Namaste & More

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Playing music on the radio is a delight.  I grew up first listening to a NY Oldies station, where I heard “help!” by the Beatles for the first time, before moving on to Progessive radio on WNEW-FM.  WNEW featured wonderful radio DJs like Pete Fornatell, Vince Scelsa (who used to read letters from Bayonne Butch), Scott Muni, the velvet-voiced Alison Steele who always staerted her show with “Nights in White Satin,” and my favorite, Dennis Elsas, who had the 6pm show. What I could intuit was that the WNEW DJs were nice people, genuinely interested in music, respectful fans.   I was one of those kids who read Liner notes on albums with a passion, and was crazy for The Beatles.  

When i first moved to Provincetown, MA for a fellowship in early Eighties, and stayed an extra year, a friend gifted me her radio spot.  I got my license, and for a year, I hauled an armload of albums to the new local community radio station.  It was something I bragged about years later, as I taught my way to the West Coast and back, the one thing guarranteed to impress my students.  I even substituted for a show on Princeton’s college radio station, when I worked at McCarter Theater’s Box Office and ran into a  a folk music DJ whose show I admired (“You Can’t play That On the Radio”) buying tickets. 

I never imagioned I’d move back to Provincetown, but going back to the radio station was something I did not even think twice about.  The community at the station is so supportive, 97% are volunteers.

So here I am on Namaste, on Sunday mornings, playing ragas by sitar players on the air.  I am learning as I go, for I still know more about The Beatles than Ravi Shankar.  I work on my pronunciation, and when all else fails, I fall back on rock n’ roll.  Join me from anywhere in the world; this Sunday, I am going back to my roots, and playing two hours of Indian classical, before moving on to rock, and a weekly David Bowie highlight selected by our station manager (officially, Executive Director.) You can find WOMR online at womr.org.  And you can listen to any show for two weeks after its aired on the station website’s Archieves Page.   

Reading Jan 27 @7pm ET

So pleased to be invited to read from As Sweet As Honey at the Vassar Club of New York’s Book Club on zoom. If you are an alum, just register at the alumnae page or register directly at VCNY Book Club Author Reading.

I was lucky to be part of an extraordinary group of student writers in Bill Gifford’s Senior Composition class as a college senior. Several of us went onto publish books, including Jeff Wallach, Terri Cheney, and Heinz Insu Finkl. There are many other writers from other classes at Vassar, among them, Carole Maso, Jane Smiley, Ralph Sassone, and Lilias Bever, and of course, Elizabeth Bishop, Mary McCarthy, and Edna St.Vincent Millay. I drop these names because all of them ( as well as many more whose manuscripts I read in classes, and whose words I remember to this day) influenced not only my work, but my approach to life and art. It was an incredible education, and one I fought hard to get. Our teachers believed in us, and in turn, we respected them, but what really mattered, more than anything, was literature—the story and the words.