T'is the season and all -- or it will be in about a week.
Today's news has nothing to do with animal rights and everything to do with a little essay I wrote on a lark for the NPR show This I Believe. In fact, I'd written it months before I'd even considered giving up animal products, but I thought y'all might allow me this little break from routine.
I've always loved this show -- the way it archives deep beliefs from regular people. It's very similar to the StoryCorps, which is also fascinating. I suppose that's what makes blogs so fun too -- you get a glimpse into the not-so-ordinary lives whirring about you and the learned truths find a way of settling gently into your own life.
Anyhow, long after I'd forgotten that January 2011 submission, I got an email this morning from the show saying my essay had been reviewed and added to the database of other stories on their website. So while I'm not famous or rich now -- in fact, I'm just one of thousands -- I'm pretty tickled in the same way The Old Man was in the movie A Christmas Story upon using his "brain power." In Darren McGavin's words, "I won! I won! I won! ... Why it's a major award!" (If you don't get this reference, get thee to your Netflix account and order the movie NOW.)
So here's the link! Hope you like it!
If you're interested in writing a piece yourself, here are the guidelines from their website. It's quite a fun challenge and it's cool to have a piece of your family history forever saved.
This I Believe Essay-Writing GuidelinesWe invite you to contribute to this project by writing and submitting your own statement of personal belief. We understand how challenging this is—it requires such intimacy that no one else can do it for you. To guide you through this process, we offer these suggestions:
Tell a story: Be specific. Take your belief out of the ether and ground it in the events of your life. Consider moments when belief was formed or tested or changed. Think of your own experience, work, and family, and tell of the things you know that no one else does. Your story need not be heart-warming or gut-wrenching—it can even be funny—but it should be real. Make sure your story ties to the essence of your daily life philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs.
Be brief: Your statement should be between 350 and 500 words. That’s about three minutes when read aloud at your natural pace.
Name your belief: If you can’t name it in a sentence or two, your essay might not be about belief. Also, rather than writing a list, consider focusing on one core belief, because three minutes is a very short time.
Be positive: Please avoid preaching or editorializing. Tell us what you do believe, not what you don’t believe. Avoid speaking in the editorial “we.” Make your essay about you; speak in the first person.
Be personal: Write in words and phrases that are comfortable for you to speak. We recommend you read your essay aloud to yourself several times, and each time edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone, and story that truly echo your belief and the way you speak.
For this project, we are also guided by the original This I Believe series and the producers’ invitation to those who wrote essays in the 1950s. Their advice holds up well and we are abiding by it. Please consider it carefully in writing your piece.
In introducing the original series, host Edward R. Murrow said, “Never has the need for personal philosophies of this kind been so urgent.” We would argue that the need is as great now as it was 50 years ago. We are eager for your contribution.
And, of course, I leave you with some entertainment.