Sunday, December 12, 2010

This I Believe

National Public Radio (NPR) had a series called This I Believe, which ran from 2005 to 2009.  It was "based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries — anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived."  Two books of essays came from the most recent series.  A few months ago, I was given a copy of This I Believe (2006), and this week I borrowed This I Believe II (2008) from my library.  Three quotes stick out for me from this second collection of essays.

Number 1 — "Sticking My Nose in the World's Business" by Brigid Daull Brockway (pp. 38-40):
I believe in sticking my nose into other people's business.

When I was a teenager, a man I knew killed his son and himself. On the TV news the neighbors were shocked that something like this would happen here, and they had no idea the family was in such trouble.

It was a lie. We all knew what that man did to his kids. ... I helped kill that kid, like everyone else, in the name of minding my own business.  (p. 38)
Read the whole essay and/or listen to Brigid read it by clicking this link to NPR.  It was aired on NPR's All Things Considered on February 11, 2008.  And now for the fun part -- Brigid's blog, "On Words," has been on my sidebar for months, under "Blogs I Read."  But I didn't know about her essay on NPR and in the book until this week.  I think this is fantastic and told her so on her current post, What I've Learned.  Way to go, Brigid!

Number 2 — "The Deeper Well of Memory" by Christine Cleary (pp. 56-58):
I believe there is a difference between memory and remembering.  Remembering has to do with turning the oven off before leaving the house, but memory is nurtured by emotion.  It springs from a deeper well, safe from dementia and the passage of time.  (p. 58)
Number 3 — "We Never Go Away" by Dennis Downey (pp. 68-71):
I believe that a book is a box because a book carries something from some one person to another and because it is used (and can be used) to carry ideas across time.  Which is how ideas build up.  (p. 70)
Even though I haven't finished the first book, I highly recommend both of them to you.  Each essay is around 300 words, short enough to read while waiting or when you don't want to start something long and involved at bedtime.  Next time, I'll share quotes from the first of the two books.  I rate each of them 9 of 10, an excellent book.


June said...

I don't recall the series, but you've certainly made me want to get to know it. Wonderful tidbits of wisdom!

Helen's Book Blog said...

I love this series on NPR and that first quote you posted is haunting. I also love the Story Corps on NPR where regular people have conversations with loved ones. I get to hear that one on the way to work each Friday and I am guaranteed to tear up!