Letters: Seeking Silence And Righting Wrongs

Talk of the Nation listeners, after an interview with George Foy about his book, Zero Decibels, shared the places they've sought silence. And Lee Kravitz's story of making good on old debts, Unfinished Business prompted readers to share their memories of wrongs righted.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


We got carried away with all the hype over Stephen Strasburg yesterday, the hard-throwing Nats pitcher, and ran out of time for letters - it's never too late. Now, it's Wednesday, the day after we usually read from your emails and Web comments.

While you're all clearly enamored with radio, many of you also crave silence. On Memorial Day, we talked with George Foy about his search for absolute silence and his new book "Zero Decibels."

Lizzy Sobel(ph) in Seneca Falls, New York, emailed to report: There is an actual trail in Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado called The Sound of Silence. In the middle of the desert with no planes overhead and even little buzzing of insects offered me a fascinating place of solitude and silence.

We also talked last week with Lee Kravitz about his book "Unfinished Business." A former workaholic, he lost his job and spent a year making good on old debts and redeeming broken promises. It's a lesson that resonated with many of you.

Years ago, I lost my job unexpectedly and decided to take a year off and spend time with my family and especially with my youngest son, 15 at the time. We spent a lot of that year backpacking in the mountains of Utah. My son died at the end of that year on a hiking trip at the Grand Canyon. The memories of that year are precious jewel in my life. Our thanks to Robin Phillips(ph) in Bountiful, Utah for that.

We ended last week with some good advice for "Ask Amy's" Amy Dickinson. She gave the commencement address at Gaithersburg High School in Maryland and needed some help from you to write it. You didn't disappoint.

From Scout(ph) in Sacramento: One of the most memorable pieces of advice from my commencement speaker: get fired. She went on to say that it leads to an appreciation of what a good job is. I had the wonderful opportunity to get fired, and yes, I did learn to appreciate what a good job is. The rest of the speech? I don't remember.

And for any future graduation speakers, Paul McEnroe(ph) emailed this advice: 25 years ago when I sat at my commencement, I knew exactly what I would say to a graduating class. My suggestion to you is to write that down now, just in case, because 25 years later you won't remember.

And finally, one of the better lines that was offered during that conversation came from a caller: Be true to your teeth and they will not be false to you. The caller credited his father, a dental surgeon, with the line.

Robert Musial(ph) emailed to correct the record. That advice was popularized more than 50 years ago by the late Soupy Sales on his midday TV kiddy show in Detroit. Soupy's show was later redone and broadcast nationally by ABC, and the phrase may have been used there, too, in the Soupy Says Word's of the Day advice segment.

As always, if you missed any of those shows, you can listen online or download the podcast. Go to npr.org, click on TALK OF THE NATION. While you're there, look for the newsletter sign-up box and we'll add you to our email list. You'll get a daily preview of what's on the show and our producer's picks for the best of the week.

And if you're following me on Twitter, you already know all about my flight yesterday morning on a World War II Stearman biplane. We'll fill in the rest of you tomorrow, plus pictures from the adventure. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter @nealconan, all one word.

If you have questions, comments or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: