I’m humbled today that my “This I Believe” essay is featured on the site’s homepage, along with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. Totally blown away by that, actually. Who knew when I wrote that nine years ago it would still remain relevant and even better, become widely read?
I was surprised to see a note a few weeks ago from Dan Gediman, the Executive Director of This I Believe, asking me if I’d like to record the essay. I did, of course, but being the dorky introvert I am I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. He was wonderful in his suggestions, and even gave me an option where I could do it in the comfort of my own home. That was music to my ears! I’ve done studio recordings many times in the past, but I’m so comfortable in my office and felt it was the best option for this particular essay.
First thing was to turn my space into a mini-recording studio. That meant making sure all echos and background noise were dealt with. The Schnoodle needed to be keep outside my office for awhile. Normally she sleeps (and barks!) in here with me.
She was very angry with me about that! I needed to reward her with extra treats.
We also added blankets to help absorb some of the noise.
Lastly, per Dan’s suggestion we turned the heat way down so it wouldn’t kick on while I was recording. He also gave me step by step instructions on where to hold the recording device, how to pace myself, and so on. It also helps that my hubs directs this sort of thing in his job so he helped set things up, too.
Once all that was done, I set about reading my essay. It was weird to do, actually. Even when I first wrote it a decade ago, I was writing about ancient history in my life… dealing with my father’s words… overcoming the negative patterns in my life…. and reading this all again was kind of emotional for me but at the same time foreign. I stopped the first recording cold because I thought it was sounded too emotional. I didn’t want to sound as if this all had defeated me because it hadn’t. I took a deep breath, and read it again and this time I read it all the way through without stopping. (I’m told this is rare with recordings like this.) After that it became a technical thing, just one more thing I was doing to tell my story and try and encourage those who had experienced the same thing.
But something interesting happened after that. When I played it back for my husband, who stood over me, he put his hand on my shoulder. It made him emotional. Same with my mom. Then a friend, and another. All of these folks had read my essay years and years ago but hearing my voice tell this story gave them a different experience. It was richer for them, more moving. I’ve always been a written versus spoken word person, but seeing their response helped me understand why the “This I Believe” people like to have these essays recorded. These are stories that have greater impact when read by the author.
When I was finished reading, of course, I hated the way I sounded. LOL! Isn’t that always the way. But I won’t criticize myself or judge. It’s a recording that I hope will encourage anyone who has struggled with this issue. Plain and simple. I don’t need to be perfect for that to happen.
Finally, Dan suggested I included a picture from my childhood to help illustrate how young I was when all this was going on. I chose this one:
I have very few pictures of myself from when I was a kid but I always liked that one because it’s one of the few where I’m tan. haha! I never get that anymore.
A very big thank you to all the readers who have made this essay popular, and big waves of encouragement and blessings to those still struggling.
Susan L. Lipson says
Congratulations on your poignant “This I Believe” essay, which came to my email today as a subscriber to the “This I Believe” website. I looked you up because I liked you via your writing style, and I am happy to see we have a mutual friend, Cheri Williams, whom I know through SCBWI, Ellen Hopkins’ Ventana Sierra, and Facebook. I always try to let other writers whose words resonate with me that they have connected with a fellow writer. That IS why we write–to connect–and I know how much I value hearing from other writers, especially, regarding my work. So thanks for connecting! And may the Flow with you! –Susan L. Lipson
Thanks so much, Susan! I appreciate those kind words. Blessings!
Good Morning Sunshine!
Cherie Burbach says