, October 28, 2007

This I Believe

Texas is glorious in October. The days are brisk, but not shivery cold, and the daylight seems brighter than at any time during the rest of the year. I love to be outdoors and spend as much time as possible in the yard or just walking.

Since my neighborhood is dog-crazy, there is always someone's pooch happy to be borrowed by a dogless person for a walk. Today I took Penny, a big yellow Lab, who was overjoyed to see me approaching her fence with a leash. We circled the neigh-
borhood, and I was reminded of how much I miss by not having
a dog. But I won't upset Tribble's last days by forcing her to deal with a new puppy.

While we walked, I listened to NPR on my Sony Walkman.

Regular readers of this blog know I love NPR. It provides much of the backdrop to my day. Whether I'm in my office at the university or in my car or at home, NPR is usually on the radio.

One of the programs I enjoy is This I Believe. The program is based on one hosted by broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow (yes, the same Edward R. Murrow played by David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck) in 1951. Murrow said the reason
he started the program was because of "...the uncertainty of
the economic future, the shadow of war, the atom bomb, army service for one's self or loved ones, the frustration of young people facing the future."

Famous and not-so-famous people wrote short essays that could be read in three and a half minutes, sharing their core beliefs. Those essays were read on the air.

According to the program's website, "[f]ifty years ago, millions
of Americans sat by their radios and listened to This I Believe.
For five minutes each day, they heard from statesmen and secre-
taries, teachers and cab drivers, all of whom spoke about their most deeply held beliefs."

If you go to the website here, you can find essays by some of the most famous people of a generation ago, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller and Harry Truman. The program ran on CBS Radio from 1951 to 1955.

This I Believe was revived in 2005 on NPR. You can read (or listen to) the modern essays here.

Since the program returned to radio, I've thought about writing an essay. This spring, NPR actively sought people in the D/FW area to contribute essays. I started one or two essays, but none felt "right." I had a lot of other things going on and finally decided to forget about the project.

Earlier this month, one of the writers' loops I belong to began discussing This I Believe. Two members shared their essays, reminding me that I had never completed one.

On my way home from work one evening last week, I had a brainstorm. I arrived home, went straight to my laptop and, in less than an hour, wrote an essay and submitted it to the program. I was surprised at how quickly they posted it on the website.

You can read my essay here.

4 comments:

Stephen Parrish said...

Wow. Powerful essay. I wanna play too.

Maya Reynolds said...

Stephen: Then get thee to www.thisibelieve.com.

I was glad I did it.

Church Lady said...

Thank you for this link! I'm going to borrow it for my blog.
I love history.

Maya Reynolds said...

CL: I love history, too. My first career was teaching high school history.