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Book Nook: 52 Things I Wish I Could Have Told Myself When I Was 17 by Shuly Xóchitl Cawood


In January of 1993 I moved to Ohio from Des Moines. One of the first things I discovered about the area was this wonderfully quirky radio station. In June of 1993 I finally got up the nerve to contact WYSO to volunteer to host some radio shows. I had been hosting music shows on the radio in Iowa since 1979 and I hoped my experience might become an asset to the station.

Ruth Yellowhawk answered the phone when I called and she said, "sure, come on over, I want to meet you." Ruth was one of those rare people who had a radiant smile that you could sense through the telephone lines or via radio broadcasts. Ruth, who died a few years ago, gave me the opportunity to become a part of WYSO and for the next two years she was my mentor until she left the station in the summer of 1995.

During that time I realized that Ruth had a rare ability to be able to transmit her smiles across the airwaves. When we would pitch together during on-air fund drives and Ruth would be describing all those reasons a program like All Things Considered was worthy of membership support she would frequently smile as she was speaking and that smile was literally going out all over the Miami Valley. When I listened to her at home I could always tell when she was speaking and smiling, too. There was such an incredible warmth and welcoming tone in her voice. She had a gift.

Shuly Cawood has been my guest in studio for a couple of interviews. For our third interview I spoke to Shuly by telephone. She was at home in Tennessee and we were discussing her new book "52 Things I Wish I Could Have Told Myself When I Was 17."

Listening to Shuly speak on the telephone I realized that she possesses that same rare gift that Ruth had; you could really tell when Shuly was smiling on the radio. Shuly reminds me of Ruth. Shuly has a personality that feels like a beam of sunshine. And it doesn't hurt her case that she is also a fabulous writer.

Listen to this interview for some smiles.

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public Library,  Clark County Public LibraryDayton Metro LibraryWright Memorial Public Library, and Microsun Lamps.

Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them. Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.