ROCK PAPER RADIO is a dispatch for misfits & unlikely optimists by your favorite hapa haole, beet-pickling, public radio nerd. It’s a weekly email newsletter and podcast that shares three curiosities every Thursday - something to hold on to (that’s the ‘rock’), something to read (that’s the ‘paper‘), and something to listen to (you guessed it, that’s the ‘radio’). Themes include but are not limited to: rebel violinists, immortal jellyfish, revolution. Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. Learn more at RockPaperRadio.com.
SOMETHING TO READ
It has come to my attention that I am married to an individual who—I can’t believe I’m writing this—CHANGES HER WORDLE START WORD EVERY DAY. I know. I know! And the thing that makes this even more chaotic, is the fact that Keri I-Just-Arranged-the-Condiments-by-Country-and-Alphabetical-Order Zierler is absolutely the most meticulous human I have ever known.
Do your tote bags need to be folded into a mug organizer for easy access? Do your t-shirts need to be rolled into little color-coordinated logs? Keri is your girl!
So you can imagine my shock when I discovered that in her Wordle playing, Keri is pure pandemonium—offering up first guesses with wild abandon and no regard for loyalty whatsoever. And so, as a sort of intervention, I made this for her and am now sharing it with all of you:
Now, if you too are a Chaotic Neutral Wordle player, please weigh in and prove me wrong—because I told Keri that she is 100% the only person on earth who does this. And in the meantime, here’s this gem of a timely plea from Sarah Schmelling for McSweeny’s: Please, world, in a time of infinite darkness, just let us have Wordle.
SOMETHING TO LISTEN TO
I recently finished reading Scott Carrier’s essay collection Running After Antelope. It broke my heart right open in the best way, so after I returned it to the library, I bought a copy to own, which I enthusiastically recommend you do too. (Should this be our RPR book club book??? Let me know what you think.)
Carrier is one of my favorite voices from public radio. He’s a producer and writer whose stories I return to over and over again. I feel like I’m sitting at a favorite dive bar with him drinking whiskey as I listen along.
I could hear his familiar voice in my head as I read the collection. Many of the essays in this book were new to me, but others were taken from pieces I’ve loved from This American Life. Like this 18-minute story, The Test, about Carrier’s stint interviewing people with schizophrenia for medical researchers after his wife and children left him.
Normally, if I’m reading an essay collection and I come across a piece I’m already familiar with, I scan it or skip it. In the case of Running After Antelope, I read every word and this story in particular was just as staggering on the page as it was in my headphones the first time. Happy listening.
SOMETHING TO HOLD ON TO
This week’s SHOT is this photo of Leila Jackson looking proudly at her mama, Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, during this week’s confirmation hearings. If a photo is worth 1000 words, this one is worth at least that, plus over 400 years.
What makes this image even more powerful, is that is was taken by New York Times photography fellow Sarahbeth Maney, who is also a Black woman breaking boundaries. Maney was recently awarded a grant from the Pulitzer Center and Diversify Photo to continue her Reclaiming Her Space: Birthing Through a Pandemic series. All the best to all three of these trailblazers.
MAIL IS LIKE EMAIL FOR REAL LIFE
That’s a wrap for issue 76, friends. Thanks for reading, listening, holding on.
If you didn’t get a chance to check out our testimonials and sweet pie charts in last week’s issue sharing the results of our first RPR Subscriber Survey, here’s the link. Thank you again to everyone who participated!
I spent last weekend writing love letters, so if you included your IRL address in the survey, check your mailbox this week. And congrats to subscriber Linda in Bellevue, Washington! You’re the lucky survey-filler-outer who won the March issue of the Sun Magazine. It should arrive soon if you haven’t already received it.
Thank you again, readers, clickers, sharers, Wordle players. And happy spring! We’re doing it. We’re powering through, together.
See you next Thursday.
Hahaha. "Stare" is indeed the word I use every single day. Maybe tomorrow I'll try "basic."