This was supposed to auto-publish on Tuesday morning, but I had the date set to May 2 instead of June 2. Doh.
It has been a long time since I last posted a Tuesday Link post, and I apologize! But there will be at least a few more in the weeks ahead as I explore some of the This I Believe essays that touch me.
This I Believe is a project that Edward R. Murrow begin in the early 1950s on NPR (you can listen to his original This I Believe introduction here). It asks people to name a belief that guides their life in a short, 500-word statement with the goal of reminding all listeners what we have in common. Murrow’s project ran during a time when the world was divided, when we were more focused on the differences between people than the commonalities.
In my General Language Course this semester, I am giving my students reading, writing, listening, and speaking exercises by using NPR’s This I Believe series. They have to listen to and analyze essays on their own and discuss them in class. Then, they have three major writing assignments: a credo, an essay, and a statement. The This I Believe credo is 250 words, the essay 1,000 to 1,400, and the statement 500.
Writing your own This I Believe statement is very hard, especially when you go through this process of initial definition (credo), expansion and exploration (essay), and then distillation (statement). I have tried to write my own for submission to NPR, but I have never been successful, and I have tried three or four times. I decided this time that I would do it. Along with (well, slight ahead of) my students, I would write my own short statement of belief.
For the next few Tuesdays with Linden’s Favorite Links, I’ll be bringing you some This I Believe-related links along with parts of my This I Believe project.
My Favorite This I Believe Essays
The God Who Embraced Me When Daddy Disappeared: John Fountain’s essay does such a great job making the abstract, intangible exactly the opposite.
Leaving Identity Issues to Other Folks: I love the way that Phyllis Allen travels through her life—and the milestones in civil rights—in order to show us how she has arrived at her own, truly personal beliefs.
The Artistry in Hidden Talents: This essay by Mel Rusnov made me resolve to pick up my instruments again. I can’t do that right now, but when we get back to America, I look forward to practicing the piano, clarinet, and flute again. I’d love to get a sax, oboe, and/or bassoon to work on too.
There Is More to Life Than My Life: The beauty in this essay, and the way it is personally related to my This I Believe project, is that Jamaica Ritcher has two points of revelation, and I had the same experience when I recognized my belief, which I will begin to share with you next week.
Tomorrow Will Be a Better Day: I absolutely love the frame that Josh Rittenberg uses to set up and structure his essay. It is all set around his sitting on the couch, hearing his parents talk in the other room, and seeing pictures on the walls.
The People Who Love You When No One Else Will: I’ll end with an essay that is sad. But despite the sad circumstances that helped Cecile Gilmer form her belief, she found hope, love, and indeed life in the actions of the Beaches, and that is a nice note to end on.
Something to Ponder Over During the Next Week
Here is my belief, stated concisely, in one brief sentence. Brownie points to any reader who can guess which goal I might be talking about. Leave your guess in the comments!
I believe in the inspiring power of setting and achieving big, pie-in-the-sky goals.