March 30, 2006
Free Radio Santa Cruz is a pirate station–no license, not call letters, but a loyal following locally and on line. To get to the studio, Evelyn Hall drove through residential streets, parked, and lead me around the back of an unmarked bungalow. The ground was soggy from the heavy rain and hail weâ€™d had an hour earlier and I was glad I had clogs on. We clattered down concrete steps, then ducked into a standard issue basement, complete with old mattresses propped against the wall and piles of soggy looking cardboard boxes.
The studio was deep in the basement, behind a well defended plywood door with three large bolts on the inside. Evelyn told me theyâ€™d been raided by the police before. Radio studios are a jumble of wires and flashing lights, but this one looked like it could be disassembled and moved on short notice. We sat at the console under a big pirate flag.
Ann Simonton of Media Watch, introduced us on the air and then Evelyn took over. She started the conversation by asking about the prevalence of sexual abuse and WHY we havenâ€™t been able to stop this from happening to our kids. We had two full hours of on air time to explore these question and many others and to talk about the stories in Strong at the Heart.
What a luxury it is to have so much time. Iâ€™ve had radio news interviews as short as 5 minutes and as long as an hour and a halfâ€”with listeners calling in. You can get a lot across in a short amount of time, if you choose your words well.
But two hours? We were able to talk about the back stories of the making of the book. About why I chose the stories I did out of the nearly three dozen interviews recorded over the five years. We explored what it means to come out as a sexually abuse survivor. And why some mothers do not support their children when they tell.
During the last fifteen minutes of the show Evelyn told listeners that they could call in. Unfortunately, we were both so wrapped up in the conversation that she forgot to flip the switch that allowed for incoming calls. So if you are one of the people who triedâ€”I am so sorry. I did catch a call at the end off air and it was good to hear from a listener who had so much to say herself.
After the radio show, the two of us had lunch downtown. Evelyn is a counselor in my old high school district and runs the Safe Place program for teens. One of her groups is just beginning to read and discuss Strong at the Heart.
Tonightâ€™s the book event at 7:30 at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Last night I had dinner with Jenner, whose story is the first chapter of Strong at the Heart. So many people have asked about the song she wrote about the rape was fourteen. Sheâ€™s planning on bringing her guitar and singing it at tonightâ€™s event! Hereâ€™s your chance to hear her: Bookshop Santa Cruz, 7:30 p.m.