Into Your Arms

September 4th was, by any other account, a Saturday like any before. I woke at dawn, well prior to Abbi and the girls, rolled out of bed, and tip-toed down the steps. I brewed a cup of coffee (half and half, teaspoon of sugar in the raw), cracked the front door quietly, and stepped outside.…

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Into The South, Part 3

I burst through the doors of Fame Studios like a deer in headlights: wide-eyed, disoriented, and out of breath. I’d stumbled through a side door just seconds prior, and been rebuffed and redirected by a cluster of young, handsome, chain-smoking rock ‘n rollers. I blew unwittingly past the studio’s matriarch, Linda Hall, beneath a hand-painted…

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Into The South, Part 2

“10 bucks for parking,” I thought. “Of course.” The lot was shimmering like a National Guitar: sunbaked, half empty, dotted with slow-shuffling Elvis fans. I turned off my rental (a Kia Sportage, natch) and stepped towards the collection of white corrugated-aluminum sheds that constitute Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Not his house, but the dozen or so…

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Into The South, Part I

I landed Saturday, and spent a few nights wandering the empty, sun-bleached alleys of Nashville’s booming south side — behind the Country Music Hall of Hall of Fame, Music City Center, The Johnny Cash Museum and all the rest of Broadway. I am seeing America for the first time in a long time. So much…

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Joe Smith: Vulnerable Confidence

The longer we produce “Friends & Neighbors,” the clearer it becomes what type of people resonate: self starters and creatives, to be sure. Optimists, catalysts, builders, and those who value empathy, relationships and community. People who share their humanity — their very humanness — with humility: the full spectrum of feelings, strengths and weaknesses, confidences…

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Roger Clark: Perfectly Good Stranger

So many cool things have happened in my life when I’ve quieted the worried voices in my head, stuck out my hand, and introduced myself to a perfectly good stranger. Roger Clark was one of those perfectly good strangers.  It was the fourth year of our annual Holiday Benefit in New York City, somewhere in…

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Megan Watkins: She Sells Sanctuary

Even as a kid from Iowa, I imagined farms as bucolic, self-sustaining places: silos full of corn to feed cute, muddy pigs; fresh milk from a well-loved heifer; eggs from the family hen. But of course, farming hasn’t been a ma ‘n pop operation for years. It’s big, big business: pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones.…

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Tim Madigan: Essential Invisible

When Christofer and I began imagining our PBS Documentary, Mister Rogers & Me, remembrances of Fred Rogers were not yet a cottage industry.  It was surprising, then, in the earliest days of my research, to discover Tim Madigan’s just-published memoir, “I’m Proud of You: My Friendship With Fred Rogers.”  More surprising still, Tim and my…

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Áine Kerr: Discomfort Zones

When my colleague and dear friend Áine Kerr left Facebook to co-found her second startup, she left a note on my desk that read, “The future begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” Áine grew up in Monaghan County Ireland, just shy of The Troubles, and just prior to The Celtic Tiger.  She began…

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Bill Flangan: Listen Closely

Back in the day (2010 or so), there were two reasons why I sought to be promoted to SVP at MTV News: Business Class Travel (back and forth to LA in one, comfortable day!), and Bill Flanagan. Bill was a celebrated contributor to Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Spy, before joining Musician, and ascending the…

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