Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another Evening with Ira

Last night my mom and I went to hear Ira Glass speak again, this time at at the Wharton Center on the campus of Michigan State. Bruce and I bought the tickets the instant I heard he would be there because Bruce missed him when my mom and I went to see him at Borders in Ann Arbor. Then Bruce found out that he had to work at WDIV because there was a Pistons game. So of course I called my Mom to see if she wanted to spend another evening with Ira Glass, she said yes. I feel bad that Bruce had to miss him again, but I was glad to have my mom's company.

This is the third time I have gone to see Ira Glass speak, each time I have enjoyed it. Some things about the talk have remained consistent. He always takes times to talk to journalism students. He tells them about "the gap." It's the space between their taste and their actual abilities. I have used this in my classes with my students, and with myself. The other thing he stresses that practice makes perfect (ok maybe not perfect but better.) He says that the only way to get better is by setting goals and deadlines and creating things. I always leave these lectures with hundreds of ideas of things I want to create, now I just need to set deadlines to create them.

He also spoke of the power of narrative. He said that all our English teachers fail us with the dreaded "topic sentence." Yes, he claims, and I agree that good storytelling is often doomed by the driving need to have a topic sentence. We are all taught to write with a "topic sentence" or "thesis sentence" and then follow it up with supporting facts. I wonder if that is why I got a bad grade in 9th grad honors English, my inability to use the topic sentence effectively.

I agree that stories are powerful. I know that is why I listen to his radio show, "This American Life." It's an hour of great story telling. I left his lecture empowered and excited about creating something new. As I approach a new step in my life - 30 years-old - I sometimes think that there aren't many forks left in the road and I am headed in the direction I am headed in for the rest of my life (which wouldn't be that bad.) But then I married this guy named Bruce, who is a dreamer and it has rubbed off on me a little and I wonder, will there be a day when I will work for a show like this American Life - telling stories. Or maybe I will be featured on the show because of my blog writing. So when I left last night I was re-energized thinking there are still great things ahead for me creatively. Maybe a book, maybe I will write for a magazine, maybe I will be an intern at "this American Life." Who knows?

After the lecture (which was 2 hours) we meet my dad at the Okemos Denny's for a quick bite to eat. It was nice hanging out with my parents on a Saturday night in East Lansing. Next week that time I will be in Prague hanging out with Bruce, Meghan & Karyn.

In other news I didn't die at the Flushing Township run, however, I didn't break any land speed records. I average about 9:55 miles. I wasn't last in my age group, which is always positive. We even ran into my Aunt Val. We had fun. Tony and Robert finished in about 2 hours. Way to go guys a half-marathon is a big accomplishment. Next running event for the club is the marathon in Traverse City: Bruce, Karyn and I plan on running the 10k, Robert and Tony will run the full marathon.

1 comment:

~Lori said...

Hi- we missed you last weekend. Sorry to hear you were sick! We all had it the week before and it knocked us all out. Hopefully you are feeling better.
Way to go on the running, everyone!