The Middle Distance, 7.12.13: Words for Nostalgia
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

There is a joke about a young man entering heaven. As he approaches the pearly gates, he sees a group of angels bound in chains. The young man asks St. Peter why and St. Peter replies: “Oh, they’re […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 6.28.13: Hey Yawwwwwwl!
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

A friend asked me yesterday what’s been in the news. She had not been paying attention. Let’s see, I said. More killing in Syria, more guns flowing in so even more will be killed. Edward Snowden is holed up […]

Continue Reading

The Midddle Distance 6.21.13: A Week in Summer
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

The week began with peonies. I counted 50 buds on the largest bush in the garden. They seemed to burst from their tight round buds all at once.

“Look at the girls in their ball gowns,” my […]

Continue Reading

 

The Middle Distance 6.14.13: When the Lights Come Up
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

For the last six weeks, I’ve been taking a crash course in documentary filmmaking. I thought I’d be learning some technical terminology, a little technique, and a bit about how funding, marketing and distribution […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 6.7.13: Songs Arise
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Call it whatever you want: sing-along, community sing, hootenanny. Singing together as humans has evolved as a tool of survival. Tribal histories were passed down in song. Urgent messages of pending invasions were delivered in the code language of […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 5.31.13: A Revelation
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

For several years now, out here in the middle distance, I have made regular pilgrimages to Louisville, Kentucky, where at age 50, I entered graduate school. Coming to Kentucky, the state of my birth, was a homecoming of sorts […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 5.24.13: At Their Own Hands
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

As Memorial Day approaches, far too many American families are not thinking about what they’ll cook on the grill, but how they will remember their military dead, particularly the growing number who died at their own […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 5.17.13: The Fitzgerald Swoon
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

When I was 17, someone made me read The Great Gatsby. I don’t remember the English teacher’s name, but I do remember the reverence and the slight hint of a romantic crush in her voice when she introduced […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 5.10.13: A Mother’s Day Letter to My Children
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Hey, y’all:

I’m writing because Sunday is Mother’s Day, and at this late date, out here in the middle distance, I am still as confounded by the holiday as I was when you were […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 5.3.13: Potluck Reunion

Here are the mothers, hands on hips, surveying the table for space, considering what, if anything, might be missing. Aunt Erma presides, my grandmother’s sister who still lives on these remaining acres of family land. Aunts and uncles and cousins have come from as far as the […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 4.26.13: April
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

If you could see the snow flowing down past the bedroom window, silencing the mid-April morning, you might not know where you are. Then you would remember: you are at home at the foot of the Colorado Rocky Mountains where […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 4.12.13: The Seed Underground
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

I bought this book on impulse. There was that charming cover with earthen bowls nestling beans and seeds and vegetables, with labels handwritten in pencil. It was April and the urge to put seeds in the ground had […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 4.5.13: She and I
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

She is up before dawn every day, no matter the season. While the rest of us grab a last few minutes of sleep, she pulls on her puffy blue robe, pads barefoot across the house to the front […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 3.29.13: Anthems of the Resurrection
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Last Sunday, Christian churches around the world remembered Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. Revelers along the road spread palm fronds and, according to the New Testament, many laid their coats on the road to […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 3.22.13:

Over the last 13 years, there have been three brief moments when the world grew so quiet I could nearly hear my own heartbeat. The first was in 2000 when I read Colorado author Kent Haruf’s deceptively simple and deeply humane novel Plainsong. The second was in 2004, […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 3.15.13: An Old, Familiar Sleeplessness
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

On the road to the mountains, March clouds hang heavy with the promise of snow. Winding past Florissant and Lake George and across the flat expanse of South Park, columns of sunlight peek out then disappear. Hoosier Pass […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 2.24.12: Sweet Old Lady
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

I want to apologize for ever referring to someone as a “sweet old lady.” Forgive me, sisters. I wasn’t thinking when I did it, and I hadn’t yet reached the age where I could be described by that cloying […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 3.1.13: I Spy
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

When I was 9, I decided to be a spy. This was not what I wanted to be when I grew up, but right then and there, in my sleepy, southern Kentucky hometown where it seemed nothing ever […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 2.22.13:Age-Rage-Oholic
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

It is time to confess. I am an age-rage-oholic.

What’s that, you say? It’s the unreasonable creeping of heat up my spine and into my face when I see that someone young and bright and attractive has accomplished at, say, age 30, […]

Continue Reading


The Middle Distance 2.15.13: Perfect Day
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

I caught up with a friend, recently, who after many years of being single is remarrying this summer. Following a period of solitude and consideration of what she wanted in life, she decided to actively pursue a […]

Continue Reading

The Midddle Distance 2.8.13: Both Sides of the Octagon
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

I can only imagine the scene on Tuesday afternoon at the grand old Orpheum Theater in downtown Phoenix. Not a traveling Broadway show or a concert, but a memorial service for a local man, Mark Hummels, […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 2.1.13
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

Donald Anderson has done what most writers and would-be writers wish they had done: kept all the snippets and notes and observations of a lifetime — some funny, some profound, some more developed than others, some mere grace notes — and […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 1.25.13: Songs of Innocence & Experience
[Audio clip: view full post to listen]

The older I get, the more I understand that the personal stories I tell are factually true only in part, and that how I choose to tell them says a lot about who I am […]

Continue Reading

News

AFP/Getty Images
June 27, 2017 | NPR · A statement says the observed “activities” recall those before an April 4 strike that killed civilians, including children. It warns the Assad government that it would “pay a heavy price.”
 

AP
June 26, 2017 | NPR · Pundits and prognosticators make predictions all the time: about everything from elections, to sports, to global affairs. This week, we explore why they’re often wrong, and how we can all do better.
 

Pew Research Center; Brittany Mayes/NPR
June 26, 2017 | NPR · At the end of Obama’s term, 64 percent of respondents said they were confident in the U.S. president, compared to 22 percent now. Now only two countries’ respondents prefer Trump over Obama.
 

Arts & Life

Netflix
June 26, 2017 | NPR · Titus Andromedon “doesn’t have money to pay the rent; he can’t keep a job; he gets racially profiled,” Burgess says. “I mean, so what that he … wears women’s clothes?”
 

Getty Images
June 26, 2017 | NPR · The first Harry Potter book came out 20 years ago today. One year later, in 1998, was the first time we mentioned the book, on All Things Considered. Here’s Margot Adler’s piece in its entirety.
 

Illustration by CJ Riculan
June 26, 2017 | NPR · In NPR’s Elise Tries series, correspondent Elise Hu tries out new experiences in East Asia. In this episode from Seoul, K-pop dance steps prove too complicated for completion.
 

Music

Getty Images for BET
June 26, 2017 | NPR · No matter how loved or loathed, last night’s show proves why it’s often the most talked-about night in pop.
 

YouTube
June 26, 2017 | NPR · A partnership between the building’s realty trust, reunion outfit Dead & Company and Citi Field had the Empire State Building’s lights dancing along with the crowd of thousands.
 

June 26, 2017 | FA · Since the 1990s, New York trumpet player Steven Bernstein has been the ringleader of this occasional quartet. This recent album was recorded at a home studio and its rough-hewn quality is just right.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab