Monday, August 26, 2013


For 3 years I DJ'd-- not at clubs-- at a real live radio station. Had my FCC license, learned to cue songs and splice tracks, and weave from 1 song to another like party DJs, but my gig was different. I was in a soundproof both in a radio station, headphones blocking all outside sound, and unless a couple of friends joined me, I was alone and free to spin my songs and words into a world that couldn't see me ... and that I couldn't see.

I had a couple of shows but my favorite was the late night one that started at 11:30 at night and went into the wee hours. Often the engineer and I were the only ones left in the studio. I named my show, "BARE WIRES," after a John Mayall blues tune: "These are bare wires of my life ..." My theme song was Van Morrison's "CARAVAN": "Turn it up, turn up the radio ... a little bit louder, a little bit louder."
From the beginning I wove a narrative-- a soundtrack to the movie playing in my mind. It took me a while to realize I was creating a world and a story as well as a persona: a woman speaking in the dark. As I spoke into the mic, I imagined my listeners ... driving, partying, lying in bed ... as I'm sure they imagined me. The freedom was dizzying. The responsibility, too. I couldn't allow an alien song or word trespass and ruin the mood.

Talking in the dark to people you don't see -- connecting to strangers with your voice and the songs you've chosen to play-- made me pretty fearless, the way you have to be when writing the first draft of a story or novel. Mine emerges as my hand steers a black pen across the white pages of a notebook. I hug the secret to myself for as long as I can before releasing the words to fly like blackbirds -- like lifting my finger from the vinyl record and letting the song spin from me to you.

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