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Sylvie, On Love and Mallards

From: Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Length: 05:30

How much weight do we put on words, and why do we assume they all mean the same thing to everyone? This piece puts a spin on the word love...

Piece Description

My eight year old recently taught me how to be free from the entanglements of love, including the word itself. In this commentary, the focus shifts quickly from a mother who worries about her daughter, to one who wishes she could be more like her.

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Review of Sylvie, On Love and Mallards

This essay is a great example of radio storytelling in its purest and simplest form: one voice, subtle and intimate, painting a verbal portrait and allowing us to reflect on a topic that's near and dear to anyone who's ever been a parent. I've corresponded with Hitchcock and she says her biggest fear about this piece is that it comes off as over-sentimental, but she gives thanks to her KUAC producers for a series of edits that have given the essay its careful pitch and restraint. This would be a nice addition to any longer-format talk program about childhood development and/or the inner-workings of family dynamics.

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Review of Sylvie, On Love and Mallards

This piece is close to perfection for a radio essay. We aired it on our weekend magazine show in Alaska, and it remains one of the most commented-on and best-remembered pieces we've ever run. The writing is both inventive and down-to-earth, and the ending will ring in your ears for days.

People love to say that radio is an "intimate medium." This sort of piece is a huge reason why -- it has the air of a confidence, maybe part confessional, but also funny, surprising and deeply memorable. Really, "On Love and Mallards" is one of my favorite pieces af radio.

Broadcast History

Originally aired April 2005 on AK, The Alaska Public radio magazine which airs statewide. A longer version of this story won grand prize in the Anchorage Daily News writing contest in June 2005


A longer version of this story can be found at: http://litsite.alaska.edu/uaa/akwrites/2005/hitchcock.html
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

Host intro: Sometimes communication is difficult just because of preconceived notions of what words really mean. In this piece Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock tries to understand her daughter's unique way of saying "I love You."