March 14, 2003

Say Anything

Does talking about it really help? Stories where it does, and stories where it doesn't, including a man who tried to battle his fears by listing them. He ended up with a list 138 items long.


Host Ira Glass talks to Neil Chesanow, co-author of Please Read This for Me, a self-help book that doesn't just give you general advice. It gives you actual scripts to use in various difficult situations: Pre-written speeches to deliver if you've fallen out of love with your boyfriend, say, or if you've decided you want to have a baby. (6 minutes)

Act One

How To Write A Note

This story wasn't originally made to broadcast on a radio show. It's a tape made by a guy named Jake Warga, who'd never put anything together for radio. He made it to give to his friend Brian, who wanted to kill himself. After Brian tried to overdose, Jake took him out to a park bench to talk, and brought along a recorder. Later, Jake decided to edit the conversation down and give it to Brian as a gift, hoping that if Brian heard what he was saying, if he heard how he sounded, it might stop him from trying again. To learn how to edit and mix the audio, Jake visited the website Transom.org, where his story first appeared. (24 minutes)

Act Two

The Battle Of Words Vs Fear

Michael Bernard Loggins, a developmentally disabled man in his 50s, tried to battle his fears by listing them, and came up with a list 138 items long. With the help of an arts program, Creativity Explored, he published his list in two zines called Fears of Your Life and Fears of Your Life: A Whole New One. Actor Tom Wright reads excerpts. Excerpts from the zines have been published as part of a book, also called Fears of Your Life. (9 minutes)

Act Four

Wedding Bells And Door Bells

Two stories of communication where the words really don't matter: Elizabeth Gilbert tells the story of the worst wedding toast she's ever heard of. This story first appeared on the former website Other People's Stories. Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of several books, including Big Magic. (4 minutes)

Jonathan Goldstein tells the story of a man who wants to get in touch, but the words really don't matter. Jonathan is the host of the Gimlet podcast Heavyweight. (5 minutes)