The Middle Distance 1.18.13: The Only Possible Grace

My friend Cate said she squirmed through the first half of Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen’s comedy film The Guilt Trip, seeing a bit too much of herself in Streisand’s character, Joyce, an unrelentingly overbearing Jewish mother.

My sister and I saw the film […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 1.11.13: All The Light We Used to Have

Nearly every wall of my mother’s house is lined with tables, bookcases, or a chest with drawers. And every time I come for a stay, I go through all of those drawers, one at a time.

Before the sun is up, Mama picks […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 1.4.13: Blue Nights

Here is an African proverb that showed up in my email inbox on December 31: “Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 12.21.12: Reweaving the Social Fabric

This week’s mini-blizzard provided respite I’d been hoping for — no appointments, too cold to even think of going outside voluntarily, and streets packed with snow. I stayed in with the dogs, reading and cleaning and baking a dense chocolate cake scented with cloves […]

Continue Reading


The Middle Distance 12/14/12

Last night on a downtown street, someone busted out the front passenger window of my car to dig around inside it. Whoever it was — a passerby who, conveniently, had a brick or a big rock in his hand — found a wallet stuffed with essential identification, […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 12.7.12: The Image Becomes a Phantom

In her treatise on photography, Susan Sontag said, “Today everything exists to end in a photograph.” Witness any public event in the 21st century, crowd members’ arms extended outward with smartphones pointed in every direction and understand how prophetic that statement was way back in […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 11.30.12: Unknown Woman

She resides in a painting — a simple stretched canvas, unframed — emerging from a slate blue background, her hair and dress the same silver-gray. Her breasts sag low, as if from the natural weight of years.

She hung in a corner of the bedroom wherever I lived […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 11.16.12: The Scent of Smoke

It is nearly Thanksgiving and in the early mornings my turn-of-the-20th century neighborhood smells like wood smoke. Nights are cold, the neighbors cranking up their fireplaces and wood stoves. A deadly summer wildfire season has put the fear of God and flame in most […]

Continue Reading

The Middle Distance 11.9.12: “Honey, It’s Jest Foo-ood”

In a parallel life, I think I might have been a cafeteria lady, baking industrial sized trays of yeast rolls every morning in a stainless steel kitchen, ladeling out clouds of mashed potatoes and smothering them with milk gravy.
Last Sunday I spent […]

Continue Reading

In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn wonders where to best place her worry during the Frankenstorm.

Continue Reading

In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn embraces the obsessive mathematics of aging.

Continue Reading

In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn tugs at the long tail of gun violence and its current literature.

Continue Reading

In this week’s Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn ruminates on the struggle for faith.

Continue Reading

In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn gathers seeds from her garden and remembers the autumn of her twins’ birth.

Continue Reading

In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn celebrates locavore and farmer Dan Hobbs on the occasion of his Palmer Land Trust Conservation Award.

Continue Reading

In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn sees her late sister through the eyes of a ghost costume.

Continue Reading

In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn walks back into her second grade classroom.

Continue Reading

In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn unearths a moment in civil rights history that happened right under her nose.

Continue Reading

In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn looks through the blurry lens of a toy camera into the past.

Continue Reading

In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn stares into the eyes of a toothless flasher in a dirty raincoat.

Continue Reading

In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn spreads her toes across years of shoeless memories.

Continue Reading

In this week’s episode of The Middle Distance, Kathryn Eastburn ties two summer films together with the unlikely string of far-fetched fantasy.

Continue Reading


(Cybil Shepherd, center, after winning the Miss Teenage Mephmis Pageant in 1966)

The Middle Distance 8.5.11: What Was I Thinking?

What was I thinking? I was 15 years old and had moved with my family from the small town of Jackson to the big city of Memphis. I didn’t know anyone, […]

Continue Reading

News

Getty Images
May 2, 2016 | NPR · In what’s being hailed as a “miracle,” Leicester City, a small club from central England that started the season at 5000-1 odds of winning the prestigious title, has clinched the trophy.
 

May 2, 2016 | NPR · Environmentalists opposed to a US-EU trade deal say documents they leaked prove corporations have too much say. But EU officials say that’s “flatly wrong.”
 

May 2, 2016 | NPR · The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom says the refugee crisis, political strife and economic dislocation all contributed to a worldwide deterioration of religious freedom last year.
 

Arts & Life

Edsel Little/Flickr
May 2, 2016 | NPR · Most James Beard awards go to haute cuisine, but one prize recognizes classic neighborhood joints. And increasingly, the winners are immigrants whose cultures haven’t yet dissolved in the melting pot.
 

AP
May 2, 2016 | NPR · Some say the Nightly Show host utterly bombed his routine at Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Others say he simply had a different crowd in mind.
 

May 2, 2016 | NPR · Simon de Pury has been called both the Mick Jagger and the Peter Pan of auctions. Dealer, collector, curator, schmoozer, his clients include billionaires, rock stars and royalty. He dishes plenty about the art market in his new book, The Auctioneer, and he explains the rise and fall of his own auction house, Phillips de Pury.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
May 2, 2016 | WXPN · Hear a stomping blues-rock duo that sounds like a two-person Led Zeppelin reincarnation.
 

Getty Images
May 2, 2016 | FA · John Doe, Exene Cervenka and Dave Alvin of X join Fresh Air to discuss punk’s early days. “Anybody could belong to punk that wanted to be there,” Cervenka says. “[It] didn’t matter how old you were.”
 

NPR
May 2, 2016 | NPR · Watch the Grammy-winning Chicago sextet perform new music by David Lang, Bryce Dessner and Robert Honstein.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab