June 21, 2006

Nipping at NPR's Ankles

On Monday I did the unspeakable. I submitted 4 of my blog posts to National Public Radio for review in hopes they would be aired (two to Morning Edition and two to All Things Considered). The great thing about church every Sunday is that is makes you feel all special and talented inside. This Sunday I came home with a particularly over ripened batch of these delusions and 24 hours later was banging on NPR's door demanding recognition as the newer, better David Sedaris. It wasn't 5 hours after I had sent my essays that the self-loathing kicked in.

Ever since then, I've been going through NPR archives and other literary publications to see what I'm up against and it ain't pretty. NPR generally discovers and showcases the best literary talents in America and most of them don't write blogs about baby poop in the swimming pool (by the way, I apologize for that). Ira Glass wrote a particularly helpful article about what makes a good radio piece and my submissions go against most of his points. But now I've got that pernicious bug under my skin and would kill to have something read on the radio. I'm checking my email every 5 minutes to see if they have responded yet even though I would have to guess they won't even read my submissions for weeks. One of the interns at NPR wrote about how she submitted articles for over a year and the only time she got publicity was when one of the editors from NPR was doing an interview about what NOT to submit and used her piece as an example of bad writing.

Basically, I feel like a fool. I try to avoid situations like this. I never want my writing to become anything other than sheer expression and now I find myself mortally concerned about verbiage, punctuation, depth of meaning and recognition. It has taken the fun out of things considerably. Especially when writing is such a revered medium. Most of the "good" writers in my book have a clear voice, compelling narrative and Budda-like insights. I feel like most of my stuff is still on the Seinfeld level, a random collection of disjointed ideas held together by the common theme of having nothing to do with anything.

But I've given it a shot. NPR has my stuff and they know where to reach me to send the condolence letter. I just hope they have the good grace to send a condolence letter. The worst case would be that I never hear anything back from them and spend the rest of my life feeling around in the mailbox for their response with the hope that my essays just got stuck at the bottom of a pile and took longer than usual to process. The blog will continue, but NPR is for the big boys and I'm just a small girl with a big bootie. Close, but not close enough.


Anonymous said...

You should submit "The Owner," that's my favorite. :)

Adrienne said...

Hey, Sar, you never know. It is National Public Radio, after all. And even if they don't see it, I think your writing is witty and involving.

Foxy said...

Our local Ultimate frisbee league was featured on NPR a twice back in 2002 when we named all the teams after NPR hosts. Neal Conan is very competitive! NPR : Ultimate Frisbee Playoffs and NPR : NPRs Sylvia Poggioli.

Gotta have a gimmic!

Sarah said...

You guys are nice - it's reassuring to know that good ol' fishing for compliments still works. I thought the world was too jaded for such trickery!

I didn't submit The Owner, but if they turn down these first ones, maybe I'll send it in now that I know someone like it.

As far as a gimic, what if I call NPR and tell them if they run my piece, I'll spare their meaningless lives? But I bet that gimic is used all the time...hmmm. .. ideas, anyone?

Sarah said...

Elizabeth, I just listened to your NPR interview - very fun! It validates me to know that a real for real celebrity comments on my blog :) This won't help me feel any better when they reject me. Who did that guitar song at the end of the spot?

Stephanie said...

Hey, I'm a big fan of your blog! It's witty, funny and gives me something to look forward to every day. (What that says about my life...let's not go there.) ;-) Adrienne has a point--it is NPR, after all.

Rachel said...

Kudos to you for sending your writing to NPR. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, eh? And I noticed you added a link to our blog. I'm flattered, honored, and humbled. I'll try my best to live up to the image of HOLLYWOOD FLAKES!