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Writers on the Air: Conversations about Books

From the introduction to Writers on the Air:

Creating Sanctuary, Feeling Exulted

We sit across from each other at a plain table in a windowless room, microphones before us, bottles of water, books, notes, and pens at hand. We’re about to record an edition of Open Books, an hour-long radio program. The writer and I have been talking, getting comfortable with each other as I describe the show and explain how we’ll proceed. I have the jitters, as always. We fall silent, and suddenly it feels as though we’re in a bathysphere, suspended in time and out of reach of the clamoring world. I look up at the control room window and wait for my producer, director, and friend, Craig Kois, to give me the signal to start. The music comes up; it’s "Body and Soul." I chose the 1939 Coleman Hawkins recording as my theme song for its vibrancy and knowingness, and for its title. Written by Johnny Green in 1930, "Body and Soul" embraces the duality of existence--the union of the earthy and the spiritual, the sensuous and the ethereal, the real and the desired. For me, literature revolves on this axis.

The music fades; I lean into the mike and say, "Hello, this is Donna Seaman welcoming you to Open Books, a show about outstanding books, remarkable writers, and the fine art of reading."