Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Discrimination in the labor unions interview (KPFA) ...

Appeared at Pacifica's flagship station late on Sunday afternoon for the agreed-upon interview. The interviewer was held up elsewhere and I found myself with an hour's delay before we could begin the work. Maybe it was during that time that I lost the intensity I needed in order to fulfill my self-expectations.

It was interesting to find myself here -- with others waiting to tell their stories. I didn't know quite what to expect, but to find myself taken to an upper studio to be not only audiotaped but in front of a camera for videotaping was something I wasn't prepared for. I'd not worn makeup (except for a little darkening of eyebrows that have mysteriously begun to disappear(!), and a little blush on cheeks. Womanly vanity would have dictated some thought be given to the shape of my neckline or earrings, or something ... .

The interviewer asked reasonable questions but I couldn't find resonance within myself so the words felt dead leaving my lips. It's all beginning to feel warmed-over now -- too-oft-repeated, and I felt a little embarrassed to be here at all. Not sure why that is. The truth is surely worth expressing and the history lived by those in our age group is fast-disappearing into a past that was tumultous at times -- and surely worth making note of. We are the carriers, the grios of our personal histories and those histories express universals -- we're not as different as our egos might suggest so -- in a way -- my story is one related to all stories of these decades.

Maybe it's the differences between written and spoken words that best explain my reactions to the experience at the studio. It was the last entry here about the Bancroft Library interview in this journal that made me aware of those differences. Is this the way this will sound -- that will go out over the airwaves next Monday to casual listeners? Will the words spill over themselves in a torrent of meaningless noise? Am I not far more comfortable here writing in a proper sequence where these symbols of meaning can't get lost in the utterance of them?

Maybe I'd far rather write ... yet there is an awareness that there is some arresting quality that I sense in the audience when I speak the words. Wish I better understood ... . What is the "x" factor that I'm missing?

There is the memorable experience of speaking before the audience at the National Women's History Project conference at Mills College last summer. It effected me profoundly -- and apparently did the same for those listening.

Maybe it is truth that has a life of its own -- and that the carrier is only incidental to that. I truly don't know... .

Photo: Speaking at a Starr King School for the Ministry commencement at the Oakland UU Church while serving as a member of the Board of Trustees.

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