The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My NPR Interview

Storycorps comes to Amherst.

Hey guess what! I was one of the lucky people from our area to be invited to tell my life story to the national radio show Storycorps on NPR. While only excerpts from each interview are chosen for broadcast, the entire interview will be preserved in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. until the end of time! Is that cool or what?

From their website:

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening.

By recording the stories of our lives with the people we care about, we experience our history, hopes, and humanity. Since 2003, tens of thousands of everyday people have interviewed family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to take home and share, and is archived for generations to come at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to our award-winning broadcasts on public radio and the Internet. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, creating a growing portrait of who we really are as Americans.

I've done a lot of radio over the years locally, but this was the first time that I was ever a guest on a program that is on the air in all 50 states! During their stay here in our Valley Storycorps set up their headquarters in Amherst's Jones library.

They were located on the third floor, as indicated by this sign attached to a sign.

There they had constructed a make-shift studio amidst the library's antiques that was actually quite cozy.

Anna Walters of National Public Radio gave us some release forms to sign allowing NPR to use the recording of our conversation on their program.

The interview took the form of a conversation between myself and Hwei-Ling Greeney, the famous Amherst activist. Here we are just before it started.

What did I say? Well, I started at the beginning, about how I was born at home and delivered by my Dad in my parent's bedroom. I skipped over my childhood, but talked a lot about the early years of the Valley zine movement and the evolution of this blog. I also talked about drugs and how far I fell and how with the help of so many good people and the grace of God I got back on my feet again. In other words I just talked about my life. Everybody has a life story to tell, and I tried to tell mine the best I could, because I knew it would end up in the Library of Congress and be heard by generations to come.

As Hwei-Ling and I left they said they would contact us about when they might air the excerpts, so I'll let you know.

In Northampton my neighbors have these weird sculptures on their porch, like this white man.

There is also this nude woman squatting on a psychedelic table.

An interesting ceiling painting in a smoker's section.

I wonder if President Obama will send me a Christmas card. President Bush did in 2001, for reasons I was never able to determine. Maybe Karl Rove told them they should try to get in good with bloggers? Or maybe it was just a mistake. But in any case I never got another one. Too bad, because it was really fancy and printed on the most expensive paper. Here's what the front looked like.

This is the inside, complete with the presidential seal and the signatures of the President and First Lady. (click to enlarge)

Perhaps the reason I never got another card had something to do with my refusal of an invitation I got less than a year later to attend a fundraiser in Boston that Bush was putting on for then gubernatorial candidate Mitt Romney. As you can see, it cost a mere five grand.

Once I turned down that ritzy lunch, I never heard from Bush again.

Now we have a brand new president coming into office! Gee, I hope Obama can find me at my new address!

This Northampton car dealer is trying to cash in on the Obama craze.

"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities." [Voltaire]


Tony said...

Really cool Tommy, a bit of immortality..!

Mary E.Carey said...

Yeah, that is great that your interview will be preserved. Someday when grad students are researching the history of the area and of blogging, they'll have access to it, I hope. Is that cool painted ceiling local?

Michael Henry said...


Tommy said...

Thanks folks, and Mary I don't know where that picture comes from. It may even be photoshopped and not really exist at all.

Anonymous said...

did you ever notice how the big time activists look like freaks that would never fit in at a regular job?

Caty said...

Where can we hear the whole interview?