Over a dozen years ago, then-KVMR 89.5 FM news producer Carolyn Crane approached poet/teacher/life coach Molly Fisk about doing a weekly essay on the station's Evening News program.
"She said, 'You can write about whatever you want, as long as you don't use those seven (FCC-forbidden) words," recalled Fisk. "That was their first mistake..."
Now, exactly 400 essays later last Thursday, she's still at it, creating humorous, evocative slice-of-life commentaries each week in between her duties as Nevada County's official Poet Laureate, a post she was awarded last year.
"The essays can be about love, death, Nevada County and smalltown life, lingerie or the natural world," according to Fisk.
Oh, and good grammar.
"I'm almost a dominatrix about that," she quipped.
"About half the time I go to a coffee house and sometimes eavesdrop and that generates the subject," Molly said.
Like number 400, in which she is fascinated by the action and the "1971 musical choices" going on in the coffee house's wild kitchen.
And the other half?
"Just random things I'm thinking about."
"But I try to stay out of politics as much as possible," she said. "Then suddenly my head blows off and I have to write about something ferocious."
ESSAYS & POEMS
"After 400, I have learned to stop thinking of it as 'recess' and my main job as being a poet," according to Fisk. "It may sound more casual and be funnier than I can be in poems, but it's still art and communication. Just of a different kind."
They run 6:25 p.m. Thursdays on the Evening News and are also available via podcast at the Nevada City radio station's website, kvmr.org
So far, she's released three books of her essays, or "Observations of a Working Poet", as Molly calls them. They include "Houston We Have A Possum," "Using Your Turn Signal Promotes World Peace," and "Blow Drying A Chicken" The latter is also available on CD with 20 of the 50 book's 50 essays.
The books are available in, duh, local bookstores, at the Nevada County Library and conveniently at a website amazingly called mollyfisk.com.
According to Fisk, becoming poet laureate "made me feel I should be better at what I do and made me work harder at all my writing."
"And doing these radio essays week after week has taught me more about editing than anything I've ever done," she said.
Then Molly got philosophical.
"You know, how doing something over and over both requires and turns into a kind of love, even on those days you don't feel like doing it. And how the regularity of the deadlines, of the commitment you've made, carries you through all the ups and downs."
That advice is worth 400 more essays.
3 MUSIC REMOTES IN A WEEK
KVMR 89.5 FM heads south for three -- count 'em, three -- live remote music concert broadcasts between this Saturday and Saturday, February 24th.
Things kick off with Canadian singer-songwriter Fred Eaglesmith with Tif Ginn in a live performance direct from the Sutter Creek Theater in Sutter Creek at 8 p.m this Saturday, Feb. 17. The crafty veteran (42 years on the road, 22 albums) is known for writing songs about vehicles, rural life, down-and-out characters, lost love and quirky rural folk, And he's full of outrageous stories to boot.
Then the action moves to Placerville with the first ever broadcast of the Hangtown Hootenanny taking place at Powell's Steamers Wednesday night, Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. with Larry Park & The Random Strangers.
Park hosts the song circle along with comedian Richie John and KVMR broadcaster Wesley Robertson, with several special guest musicians sitting in.
"I've always got something up my sleeve," said Robertson. "With signals in both Placerville (88.3 FM) and Angels Camp (99.5 FM) now, it makes sense to move our live music action toward audiences just discovering KVMR."
On Saturday, Feb. 24, the Nevada City community radio station will broadcast singer/songwriter, painter and essayist Tom Russell's show, also from the Sutter Creek Theater.
Although most strongly identified with the Americana music tradition, his music also incorporates elements of folk, rock and the cowboy music of the American West. His most recent album of originals is "Folk Hotel".
All three remote broadcasts will begin at 8 p.m.