Definitely Not the Opera

(This isn’t a real Perfect Whole essay. Those are long and complicated! This is just a short post about the amazing new place blogging took me recently.)

I was contacted by Clare Lawlor, a producer at a CBC radio show called DNTO (Definitely Not the Opera), a Canadian program similar to This American Life.  Clare had come across the essay “I Can’t Believe You’re Throwing Out Books!” on Perfect Whole and thought it might be a good fit for an upcoming theme about letting go of things you don’t need anymore. After a short phone conversation, she decided the story would work.

Clare sent me to WBGO, a public jazz radio station in Newark, NJ, where I met a young recording engineer who set me up with the mike and headphones and patched me through to Clare in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We talked for about 50 minutes, out of which she would produce a five-minute piece.

Recording the segment was the most fun I’d ever had performing. It combined almost everything I love: writing, lively conversation, and acting (I didn’t get to sing, but you can’t have everything), while excluding the part of performance that’s always made me crazy: the gaze of the audience. I didn’t have to worry about my hair, my makeup, my clothes, or about tripping over something onstage. I closed my eyes and spoke into the microphone, picturing the woman a thousand miles away whose voice came through the headphones, talking with my hands as if she were sitting across the table from me.

I have loved radio for as long as I can remember, and this felt like a homecoming. I want to do it again as soon and as often as I can.

Here’s the clip, transformed from a long conversation to a short monologue through Clare Lawlor’s radio-producing alchemy:

DNTO clip


Thanks to Neil Fein of Magnificent Nose for his audio wizardry and continuing kindness.

About Julie Goldberg

Julie Goldberg has lived a life entirely too entangled with books. She is a school librarian, former English teacher, compulsive reader, occasional jazz singer and the author of Lily in the Light of Halfmoon and In the Meat Department: A Novel, one of which may even be published someday! She is a former candidate for New York State Senate and Rockland County Legislature, and would be only too happy to tell you all about it. You could at one time follow her on Twitter, but she's done with that all that now. Please connect with her on Mastodon instead: Mastodon
This entry was posted in Books & Libraries, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Definitely Not the Opera

  1. fransiweinstein says:

    I’ve never been able to throw out a book either. I’ll let you know if this makes it any easier for me.

  2. Matt says:

    Julie, you seriously were never taught about weeding books when you got your MLS? I learned about it in the Intro to Librarianship class (required course). And then I learned a lot more about it with regards to archival processing. Throwing things away may even be more important to archivists than it is to librarians.

  3. Rob Kotaska says:

    Nicely done, the radio is a wonderful medium. You should look into podcasting as way to get involved more often. All you need is Skype and Audacity (both free).

  4. Pingback: I Can’t Believe You’re Throwing Out Books! | Perfect Whole

  5. Louise Bradford says:

    Hi Julie. I heard you on DNTO – really enjoyed your segment! Looking forward to reading your blog regularly.

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