It isn’t every day you complete your 500th original creative radio essay, but tonight’s the night for poet/teacher/coach Molly Fisk on KVMR 89.5 FM’s Evening News when her piece airs at 6:25 p.m. Thursday.
For over 15 years now, volunteer broadcaster Fisk has been writing humorous, evocative slice-of-life commentaries on everything from her bowling exploits (“Gutter Girl”) and 21st century women’s groups to life in cardiac rehab (“Where The Boys Are”) and alphabet song memories of her youth.
It all started when then-news producer Carolyn Crane “invited me out for a cup of tea,” Molly recalls. “She suggested I do weekly commentaries, only they had to be three minutes long.”
“Writing these essays for KVMR has taught me more about editing than anything else I’ve ever done,” she says. “That time limit is so strict. Now I can change any sentence to make it longer or shorter.”
“Back at the beginning, if you’d told me one of my life’s greatest devotions was to be writing radio essays, I would have laughed at you.”
Fisk credits the essays with teaching the value of “practice and consistency”, and she uses that in writing classes she teaches and in working as a life coach as well.
And the results include four paperback collections of the essays — with the unlikely names “Blow-Drying A Chicken”, “Using Your Turn Signal Promotes World Peace”, “Houston, We Have A Possum”, and, most recently, 2018’s “Naming Your Teeth”– available at Harmony Books in Nevada City, the Bookseller in Grass Valley, SPD Markets and online at mollyfisk.com
“I’ve made a lot of friends through the essays,” adds Molly. “I write in a way that makes people feel they know me already, and it means a lot to me to feel like I’m known by the people who listen.”
And she heaps praise on KVMR, the Nevada City non-profit, eclectic community radio station where all 500 have been heard.
“It’s changed over time, but it’s still one of my favorite places here,” Fisk explains. “The feeling of the station is always very steady and welcoming.”
“Radio has always been an intimate medium. It’s like having someone tell you stories in your living room.”
One change has happened over the past few years to the essay production.
It used to be Molly would write the essay on Thursday morning, record it early afternoon and it would air at 6:25 p.m. during the Evening News.
“In the wisdom of old age, I’ve relaxed a little and write them on Wednesdays,” she admits. “I’m trying not to procrastinate so much anymore.”
Fisk was thinking about whether she should quit at the 500 mark. “That is a lot.”
“Even though I’m a middle age white woman, I think I’m able to be helpful in fostering kindness and reminding us all of where we live and why.”
So she’ll keep ’em coming.
“You know how doing something over and over turns into a kind of love, even on those days you don’t feel like doing it,” muses Fisk. “And how the regularity of the deadlines, of the commitment you’ve made, carries you through all the ups and downs.”
Sounds like an essay is in the works.
KNOW & HEAR
WHAT: Poet Molly Fisk’s 500th original radio essay and celebration
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 7, during KVMR’s Evening News (6 to 6:30 p.m.) at approximately 6:25 p.m.
WHERE: 89.5 FM, 105.1 FM Truckee, streaming at kvmr.org