Archive for May, 2008



May 14, 2008
Here’s something you never would have heard me say two years ago:

“I love NASCAR.”

My Valentine’s Day present this year from my dear husband was the NASCAR HotPass from DirecTV. Two years ago, that might have been the death knell for us. But this year, it’s quite different. It may have been the most thoughtful Valentine’s gift ever.

I used to have a stereotype in my mind — one held by many, I’d imagine — of what a NASCAR fan was like. I certainly didn’t fit that mold, at least so I thought.

At first, I’d only watch the races when they were in HD. The races started to become interesting to follow when I could tell which cars were which, thanks to the new technology that was available. A year ago, I tended to call it NAPcar: I’d put on a race (only if I could watch in HD), then snuggle in for a nice nap on a Sunday afternoon.

So what is it that draws me to NASCAR now?


Listening to the drivers and their crews communicate (especially when I am “in the car” on one of the four driver channels on HotPass) fascinates me. I know that when I am stressed, it’s tough for me to listen well to those around me. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to listen well in a situation where so many lives and so much money are on the line . . .

Watching the nonverbal communication on Pit Road intrigues me.

Seeing the marketing and public relations communication between the teams, their sponsors and the public makes me laugh sometimes. (If you do a search on YouTube for Ricky Bobby, you can find several fun send-ups of NASCAR sponsorships.)

Observing the driver interviews after a race is fun. I enjoy seeing how an individual driver gets better and better through a series of interviews. Even though these guys (and at this point, they are all guys) have driven faster and harder than I ever have or will in my lifetime, they must compose themselves for the camera. Note how often they thank their teammates, and how many sponsors they mention.

And there’s more. Stay tuned.


Photo Credit: Nascar – Getting Ready to Start the Race at SundownOriginally uploaded by frostyrellik at Flickr.

NOTE: I learned a lot about how to watch a race through Liz Allison’s book The Girl’s Guide to NASCAR.


Quotations on Listening and Writing

May 11, 2008
It is insight into human nature that is the key to the communicator’s skill. For whereas the writer is concerned with what he puts into his writings, the communicator is concerned with what the reader gets out of it. He therefore becomes a student of how people read or listen. — William Bernbach

The discipline of the writer is to learn to be still and listen to what his subject has to tell him.  — Rachel Louise Carson

Many people hear voices when no-one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up on rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. — Meg Chittenden

I have learned as much about writing about my people by listening to blues and jazz and spirituals as I have by reading novels. — Ernest Gaines

If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don’t listen to writers talking about writing or themselves. — Lillian Hellman

I learned to write by listening to people talk. I still feel that the best of my writing comes from having heard rather than having read. — Gayl Jones

Between the writing of plays, in the vast middle of the night, when our children and their mother slept, I sat alone, and my thoughts drifted back in time, murmuring the remembrance of things past into the listening ear of silence; fashioning thoughts to unspoken words, and setting them down upon the sensitive tablets of the mind. — Sean O’Casey

All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared listener. — Robert Louis Stevenson

Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole. — Eudora Welty

The discipline of the writer is to learn to be still and listen to what his subject has to tell him. — Anonymous


Photo originally uploaded to FLickr by [phil h]; late night discussion (or what I’m trying to tell myself…)