We Love Podcasts (especially if they contain Radical Hope)
I listened to a recent podcast about Radical Hope that changed the way I thought about certain (obvious?) things.
One of the reasons Jenna and I started a podcast is because we LOVE podcasts. We've both been changed by things we've heard one person share with another in recorded conversation.
If you're reading this, you're probably a fan as well.
Most pods I'll listen to when- or wherever. But every so often an episode pops up that I want to devote time and space to. This is usually during a longer semi-mindless drive when I won't have to interrupt listening. Driving around the west coast a few months ago was ideal for that — a couple hours here and there.
Two weeks ago I saw an episode of On Being downloading to my phone that I knew merited some devotional time. A few days later I found myself walking around San Francisco, drunk on roast chicken, knowing this was the time to listen. The guest was Junot Díaz.
Junot Díaz! I was sucker-punched by his writing as I was making my weekly way through the New Yorker in 2012 and came across "The Cheater's Guide to Love," a short story about the downward spiral of a man's life that ensues after the following first lines:
Your girl catches you cheating. (Well, actually she’s your fiancée, but hey, in a bit it so won’t matter.) She could have caught you with one sucia, she could have caught you with two, but because you’re a totally batshit cuero who never empties his e-mail trash can, she caught you with fifty!
When I started listening to the podcast it was hard to reconcile the erudite interviewee with the Dominican player who wrote that. In his conversation with On Being host Krista Tippett, Junot Díaz' diction was befitting the stereotype of an MIT professor (which he is).
They talked about another Díaz New Yorker piece, a recent essay titled "Radical Hope is Our Best Weapon," and of the fear that accompanies being an immigrant in today's United States.
I hadn't considered that even immigrants who have been in this country for a long time now have something to worry about. I was slightly embarrassed by my narrow view on the world and am grateful for this new perspective.
Another topic Krista and Junot covered was the deification of love, and of not being interested in living if love didn't exist.
This part hit home. Even though I loved "Cheater's Guide," the next time I read anything by him was two years later. In the podcast Díaz was referencing different kinds of love, but what comes up for me whenever I think of him is when I was truly in love for the first time.
Seeing Díaz' name on the shelf of the woman who cracked my heart open, I took a book down and opened it up.
The book was The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and it didn't leave her house. It was what I read whenever I read while I was at her place. It was one of those books that was special both in and of itself (for me, most memorably for an extended scene depicting the power of prayer and faith) and because of the moment in time in which I read it. Both were wondrous.
Also wondrous were my meanderings around the streets of San Francisco listening to a conversation that was coming out of my phone, through a wire, and into my ears. I would go no place specific until it was finished.
Let us know what you think: