April Lidinsky

Ken Smith

This is April Lidinsky 

And this is Des Harris 

April Lidinsky

This is a story of losing a cat and finding a community. The timeline? Fifty days that felt like an eternity. 

 

It’s early January, South Bend, and our adult children, working remotely, quarantine and visit with their indoor cats. On January 4, a skilled worker checks in at the side door, and one daughter’s gregarious black cat, Hank, pokes out his head. The worker lunges to stop him. Hank twists through the stranger’s arms in a yowling panic, and vanishes.  

 

Nimbilasha Cushing

April: This is April (laughter)

 

Nimbilasha: And I’m Nimbi

Ken Smith

April Lidinsky speaks with Dr. Darryl Heller, Director of the ​Civil Rights Heritage Center at IU South Bend, about holding difficult conversations.

Music: "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)" by The Staple Singers

Ken Smith

We have something a little different for this episode. April Lidinsky has a conversation with Kathy Burnette, founder and owner of Brain Lair Books in South Bend, about how they developed their lifelong love of books and reading.

Music: Hamilton – “Wrote My Way Out” (Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc)

April Lidinsky

In a stay-at-home summer, it’s easy to run out of topics during social Zooming. So, I offer you a prompt, inspired by the June 17th New York Times “Food” section, in which a baker’s half-dozen of writers share memories of  “restaurant magic.”  Sure, we can still get takeout, and perhaps eat nervously out-of-doors, but these writers remind us that restaurant dining can be so much “More than a Meal.”

Ken Smith

Here’s another one from the English Major files: Synecdoche. Think like a Greek so the spelling doesn’t bedevil you. A synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part of something is used to represent the whole. “Hands” is the classic example, as in “all hands on deck” (in which the presumption is that bodies are still attached).

If there was ever a time to hug a scientist, now is that time. But please don’t. Instead, try your favorite “Coronavirus Hello,” which I think is no longer supposed to be a elbow-bump (too close to the sneeze-catching crook of the arm).  So, maybe try some jazz hands, instead.  Hellooooo, you might say from a safe social distance, waggling your fingers winningly, to show gratitude for the humans who are working hard to save our lives, right this very moment. 

April Lidinsky

How do we account for the sudden nostalgia for the "roaring" Nineteen Twenties? Maybe “roaring” seems like a welcome relief after years of “persisting.” It’s telling that we hardly know what to call these past two decades. The term “the aughts” never really caught on.  That word is rooted in a linguistic error, anyway, as writer Rebecca Mead has pointed out: “Aught” is a 19th century corruption of the word “naught,” which really means zero. “Aught” properly means “anything,” so the aughts were both nothing and anything, leading to the Twenty Tens … or were they the Twenty Teens?

April Lidinsky

We’re only halfway through November, but this month already feels operatic in scale. To review, we’ve endured: elections and their roiling aftermath, the choppy waves of the impeachment hearings, the transit of Mercury, the full moon, and the sudden onset of polar-powered lake-effect winter. Sometimes, I’m with Meg, from Little Women, who groused, “November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year.”   

 

April Lidinsky

I can pinpoint the exact moment when I realized most American women of a certain age dye their hair. I was a guest at a Unitarian church, sitting in the back pew. Scanning the room, I realized I’d never seen so many middle-aged gray-haired women. Huh.  Did I miss a memo stating that graying women must become Unitarians?  No … a lightening clap of understanding broke across my brow.  It was simply that Unitarian women — this group, anyway — were less likely to dye their hair.

April Lidinsky

I’m a sucker for making a glorious mess, so when I had the chance to volunteer at St. Patrick’s Park’s “Good Clean Dirty Fun” event, I jumped right in. This was part of the summertime Family Passports to Play program in our area — and more events are coming up.

April Lidinsky

If you had to draw a map of your community, what would it look like? Or, a map of your life?  Maps are descriptive, impressionistic, and interpretive.  As cartographers from time immemorial have known: You can’t draw all the things.  So, what would you draw, in an atlas of What Matters to You? Maybe, you’d draw a map of your favorite dog walks, or one of special places to drink coffee or cocktails? Or, maybe an atlas of turning-point moments in your life that shimmer in your heart’s memory.

Forest Wallace

I usually paddle around in the medium of metaphor, but not today. Today I’m making an unvarnished argument: If you have the means, buy a megaphone. Then, hand it to people you know whose voices need amplifying. Maybe it’s the turning of the seasons, or the political reminder that no one’s gonna save us but ourselves, but my sap is running fast (whoops, metaphor!) and I’m laser-focused (sorry!) on amplifaction.

April Lidinsky

Today, please open your English Major Handbook to the page titled: objective correlative. As you no doubt remember, that’s a literary term for objects that represent emotions in written or visual texts. You know, in a movie, we might see a teacup smashing to the floor as a sign that the character’s hopes have just been dashed.  I’ve been living with an objective correlative for most of the past year, when I got stuck halfway through repainting our kitchen.  

April Lidinsky

By the time you’re a grown up  — and woe betide you if that’s all you’re aiming for — it’s pretty easy to stick with what you already know. When I was in a funk about just that state of being earlier this year, my clever friend, Rosie, offered me a book that I in turn offer to you. It’s titled, Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty —an NPR name, for you longtime listeners. Among the book’s takeaways for “living exuberantly” is this gem: “At every stage of life, you should be a rookie at something.” It’s timely advice for the new year.

Shifting Ground

Nov 9, 2018
April Lidinsky

What’s giving you hope today?  I am charged up. I’m slurping coffee from a gigantic mug with the motto: Wake Up, Kick Butt, Repeat. By my reading chair is a stack of books that includes Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger. Below that is Roxane Gay’s edited collection, Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. (Spoiler alert: it IS that bad.) But still, I’m hopeful. 

Ken Smith

This is the story of how, at age 52, I learned to like experimental jazz. Or, really, this is the story of how I learned I could learn to like experimental jazz … I’m a work in progress. 

 

Hunger At The Fair

Aug 3, 2018
April Lidinsky

It’s county fair season, and a day or two in those crowded midways is another kind of summer school. It’s not the animals I look forward to. I love the fair as a festival of humanity — a chance to people-watch and spark conversations that could only catch fire there.

April Lidinsky

As a nerdy kid with a competitive streak, I thought of summer reading as both a sprint and a marathon. My local library didn't host a “summer reading challenge,” so my only competition was myself … but I’m sorry to say how much I enjoyed flaunting my long list of conquered titles. Now, as a nerdy proto-crone with a competitive streak, I still relish this feeling.

April Lidinsky

Today, I offer an argument: States divide themselves one of two ways: by longitude, or latitude. For example, I grew up in Colorado, where the eastern flatlanders have little in common with western Coloradans who notch their belts by the lofty 14-ers they’ve climbed. And among western Coloradans, please don’t mistake the east-of-the-Continental Dividers from true Western Slopers. The Colorado state of mind is organized by longitude, fine-sliced on the vertical. 

 

The OpEd Project

Question: How do you know for sure if yours is a bonafide nerd family? Answer: When 3 out of 4 of you are either college students or teachers, and 4 out of 4 of you happily spend the first day of Spring Break inside a classroom. Specifically, we sat in a seminar room above the Goodman Theater in Chicago with late-winter sunshine pouring through the plate glass windows while we began to wrestle our ideas into column-length arguments suitable for publication.

April Lidinsky

So …. how are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? After an enraging political year full of marching and hollering myself hoarse, I’ve been trying something new — shutting up and listening.

April Lidinsky

Prepare yourselves, friends: the season of gastronomic gloating has begun. I plead guilty, myself, to occasionallyscraping aside the rubble on my kitchen counter to frame and post a filtered image of a felicitously turned out peach pie, with a humblebrag tag line like: “Fun to put the ol’ rolling pin to work.” Soon, our social media feeds will flood with photos of brining and bronzing birds and glamour shots of caramelized yams.