The Muse and Whirled Retort 2013

The Muse and Whirled Retort April 2013

T.H.E. .M.U.S.E. .A.N.D. .W.H.I.R.L.E.D. .R.E.T.O.R.T.

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T.H.E. .M.U.S.E. .A.N.D. .W.H.I.R.L.E.D. .R.E.T.O.R.T.
VOL XIV issue i
Oakland, CA

Hey Everybody,
It’s That time of the month again!

I know I know - for more than a dozen years you have grown to expect your M.U.S.E. .A.N.D. .W.H.I.R.L.E.D. .R.E.T.O.R.T. on time each and every month - and you have been missing it for the past several months.  

Well, I assure you there is a good reason for that - and I apologize for the long delay.  You will soon see why.

Ever since I moved to the San Francisco Bay area I have been getting more and more active in both the storytelling and the numerous opportunities in the activist and speaking lecture series.  But as with most things in my life - no matter how well they are received they never seem to pay any bills.

A few months ago, I was doing a reading at a little Cafe in San Francisco called the Red Bicycle and a fan asked me if I would sign a copy of that book I released a few years back - “The Ten Year Anthology of The Muse and Whirled Retort.”

Also, he politely asked if he could record the show - just for his own documentary purposes - of course I said sure.  I didn’t think much of it at the time.  Turns out he worked as an intern at our local radio station KQED as a recording assistant.  (Not meaning to name drop but... You may have heard of it if you live in Northern California - or even else where because the produce a couple of the syndicated NPR shows there.)

Well, he played the show for a few people at work who kind of liked it - thought it was amusing enough to have me come in for what I thought was an interview.

I didn’t even know this -  because I don’t own a television - but they are also the local NPR Television station and instead of interviewing me - they had me do my little show for a full on 5 camera video shoot!  

I was psyched!  

I got all nervous - trying to quickly - on the spot try to put together a set list and stuff.  Those of you who know me well, know I think for a long time about how I want the show to go every night and to suddenly have to put together a set on the spot is pretty daunting.  But I did it - at least I did my best.  But alas, they didn’t like it and canned the thing.  

I was devastated.  

This was the end of January - and I was so hoping I would be able to announce something cool in this very Newsletter - but I did not have the heart - so I just didn’t send one out.

Well, a week or so later he called me back, saying he had let some folks read parts of my book - the anthology of this very news letter!  

They liked it - thought it had some quirky folksy wisdom, and asked if I would come and read some of the newsletters as a test.  

Once again, I got all excited and rehearsed and rehearsed before I went in.  This time I was going to be ULTRA prepared - and I was.  Many of you know I do not read aloud very well something that I have not prepared for.  If you have ever seen one of those shows where I try to read out loud something that someone just handed me  - you know what I am talking about.

Anyway, I came in and read The November 2004 edition  (the one in which the piece “Infinity” came from)... as well as March 2006 (which was written from New Orleans and was a post Katrina update.)  

I only had time to do two of them - though I was hoping to get a bunch more - so in case they didn’t like it AGIN - maybe I could at least use them as like a downloadable podcast from my website.

But they did.  

It took about a week to get things going - but for the past month I have been recording a new episode everyday - when they started talking about making it a regular radio show!  

So, now instead of doing a monthly newsletter going out to ten thousand of you - I was in the midst of recording a show for five days a week!  

The only thing is, I couldn’t tell anyone - so I could not use this newsletter to run my big mouth.  

Well, this was about a month ago - and about that time KQED got the word from NPR that they were dropping one of the shows they produce there called “Talk of the Nation.”  (Really) NPR was considering replacing it with a show produced from Boston’s WBUR called “Here and Now.”

The reason they are dropping the sort of news and phone in commentary style show is that ratings have been steadily dropping for that kind of show for years.  They need to try something else.  “Here and Now”  would have just been more of the same thing.  They wanted something completely different.  

Well, What did my fair little local radio station have recorded that they could pitch as an alternative.  Turns out nothing.  No one records a show that is not going to run...


... unless, they happen to have an intern who recorded some folksy preacher guy just for the fun of it!

Yes, the recordings had turned out well - but after 25 years in this business the only thing I can say that is universally true - and that is Timing is everything!

So, starting in July I will be doing T.H.E. .MU.S.E. .A.N.D .W.H.I.R.L.E.D. .R.E.T.O.R.T. as a daily two hour radio show!  The first show - (Timing is everything - and I had nothing to do with this choice), happens to be the week of the Oregon Country Faire - so guess where the first episode will be broadcast from?

LIFE IS FUNNY Life is sweet.  Needless to say I am excited about this.  But to be fair to the original subscribers of this fair little newsletter - I asked them If I could announce it from here.  So I am!

THE MUSE AND WHIRLED RETORT is going to the radio and starting July 1 will be replacing “Talk of the Nation!”  Thank you Gods and Goddesses of fate. - and thank you NPR.  And Thank you Thom the Intern!





updated: 4 years ago