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Stephanie
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Questions for Amy Dickinson

Please post your questions for Amy Dickinson in this thread.   We want to be sure she doesn't have to search for them! 

Stephanie
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emeraldisle
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎09-26-2008
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson

I thought the strength in our book was in the writing style, your metaphors and scene descriptions especially. However, several readers felt that the characterization of your "queens" was weak, that you  did not flesh out the the women in your family enough to support the title and your overall theme. Why did you choose not to tell more about them? 
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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson

Amy -- thanks for your delightful book and for joining us here!

 

How do you keep up the pace?

 

What are you willing to share about your forthcoming novel?

 

And, the usual, what writers serve as role models or mentors for you and your  own writing?  Which ones do you particularly like to read yourself?

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Author
Amy_Dickinson
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎10-22-2008
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson


emeraldisle wrote:
I thought the strength in our book was in the writing style, your metaphors and scene descriptions especially. However, several readers felt that the characterization of your "queens" was weak, that you  did not flesh out the the women in your family enough to support the title and your overall theme. Why did you choose not to tell more about them?

Thanks for this question. The reason I wasn't able to write more about my "Queens" is very simple -- they wouldn't let me.

 

Honestly, once I saw where the book was headed and realized that I wanted to write about them, I went to each of my aunts, cousins and my mother and asked for their permission to write about them -- or at least include them in my story. I wanted to respect their privacy -- and they trusted that I would. My Queens are very unlike me in one way -- they don't want attention. I decided to confine my characterizations of them to those places where they intersected with my own story. During the course of writing the book, my dear Aunt Lena died suddenly (a year ago today, in fact) and after that I decided not to push my relatives to participate -- they had enough going on.

 

At the end of the day, this book is about my own life and my experiences raising Emily -- and I chose to pay homage to the women in my life who I realized had influenced me so much but let them tell their own stories if they chose to.

 

I was also concerned about Emily's privacy -- and she agreed to and then approved any material about her before I sent it out. I'm happy to say that the chapter about "The Apex of Dorkitude" was her idea.


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vivico1
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson

Did you consider, given that your women relatives did not want to be written about, to then maybe just leave that line in there as part of what Emily called them but rename the book to fit your life, and hers more appropriately? Then maybe just use that term again in a dedication or something? What you said here about this book being more about you and Emily was something we discussed and agreed with too and felt a title reflecting that would have worked much better and been great, something that would have reflected the two of you, as you work your way through your life, because those chapters really are the best. :smileyhappy: Thanks

 


Amy_Dickinson wrote:

emeraldisle wrote:
I thought the strength in our book was in the writing style, your metaphors and scene descriptions especially. However, several readers felt that the characterization of your "queens" was weak, that you did not flesh out the the women in your family enough to support the title and your overall theme. Why did you choose not to tell more about them?

Thanks for this question. The reason I wasn't able to write more about my "Queens" is very simple -- they wouldn't let me.

 

Honestly, once I saw where the book was headed and realized that I wanted to write about them, I went to each of my aunts, cousins and my mother and asked for their permission to write about them -- or at least include them in my story. I wanted to respect their privacy -- and they trusted that I would. My Queens are very unlike me in one way -- they don't want attention. I decided to confine my characterizations of them to those places where they intersected with my own story. During the course of writing the book, my dear Aunt Lena died suddenly (a year ago today, in fact) and after that I decided not to push my relatives to participate -- they had enough going on.

 

At the end of the day, this book is about my own life and my experiences raising Emily -- and I chose to pay homage to the women in my life who I realized had influenced me so much but let them tell their own stories if they chose to.

 

I was also concerned about Emily's privacy -- and she agreed to and then approved any material about her before I sent it out. I'm happy to say that the chapter about "The Apex of Dorkitude" was her idea.


 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Author
Amy_Dickinson
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎10-22-2008
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson


vivico1 wrote:

Did you consider, given that your women relatives did not want to be written about, to then maybe just leave that line in there as part of what Emily called them but rename the book to fit your life, and hers more appropriately? Then maybe just use that term again in a dedication or something? What you said here about this book being more about you and Emily was something we discussed and agreed with too and felt a title reflecting that would have worked much better and been great, something that would have reflected the two of you, as you work your way through your life, because those chapters really are the best. :smileyhappy: Thanks

 

 

I am intrigued by the reaction to the title, which is surprising. I love the title and I guess I thought it was clear at the end of the book that Emily and I think we're Mighty Queens, too. People who have read the book tell me it has made them think about the women in their lives as "mighty queens" -- and that's gratifying to me.  Honestly, I think it is a snappy, fun title that very much fits the spirit of the book -- or the spirit I was trying to convey, anyway.


Amy_Dickinson wrote:

emeraldisle wrote:
I thought the strength in our book was in the writing style, your metaphors and scene descriptions especially. However, several readers felt that the characterization of your "queens" was weak, that you did not flesh out the the women in your family enough to support the title and your overall theme. Why did you choose not to tell more about them?

Thanks for this question. The reason I wasn't able to write more about my "Queens" is very simple -- they wouldn't let me.

 

Honestly, once I saw where the book was headed and realized that I wanted to write about them, I went to each of my aunts, cousins and my mother and asked for their permission to write about them -- or at least include them in my story. I wanted to respect their privacy -- and they trusted that I would. My Queens are very unlike me in one way -- they don't want attention. I decided to confine my characterizations of them to those places where they intersected with my own story. During the course of writing the book, my dear Aunt Lena died suddenly (a year ago today, in fact) and after that I decided not to push my relatives to participate -- they had enough going on.

 

At the end of the day, this book is about my own life and my experiences raising Emily -- and I chose to pay homage to the women in my life who I realized had influenced me so much but let them tell their own stories if they chose to.

 

I was also concerned about Emily's privacy -- and she agreed to and then approved any material about her before I sent it out. I'm happy to say that the chapter about "The Apex of Dorkitude" was her idea.


 

 


 


vivico1 wrote:

Did you consider, given that your women relatives did not want to be written about, to then maybe just leave that line in there as part of what Emily called them but rename the book to fit your life, and hers more appropriately? Then maybe just use that term again in a dedication or something? What you said here about this book being more about you and Emily was something we discussed and agreed with too and felt a title reflecting that would have worked much better and been great, something that would have reflected the two of you, as you work your way through your life, because those chapters really are the best. :smileyhappy: Thanks

 


Amy_Dickinson wrote:

emeraldisle wrote:
I thought the strength in our book was in the writing style, your metaphors and scene descriptions especially. However, several readers felt that the characterization of your "queens" was weak, that you did not flesh out the the women in your family enough to support the title and your overall theme. Why did you choose not to tell more about them?

Thanks for this question. The reason I wasn't able to write more about my "Queens" is very simple -- they wouldn't let me.

 

Honestly, once I saw where the book was headed and realized that I wanted to write about them, I went to each of my aunts, cousins and my mother and asked for their permission to write about them -- or at least include them in my story. I wanted to respect their privacy -- and they trusted that I would. My Queens are very unlike me in one way -- they don't want attention. I decided to confine my characterizations of them to those places where they intersected with my own story. During the course of writing the book, my dear Aunt Lena died suddenly (a year ago today, in fact) and after that I decided not to push my relatives to participate -- they had enough going on.

 

At the end of the day, this book is about my own life and my experiences raising Emily -- and I chose to pay homage to the women in my life who I realized had influenced me so much but let them tell their own stories if they chose to.

 

I was also concerned about Emily's privacy -- and she agreed to and then approved any material about her before I sent it out. I'm happy to say that the chapter about "The Apex of Dorkitude" was her idea.


 

 


 


vivico1 wrote:

Did you consider, given that your women relatives did not want to be written about, to then maybe just leave that line in there as part of what Emily called them but rename the book to fit your life, and hers more appropriately? Then maybe just use that term again in a dedication or something? What you said here about this book being more about you and Emily was something we discussed and agreed with too and felt a title reflecting that would have worked much better and been great, something that would have reflected the two of you, as you work your way through your life, because those chapters really are the best. :smileyhappy: Thanks

 


Amy_Dickinson wrote:

emeraldisle wrote:
I thought the strength in our book was in the writing style, your metaphors and scene descriptions especially. However, several readers felt that the characterization of your "queens" was weak, that you did not flesh out the the women in your family enough to support the title and your overall theme. Why did you choose not to tell more about them?

Thanks for this question. The reason I wasn't able to write more about my "Queens" is very simple -- they wouldn't let me.

 

Honestly, once I saw where the book was headed and realized that I wanted to write about them, I went to each of my aunts, cousins and my mother and asked for their permission to write about them -- or at least include them in my story. I wanted to respect their privacy -- and they trusted that I would. My Queens are very unlike me in one way -- they don't want attention. I decided to confine my characterizations of them to those places where they intersected with my own story. During the course of writing the book, my dear Aunt Lena died suddenly (a year ago today, in fact) and after that I decided not to push my relatives to participate -- they had enough going on.

 

At the end of the day, this book is about my own life and my experiences raising Emily -- and I chose to pay homage to the women in my life who I realized had influenced me so much but let them tell their own stories if they chose to.

 

I was also concerned about Emily's privacy -- and she agreed to and then approved any material about her before I sent it out. I'm happy to say that the chapter about "The Apex of Dorkitude" was her idea.


 

 


 


Learn more about The Mighty Queens of Freeville.
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Wrighty
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson


Amy_Dickinson wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

Did you consider, given that your women relatives did not want to be written about, to then maybe just leave that line in there as part of what Emily called them but rename the book to fit your life, and hers more appropriately? Then maybe just use that term again in a dedication or something? What you said here about this book being more about you and Emily was something we discussed and agreed with too and felt a title reflecting that would have worked much better and been great, something that would have reflected the two of you, as you work your way through your life, because those chapters really are the best. :smileyhappy: Thanks


 

 

I am intrigued by the reaction to the title, which is surprising. I love the title and I guess I thought it was clear at the end of the book that Emily and I think we're Mighty Queens, too. People who have read the book tell me it has made them think about the women in their lives as "mighty queens" -- and that's gratifying to me.  Honestly, I think it is a snappy, fun title that very much fits the spirit of the book -- or the spirit I was trying to convey, anyway.


 

I missed the discussion about the title (I've been to a lot of soccer games!). I liked the title and thought it was very fitting. My impression was that at the beginning of Amy and Emily's journey as a twosome their whole world was upended and they needed the strength and support of their family, the women who were mighty queens. By the end of the book they had grown and gained self confidence and realized that were also mighty queens. It was something that they had admired in others and they had achieved it themselves along the way.

Frequent Contributor
GrammiT
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎03-20-2007
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson

Amy, I really don't have a question, I just wanted to say I really enjoyed the book, it was funny, honest & gave me some insight as to how you got to where you are today. I also loved the title!

 

Susan T.

Fairview Heights, Il

Contributor
kayJ
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎09-16-2008
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson

Amy, I just wanted to say that I Loved the book title and it really made me think about my 'Mighty Queens'. With 6 older sisters and a very dominate mother along with my dads 4 older spinster sisters we had plenty of Queens ruling and running us. I also feel that even though I do not have any children myself I have plenty of nieces and grand nieces to be Queen over.

Also I wanted to say Congratulations on your recent wedding! :smileyvery-happy:

What a delightful surprise to have after reading your book.

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abbyg7
Posts: 40
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson

Hi Amy

Thanks for joining us in this discussion and for the opportunity to read your book.

I was also somewhat disappointed that there was not more about your relationships with the mighty queens, but understand their desire for privacy.  I felt that you and Emily did become mighty queens as well.

My first question was whether or not Bruno was still renovating your life.  That was answered by the above article.  Congratulations.

So my next questions are:  How is Emily enjoying college?  And, how are the rest of your mighty queens doing?

I did enjoy your book, especially the parts about your dating experiences and the chapter The Apex of Dorkitude.

Your column is not in our local paper, I wish it was.  I guess I'll have to subscribe to a paper that does carry it.

Once again, thank you.

Author
Amy_Dickinson
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎10-22-2008
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson


abbyg7 wrote:

Hi Amy

Thanks for joining us in this discussion and for the opportunity to read your book.

I was also somewhat disappointed that there was not more about your relationships with the mighty queens, but understand their desire for privacy.  I felt that you and Emily did become mighty queens as well.

My first question was whether or not Bruno was still renovating your life.  That was answered by the above article.  Congratulations.

So my next questions are:  How is Emily enjoying college?  And, how are the rest of your mighty queens doing?

I did enjoy your book, especially the parts about your dating experiences and the chapter The Apex of Dorkitude.

Your column is not in our local paper, I wish it was.  I guess I'll have to subscribe to a paper that does carry it.

Once again, thank you.


 

Oh no -- thank you!!

I am delighted to say that Emily seems to be loving her life. Just today I started to read a book she has been working on for some time, without telling me, I might add -- and she has somehow found the time to craft a charming and elegant story; I couldn't be more proud of her. I plan to visit her soon at college and can't wait to see my girl again.

 

Let me catch you up on the other wonderful women in my life.

Unfortunately my mother's heath continues to decline and my sisters, aunts and I are doing a sort of "tag team" caregiving service, which so far has worked well enough that she remains in her sweet little house. Every day Rachel and I make breakfast and dinner for her and each evening when I arrive, my aunts Jean and Millie are there, visiting. I am overwhelmed at their committment and support.  In Freeville, where winter tends to arrive early and overstay its welcome, we've already seen our first blizzard, but somehow we soldier on.

 

I have acquired four stepdaughters and adore each of them and though the transition has it's specific challenges, Bruno and I are a team and are the best parents we know how to be. He is an amazing father and continues to inspire me, even as he renovates my life down to its foundations.

 

I'd love to hear from other readers who might like to share their stories -- I note that many of you feel your own journey has been hastened and assisted by family and friends, and I feel it's an opportunity for all of us to share our tales. I am preparing a web site with a photo albumn and stories and would love to include other testimonies from anyone who's interested. Thank you for so generously responding to my book; the comments and critiques are so helpful to me and I appreicate it.


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Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson

I'm sorry your mom is doing poorly.  When I took an early retirement a couple of years ago, I moved into the house I grew up in and mom lives next door, so I totally relate to that part of your life. 

 

I thought the title was perfect and although your sisters, mother, and aunts were not main characters, it seemed to me that you and Emily were the mighty queens, but also there were more queens surrounding you.  

 

Welcome to the First Look Book Club, thank you for sharing your memoir with us.  I really enjoyed getting to know you and Emily through your words.   I can't wait to read more by you. 

 

My question is, do you still do a program on NPR and what is it about? 

Wordsmith
Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson

Hello Amy - I just wanted to thank you very much for sharing your story and your wonderful book with us here.  I really enjoyed reading The Mighty Queens of Freeville and having the opportunity to discuss it with other readers on this forum.  All the best, Dawn

Inspired Correspondent
Wrighty
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson


Amy_Dickinson wrote: 

Oh no -- thank you!!

I am delighted to say that Emily seems to be loving her life. Just today I started to read a book she has been working on for some time, without telling me, I might add -- and she has somehow found the time to craft a charming and elegant story; I couldn't be more proud of her. I plan to visit her soon at college and can't wait to see my girl again.

 

Let me catch you up on the other wonderful women in my life.

Unfortunately my mother's heath continues to decline and my sisters, aunts and I are doing a sort of "tag team" caregiving service, which so far has worked well enough that she remains in her sweet little house. Every day Rachel and I make breakfast and dinner for her and each evening when I arrive, my aunts Jean and Millie are there, visiting. I am overwhelmed at their committment and support.  In Freeville, where winter tends to arrive early and overstay its welcome, we've already seen our first blizzard, but somehow we soldier on.

 

I have acquired four stepdaughters and adore each of them and though the transition has it's specific challenges, Bruno and I are a team and are the best parents we know how to be. He is an amazing father and continues to inspire me, even as he renovates my life down to its foundations.

 

I'd love to hear from other readers who might like to share their stories -- I note that many of you feel your own journey has been hastened and assisted by family and friends, and I feel it's an opportunity for all of us to share our tales. I am preparing a web site with a photo albumn and stories and would love to include other testimonies from anyone who's interested. Thank you for so generously responding to my book; the comments and critiques are so helpful to me and I appreicate it.


Amy,

 

I'm sorry to hear your mother isn't doing well. That's hard for all of you. We have a tag team system for some of my elderly relatives as well. Fortunately they are also able to live in their home safely but I worry about the time when that isn't possible anymore.

 

I loved to hear your update. It's funny how connected we feel to the characters we read about. Even without names and details there is still a bond formed. We don't often get to follow up when we finish a book so this is a rare treat. I'm glad to hear you are doing well and are happy. You deserve it! And Emily is a writer too, wow!

 

Best wishes to you and your family. Thank you so much for joining us this month. I really enjoyed your story and we are so lucky to have you here with us. Good  luck with your book. I know it will do well! :smileyhappy:

 

~Debbie

Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson

Amy,

 

I think what you and your family are doing for your mother is wonderful - I can guess how important it would be to her to stay in her home.  My mother tells me all the time how firmly rooted she intends to stay!

 

I'm delighted to hear that Emily is writing a book - be sure to tell us what name it's being published under so we can get a copy when it comes out.

 

 

 

Stephanie
gl
Distinguished Correspondent
gl
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson

Hi Amy,

 

I am so sorry to hear about your mother's health.  It must give her much comfort to have you and your family around her and to feel all the love and care.

 

I just wanted to write to thank you - reading this book reminded me of the people in my own life.  I was very close to my grandparents, they were strong, smart and loving people that gave such good advice and guidance through the years.  My grandfather passed away after a long illness a few years ago and my grandmother recently passed away this year at 97.  My godmother and favorite aunt was recently diagnosed with cancer and my mother just turned 65 a few days ago.  I love them so much and miss them.  I know that I tended to focus on my work as a young associate in a big law firm and things that seemed so immediate and pressing and I regret all the times that I cancelled going home to see my grandparents - your book was such a wonderful reminder of the wonderful times that I had with them and how important it is to be with family and loved ones regardless of pressures at work.  

Inspired Correspondent
Wrighty
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson


gl wrote:

Hi Amy,

 

I am so sorry to hear about your mother's health.  It must give her much comfort to have you and your family around her and to feel all the love and care.

 

I just wanted to write to thank you - reading this book reminded me of the people in my own life.  I was very close to my grandparents, they were strong, smart and loving people that gave such good advice and guidance through the years.  My grandfather passed away after a long illness a few years ago and my grandmother recently passed away this year at 97.  My godmother and favorite aunt was recently diagnosed with cancer and my mother just turned 65 a few days ago.  I love them so much and miss them.  I know that I tended to focus on my work as a young associate in a big law firm and things that seemed so immediate and pressing and I regret all the times that I cancelled going home to see my grandparents - your book was such a wonderful reminder of the wonderful times that I had with them and how important it is to be with family and loved ones regardless of pressures at work.  


Don't feel guilty! As a young associate in a law firm you had to focus on your work. I'm sure your family members went through the same thing when they were starting out in their lives and careers. Everyone does that. Eventually we find a balance. You love and appreciate your family and I'm sure they have all been aware of that. You are fortunate to still have your godmother and mother and now technology makes communication easier than ever. You can still let them know your feelings, it's never too late. Since your godmother has recently become ill she will apreciate it more than ever. I'm sending prayers and best wishes for her good health. Go easy on yourself. We do the best we know how to do. :smileyhappy:

Wordsmith
Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson

[ Edited ]

Amy,

Thank you for the update and again for conversing with us here about your book.  I am sorry that your mother is not doing well.

I wish you and your family all the best.

Dawn

P.S. I'll keep on the look out for your website...

Message Edited by Deltadawn on 11-04-2008 04:04 PM
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson

Amy,

 

I'd love to hear about your writing process.  Did you do a lot of planning and outlining, or did you just let it flow, so to speak?  Also, how did you keep up with your busy life, and find the time to write your story? 

 

And during that process, were you tempted to try to paint a rosier picture than you actually experienced?

 

Thanks,

Stephanie
Author
Amy_Dickinson
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎10-22-2008
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Re: Questions for Amy Dickinson


Tarri wrote:

I'm sorry your mom is doing poorly.  When I took an early retirement a couple of years ago, I moved into the house I grew up in and mom lives next door, so I totally relate to that part of your life. 

 

I thought the title was perfect and although your sisters, mother, and aunts were not main characters, it seemed to me that you and Emily were the mighty queens, but also there were more queens surrounding you.  

 

Welcome to the First Look Book Club, thank you for sharing your memoir with us.  I really enjoyed getting to know you and Emily through your words.   I can't wait to read more by you. 

 

My question is, do you still do a program on NPR and what is it about? 


Thank you so much for your comments. I currently participate in two programs on NPR -- I have a regular slot on the talk show, "Talk of the Nation" where I attempt to answer caller's questions on a variety of "advicey" topics. The second show I am involved with is "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," which is a weekly news quiz that is very popular with listeners around the country. We perform the show live before an audience and on this program I get to try to be funny and comment on pop culture and current events. Fortunately for the purposes of our comic stylings, the world serves up plenty of material.....


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